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Take care in Odin Mine.

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Gritstone

Member
Following a trip into Odin Mine today be aware that the scaff pole on the top of Chippendale Rift is loose and almost gave out as I crossed it to the stemples. I tried to put it back but it moved again on the way out. Make sure you are attached to the rope as you cross to rig the pitch and expect a fall as there is no pro between the backup and the pitch top.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
I can think of plenty of places less safe than Odin - it feels almost homely to me. And to be fair that dig was always going to be a bit sketchy given where it is - it's the only obvious water input at that level. But in terms of access we are often relying on ancient shit that should just be removed, and I've been banging on about it for ages. That scaffolding has been in there since the early 1970s at least, and will be coming out soon. Ironically there are several original timber stemples in Odin that are absolutely fine - I've climbed on them and rigged deviations from them (see below).

There are plans afoot to fix some of it, and improve access - for those who want it anyway. Just awaiting supplies ;)

_IGP7686_sm.jpg
 
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AR

Well-known member
Saw the title of this thread and thought "well, that's a given!"
Everything you walk on except the crosscuts in Odin Mine is a false floor, so potentially anywhere could go. Having said that, I'm pretty certain that the 2012 collapse was an old, choked or backfilled winze giving up and apart from the wetter bits, the upper stopes seem relatively stable. IIRC water used to drain down and sink at the collapse point, I've long thought that the seriously wet spell in early 2012 was the reason why the winze fill gave in to gravity...
 
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paul

Moderator
Following a trip into Odin Mine today be aware that the scaff pole on the top of Chippendale Rift is loose and almost gave out as I crossed it to the stemples. I tried to put it back but it moved again on the way out. Make sure you are attached to the rope as you cross to rig the pitch and expect a fall as there is no pro between the backup and the pitch top.
That must have happened recently as we were in Odin last week and the scaffold bar was fine.
 

Gritstone

Member
That must have happened recently as we were in Odin last week and the scaffold bar was fine.
Yep, I think you passed me on the way out as I recall at the collapse traverse. It came away as I stepped onto it yesterday and dropped onto a ledge a few inches down, needless to say a s**t myself.
 

sjt

New member
Mod comment: original post deleted as requested by original poster

Joe, that comment on a public forum is unhelpful if you want access to remain for the long term.
The mine was already off limits for 10 years, let's not give anyone ammunition.

Regarding the main post, that pole has been loose since at least September, and was only wedged between 2 bits of wood when it was good!
The traverse line to the pitch head is there for a reason, and if used properly this isn't a problem.

As Phil said, using scaff that's been down there since the 70s isn't ideal. It was originally put in so they could use ladders, so that bit, and the stuff elsewhere in the mine can probably be ditched entirely in favour of a couple more bolts now it's an SRT route.
 
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Winnat's Caver

Active member
Joe, that comment on a public forum is unhelpful if you want access to remain for the long term.
The mine was already off limits for 10 years, let's not give anyone ammunition.

Regarding the main post, that pole has been loose since at least September, and was only wedged between 2 bits of wood when it was good!
The traverse line to the pitch head is there for a reason, and if used properly this isn't a problem.

As Phil said, using scaff that's been down there since the 70s isn't ideal. It was originally put in so they could use ladders, so that bit, and the stuff elsewhere in the mine can probably be ditched entirely in favour of a couple more bolts now it's an SRT route.
In internet etiquette it is considered strange to look through someone's profile to find their name. Perhaps I know you in person.

In regards to Odin - I doubt the National trust are combing through UKC looking for the opinions of student cavers to close down a mine. I don't understand how we can allow it to remain as it is and still (as a community) consider it fine to send novice trips down there. Whilst the upper levels are safe I have heard numerous stories about the lower. The solution would be to improve the scaff in place and create an understanding of where is and isn't safe in Odin to go. Some people go in with novices unaware of the dangers. Some places are not safe. Whilst my understanding of mine maintenance is not very deep I'm sure *something* can be done. Surely some of these basic hazards can surely be avoided if we just replace dodgy scaff etc?

Personally I do not want to see Odin closed again, but an injury due to something entirely preventable would be the surest way to see it gone forever.
 

sjt

New member
In internet etiquette it is considered strange to look through someone's profile to find their name. Perhaps I know you in person.

In regards to Odin - I doubt the National trust are combing through UKC looking for the opinions of student cavers to close down a mine. I don't understand how we can allow it to remain as it is and still (as a community) consider it fine to send novice trips down there. Whilst the upper levels are safe I have heard numerous stories about the lower. The solution would be to improve the scaff in place and create an understanding of where is and isn't safe in Odin to go. Some people go in with novices unaware of the dangers. Some places are not safe. Whilst my understanding of mine maintenance is not very deep I'm sure *something* can be done. Surely some of these basic hazards can surely be avoided if we just replace dodgy scaff etc?

Personally I do not want to see Odin closed again, but an injury due to something entirely preventable would be the surest way to see it gone forever.

I was with you on said digging trip when the shale dropped ;)

The issue which has been highlighted above is with something put in by cavers, rather than the stability of the mine, and that section is now resin bolted anyway.

The areas considered 'safe' as a tourist trip are the only routes P bolted by the DCA, as per the rigging guide & their website.

There's half a plan being hatched with some angle iron brackets much like in the JH cartgate, but the section you're talking about would need to be continuously boarded because of the shale & water. At that stage it becomes a question of funding the materials, and how long we want to spent lying in a pool of slurry, plus it will need prolonged dry weather to install :dig:
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Sam's in the TSG too.

The lower levels are in some places much safer than the upper levels, not least as there are fewer floors to fall through. I've spent years researching Odin, and there are many sites that are regularly visited that are 'less safe', let's say. I'm not aware of which novice trips go to Odin, but it's not as.as risky as.you make out.

The National Trust have never been comfortable owning the site, but tough - that's what being a landowner is all about. But they let cavers manage their own trips, and are happy for DCA and other responsible groups to oversee access and make improvements where necessary. But they do read the internet, yes, and I'm in regular discussions with their staff about access to mines on their land. They lent the TSG their helicopter twice to do the Longcliffe shaft rebuild, allowed a drone survey, and helped us no end during the project.

All the bolting over the collapse hole in the entrance passage was done at their specific request to allow access to continue, and DCA went far beyond what would normally be required, including getting metre-long throughbolts manufactured, in order to reach solid rock behind sugar spar. They do know what's down there, as they have all our records and photos. I'm half-expecting a call about this now.

As I mentioned earlier, DCA are awaiting delivery of new bolts, and then all the scaff will be removed and disposed of and superior anchors will be installed at that point. We'd be happy for folks to help when the time comes, so I'll be in touch! But please don't suggest that Odin is a death trap on a public forum as it's not true, and could jeopardise access for all those folks who love the place.

And this was all done on my phone in a work van on the M6!!
 

pwhole

Well-known member
I should also add that a qualified mine inspector accompanied us on the first trip after re-opening (!at the NT's insistence) in order to assess the suitability of the trade route, and it passed.
 

Winnat's Caver

Active member
I was with you on said digging trip when the shale dropped ;)

The issue which has been highlighted above is with something put in by cavers, rather than the stability of the mine, and that section is now resin bolted anyway.

The areas considered 'safe' as a tourist trip are the only routes P bolted by the DCA, as per the rigging guide & their website.

There's half a plan being hatched with some angle iron brackets much like in the JH cartgate, but the section you're talking about would need to be continuously boarded because of the shale & water. At that stage it becomes a question of funding the materials, and how long we want to spent lying in a pool of slurry, plus it will need prolonged dry weather to install :dig:
Sam! surely if anyone was aware of the dangers of Odin it would be you ;). I was going to bring up the example of the video you showed me in the water, completely unaware I was talking to the person in it!

For the record, I very much enjoyed digging in Odin, I just found it a tad frightening the last time we went. In my eyes any way to make the cave safer would help alleviate issues tremendously.

I will put my money where my mouth is and I am happy to volunteer if / when work on making Odin safer happens. Until then I'll stick to P8 :LOL:
 

AR

Well-known member
In regards to Odin - I doubt the National trust are combing through UKC looking for the opinions of student cavers to close down a mine. I don't understand how we can allow it to remain as it is and still (as a community) consider it fine to send novice trips down there. Whilst the upper levels are safe I have heard numerous stories about the lower. The solution would be to improve the scaff in place and create an understanding of where is and isn't safe in Odin to go. Some people go in with novices unaware of the dangers. Some places are not safe. Whilst my understanding of mine maintenance is not very deep I'm sure *something* can be done. Surely some of these basic hazards can surely be avoided if we just replace dodgy scaff etc?

Personally I do not want to see Odin closed again, but an injury due to something entirely preventable would be the surest way to see it gone forever.
The NT might not be looking out for things on the internet about Odin, but there are other mine sites in the Peak where I know that the landowners were at one point actively looking at what was posted on forums. Where mines go, I would say never, ever use emotive language like "someone could get killed in there" online; there is no such thing as a "safe" abandoned mine and they all are hazardous to a lesser or greater extent - see my post above about the nature of the route down to the cartgate. As Phil mentioned above it was inspected by a highly experienced and well-respected mining professional who passed it as acceptable for suitably equipped and experienced people to go through, but that's not the same thing as safe; he passed it as fit for use by people who understood the inherent hazards.

Also, consider this scenario - someone does come to grief in Odin, and an ambulance-chaser starts searching for anything potentially incriminating to use in a claim against the NT. They find your post and seize on it as "evidence" that shows the NT were reckless in allowing access and even though I doubt it would stand in court (given the legal principle of volenti non fit injuriam and the aforementioned inspection) it'll still cause them significant cost defending. Saying that "area X is not in a good state, advise everyone to keep away" is a different matter and what I would always advise, particularly if it's off an inspected route as any incident elsewhere can't be linked to it. The NT did make it plain on re-opening that anyone going off the route they'd had inspected was doing so entirely at their own risk.
 

Winnat's Caver

Active member
The NT might not be looking out for things on the internet about Odin, but there are other mine sites in the Peak where I know that the landowners were at one point actively looking at what was posted on forums. Where mines go, I would say never, ever use emotive language like "someone could get killed in there" online; there is no such thing as a "safe" abandoned mine and they all are hazardous to a lesser or greater extent - see my post above about the nature of the route down to the cartgate. As Phil mentioned above it was inspected by a highly experienced and well-respected mining professional who passed it as acceptable for suitably equipped and experienced people to go through, but that's not the same thing as safe; he passed it as fit for use by people who understood the inherent hazards.

Also, consider this scenario - someone does come to grief in Odin, and an ambulance-chaser starts searching for anything potentially incriminating to use in a claim against the NT. They find your post and seize on it as "evidence" that shows the NT were reckless in allowing access and even though I doubt it would stand in court (given the legal principle of volenti non fit injuriam and the aforementioned inspection) it'll still cause them significant cost defending. Saying that "area X is not in a good state, advise everyone to keep away" is a different matter and what I would always advise, particularly if it's off an inspected route as any incident elsewhere can't be linked to it. The NT did make it plain on re-opening that anyone going off the route they'd had inspected was doing so entirely at their own risk.
You are right. Perhaps a Mod could delete my initial response?

Mod comment: original post deleted as requested
 
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sjt

New member
Indeed!

The lower levels are in some places much safer than the upper levels, not least as there are fewer floors to fall through.
Not sure I quite agree with that bit, it's not a nice feeling when those same floors form the ceiling...
I've now revisited pretty much everything on the 1976 survey, and suggest everything below the 125ft pitch is probably best left to the history books.

There's a reason the miners spent so long constructing the beautiful stonework of the cartgate level; there was always going to be challenges so close to the shale boundary. The fact it's still accessible nearly 300 years later is testament to their craftsmanship, and it will be great if we can maintain this for the future.

Let's leave this here and catch up over a pint :beer:
 

2xw

Active member
Also, consider this scenario - someone does come to grief in Odin, and an ambulance-chaser starts searching for anything potentially incriminating to use in a claim against the NT. They find your post and seize on it as "evidence" that shows the NT were reckless in allowing access and even though I doubt it would stand in court (given the legal principle of volenti non fit injuriam and the aforementioned inspection) it'll still cause them significant cost defending. Saying that "area X is not in a good state, advise everyone to keep away" is a different matter and what I would always advise, particularly if it's off an inspected route as any incident elsewhere can't be linked to it. The NT did make it plain on re-opening that anyone going off the route they'd had inspected was doing so entirely at their own risk.
I wish people would stop scaremongering with these sorts of fantastical scenarios. Not only is this paragraph at best outdated (children have been found volenti non fit) landowners have occupiers liability insurance for exactly this reason. The National Trust has a very large and well funded legal team and it wouldn't even get beyond a letter.

We should be nice and considerate of landowners in return for their allowing us access to their property, but there's really no need to engage in hysterics on their behalf.

In terms of forum posts that might get caves closed, yours is just as bad!
 

pwhole

Well-known member
It's also worth remembering that aside from the mining, there are several fragments of quite significant natural cave in Odin, which by definition, are in solid rock. These have never been properly documented - ironically the trip we discovered the floor collapse on, in Feb 2011, was meant to be a photography trip to do 'Jose Hole', the large phreatic passage in the roof of the cartgate - and I've still not done it. The first photo below is from the floor-level phreatic passage which crosses the cartgate at 90° beneath, but seemingly unconnected to Jose Hole. It's metres wide, and must have formed with other passage. Incidentally, if you sit in the crosscut arch leading to the Bell Chamber and look at the cartgate roof opposite, much of that is naturally water-worn too.

The Bell Chamber itself is part-natural, breaking off the main vein, and has a wall of layered sediment in there - it's quite possible this could be the top of a multi-section vein cavity/pipe working like Leviathan, if a way further down could be found. I re-bolted a route up to pipe-workings in the roof of that a couple of years ago and it's seriously interesting up there, as it's full of sediment, albeit very gloopy sticky sediment - take your SRT kit off before entering. I suspect the Bell Chamber may be the top of Robert Hallom's 'Deep Shaft' of the early 1600s. All of this is worthy of a serious cave research project, especially considering its proximity to the Treak Cliff caves.

The second and third photos are from lower down the mine, and the first shows cave sediment, turbid sands and clay, which were clearly deposited into a natural void within a few minutes. The second is more interesting still, as it appeared to us that the miners had blasted off a foot of red fluorite to reveal vadose scalloping beneath - that's one to ponder...

_IGP2996.jpg



IMG_20230103_141717_HDR.jpg


IMG_20230103_145318_HDR.jpg
 

pwhole

Well-known member
One more - the right wall of this passage is sediment, and the vein above looks decidedly waterworn, and is breaking out into another pipe at this point. The shape of the passage suggests natural, but who knows? But the sediment had to get in somewhere.

IMG_20230103_141620_HDR.jpg
 

AR

Well-known member
I wish people would stop scaremongering with these sorts of fantastical scenarios. Not only is this paragraph at best outdated (children have been found volenti non fit) landowners have occupiers liability insurance for exactly this reason. The National Trust has a very large and well funded legal team and it wouldn't even get beyond a letter.

We should be nice and considerate of landowners in return for their allowing us access to their property, but there's really no need to engage in hysterics on their behalf.
I didn't respond to this straight away because I stuck to my long-standing rule of not posting in anger. However, 48 hours has not changed my outlook.

I find your response both patronising and insulting; I've been dealing with the NT on various things, not just underground matters, for well over a decade and was involved from the outset with the long slog to get access to Odin again, so I'm hardly ignorant of their workings, or for that matter how risk-averse people further up their management chain can be. I'm also speaker-unto-Chatsworth for the caving community these days.

Using a hypothetical scenario to illustate why choosing words with care in online posts is not "being hysterical", it's trying to demonstrate there are reasons to choose words with care online. Your comment about children being subject to the volenti principle is irrelevant to what I said, and also suggests you aren't familiar with the business model of no win, no fee lawyers, which is actually to try and get the party threatened with action to settle straight away for a lesser amount without going to court to avoid all work and expense of preparing a defence. Anything they can get their greasy mitts on to push towards that, they will use.

In terms of forum posts that might get caves closed, yours is just as bad!
Sweeping assertion with no supporting evidence - provide some.

p.s. WinnatsCaver thank you for reading and understanding the point I was trying to make about not using emotive/loaded terms when reporting hazards.
 
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