Made a paper mache cave with my son for his year 1 homework.He had to make a shoe-box "habitat" to show what lived there. Suggested examples were desert, coral reef, polar, jungle etc. I was very pleased when he decided on a cave (which will include spiders, bats, blind fish and an olm).Pictures to follow when it's finished
I started early today. In the dark and wind and rain the cows and I spooked one another. The cave has been flooded recently. The ancient sediment walls have crumbled in places. There are sticks washed into spots I've never seen them. It is only about a half-mile of caving to the lead I went to check, but tough in spots. There is no level passage here, the bedding dips steeply. So there is a lot of climbing, crawling, squeezing. And I have a pack, which is unusual. Besides the survey gear I'm carrying rope and srt and bolting stuff. In some of the squeezes I fit more easily than my pack does. At the site of last trip's dig, I have to unpack and push the rope through seperately. Cut some steps with the hammer. Climb up a vertical 8' clay bank and into a 100' crawl no more than 10" high. Then straddle across a pit 5' diameter (nothing down there) into continued squeeze. Next a large room, 30' by 200', decorated. Carry on down slope and scale a 12' clay wall, up and down. Here the floor is clay, segmented into huge polygonal blocks by wide, deep cracks. No one has stepped here except for me. I follow my tracks from last time. A big white stalagmite was station 20. On the left wall, ten feet up, a narrow opening. A flowstone issues out of it. I see the smears I left there. I cannot climb up with the pack. I try throwing it up, too heavy for me. I hook it on a bit of chert, as high up as I can. The climb is awkward. There is a choice of holds, stalagmites or chert, I don't like to put mud or trust on either. At the top I can lean down for the stuff. Here is a crack. I go in facing right and reach the lip of a pit 20' deep. I cannot climb it, or find any natural anchor. Picking out a good spot for a bolt, I slide out for the drill. I have underestimated the weakness of my left arm, recently broken at the elbow and dislocated at the shoulder. I cannot supply enough pressure on the drill to bite much, nor can I hold it at head height for very long. It won't work. I have to slide out of the crack to turn around, go back in, and pick a spot on the left wall. Now my right arm can reach out over the pit and drill into a flowstone mass that my tapping says is solid. The bolt set, I get out of the crack and into my vertical gear. The survey stuff goes into pockets. I drop the hammer down. I go into new cave.At the bottom of the pit a narrow drain is clogged.almost immediately. Eight feet up the wall is an opening though, moving air. A steeply sloping, too tight crack opens up after only eight or ten feet, and there is clay on the floor. Staying on rope, I hang upside down and start in, first knocking chert off the walls with the hammer, then digging with my hands. The top few inches of clay comes off easily in big blocks. Beneath this, the clay has the consistency of butter. I find that shoving it downslope with my feet works best, and is more comfortable. It is easy to remove six or eight inches from the floor, and soon I can scoot through. A passage going right. Three to ten feet high, walls covered with black chert nodules, winding, comfortable. It is untouched, beautiful, clean, exciting, Now a small room. A window in a fine wall of white stal. I look through. Nothing there. Down to the drain of the room. Completely full of dirt. It is the end. I cannot find the air. On the way out, this passage is smeared and scuffed. The price for having looked at it once is that no one else may ever see it as I did. Did I appreciate this enough on the way in? No.I am slimed. I will not survey. A note on the map, "This passage leads to 20' vertical drop and 120' +/- of passage" will suffice. The way out is slow, as I and all of my things are heavy with special and ancient mud. It took a while to find my ascender, clipped to my side, beneath the thick covering of it. Weak and alone, I must be careful. Slow. Slow. Eventually smell the world outside.This cave is done. In three 2-man trips and five solo trips 5700' were mapped. About 1200' dug into. About 400' explored but not surveyed. My maps anymore are heavily notated. I believe that this is a good compromise. Sometimes survey is impractical or requires more damage to sensitive places. If good, thorough information is on the map, be it schematic or textual, I am happy. This trip took only seven hours. It is early yet. I have another project across the mountain and decide to go there. Here I only need my survey gear and a stripped down srt kit (this is two cords, a carabiner, and a loop of webbing) the rope is already rigged. Everything is in pockets. I feel light now. The zipper song of the highway follows down into the massive sink. The cave is clean and wet. Italian hitch for going down the waterfall, 38'. The passages yet to map are stream crawls. Little, curvy cave, short shots. I mark no stations, shoot from pebble to pebble to protrusion to stalactite to pebble. My light slid up to the top of my head stays clear of the compass and reflects off the ceiling, lighting the little spaces well enough. It is fun, peaceful work. The stream voices are lively today. They say over and over again, "What do you want from me? - From me? Nothing whatsoever." I clean up five little dead ends. Aching, feeling very good, it is enough. The little cords and Blake's hitch for going up the waterfall. Outside sit on a log and listen to birds and cars and do addition. Surveyed 377 feet. At home, I reduce the data and draw the line plot before washing, sitting undressed on the floor. Shower. The welts and scrapes and scuffs sting good and glow red. Wash off my poor srt stuff and spray some silicone on it. Before dark I walk out to look in some sinkholes my neighbor has told me about. There are a lot of them. But the limestone here is thin-bedded and the whole formation is no more than 15 feet thick. No potential for much. But maybe something. A cat springs out of the brier patch. This time I don't jump.A nice day.
Could be my imagination, Simon, but there seem to be similarities between Kenilworth's post above and your write-ups of your Ouroborous Project. Good luck to both of you.Kenilworth - where are you and what potential is there for 'new' caves in your neck of the woods?
Started researching the impact of the Romantic obsession with the concept of the 'Sublime' on the development of our fascination with subterranean regions in the UK. (Answer - it didn't have as great an impact as you might think - I'd argue that the progressions in geological science had a much greater impact than any Romantic fascination with nature)
Quote from: PeteHall on October 01, 2020, 08:53:59 pmMade a paper mache cave with my son for his year 1 homework.He had to make a shoe-box "habitat" to show what lived there. Suggested examples were desert, coral reef, polar, jungle etc. I was very pleased when he decided on a cave (which will include spiders, bats, blind fish and an olm).Pictures to follow when it's finished You better put pictures up here when finished, I'm genuinely buzzing for it ha!
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