Author Topic: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.  (Read 654 times)

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An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« on: April 13, 2017, 08:49:07 pm »
Date: April Fools Day, 2017
Trip: Picnic Passage via Flower Pot, Dynamite Series, Carlswark, Stoney Middleton.
Party of one: Tommy Moore

The fortnight leading up to this trip involved the completion of my third year dissertation, and as such my sleep pattern was a little out of whack with reality.
After failing to get some rest all night, I hopped in the car at about 6am to drive to Stoney.
The aim was to test a handpump out at the dig face to drain an awkward pool of water.

So down the blue tube I slithered, leaving a flask and bottle of water at the bottom along with any surplus kit.

I made the decision to keep my helmet on for this trip, I'd had it off previously as it gets quite tight in places, but I thought I'd try and fight the faff. Picnic Passage is a flat out crawl for some 80m, with a couple of avens, a couple of small (2-3m) chambers, a smattering of cross-rifts, and a few ducks and puddles.

I got to the end through the 3 or so ducks with little difficulty and all was going well. I set the pump up with the reinforced tube in the pool and ran the layflat back down the passage, it was shorter than I'd have liked and as such I'd simply be creating another duck behind me so I knew to keep an eye on that lest I block myself in!

The pumped worked nicely but muggins here hadn't put a filter on the suction end so it got gummed up. I took it apart, cleared it out and improvised a filter with a spare buff and jubilee clip. It was around this point that I started to feel a bit off.

It's not hard to imagine that this passage recieves very little airflow, so maybe it was a lack of quality air, or maybe it was cumulative sleep deprevation from my efforts in the uni library. Either way I was quite dizzy, very weak, and starting to feel a little confused and slow.

I'd felt this a little on the previous trip so decided to ditch the kit and start to make my way out. I really struggled to push up the slope out of one of the ducks on my back, my legs had no oomph at all... The last obstacle was a long (10m) puddle, some 3-4 inches deep. On the way in I had simply turned my head to one side and breathed through my nose. This time however I was gasping a bit more, and tried to breathe through my mouth. The orifice in question was underwater at the time so I took on a little water. I tried to lift my head up but my light and helmet were clipping the ceiling so this was fruitless.

Feeling weak, short of air, and a little dizzy I probably panicked; I had a sense of how far in to the puddle I'd come, and how far was left of the low section of passage. So I closed my eyes, squirmed, and drank my way out of it. A bit grim, and not something I'd like to repeat.

Much to my chagrin, I couldn't stop to appreciate my success when I got to the end as I wanted to get to some fresher air, so I ploughed on. At this point I was feeling pretty happy and carefree, given that the hard caving was done and I wouldn't be found face down in a muddy puddle on April Fool's day.

I took my time on the way out, even had a little nap, and generally just enjoyed the caving, it had been a while since I'd done a solo trip so it was nice to take it all in. Through Porth Crawl (my profile pic on here), through Dynamite and back to Flower Pot. The flask by the entrance contained some syrup-like coffee with some immensely restorative properties. That was very pleasant to drink whilst listening to the birds tweeting away above me on the surface. I then went to one of the cafes in Eyam and ordered a tenners worth of cakes and a hot chocolate with all the trimmings (any excuse!).

In conclusion, the pump worked, hooray! But I don't think The dig is worth it, it was much more awkward at the face than I remembered from the surveying trip. I'll be leaving it a few weeks and then go down and tidy up the tools and hose.

I've attached some bodged together survey images from the previous trip, overlaid on other data to provide context (i.e. PP's relationship to EDHC). I haven't had chance to figure out how to join the data in Survex, but I passed it on to REavis who may have done it properly, I'll follow up when he's back.

Tommy

Offline MikeyP

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 09:23:22 pm »
Good effort!

Offline andychapm

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 10:07:57 pm »
Good effort!
Some of the most truly miserable moments of my life were spent down there!
Get down Fatigue Pot, Critchlow or Lower Cales Dale for more misery (with maybe some new passage potential :)
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 10:18:36 pm by andychapm »

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 10:36:11 pm »
Good effort!
Some of the most truly miserable moments of my life were spent down there!
Get down Fatigue Pot, Critchlow or Lower Cales Dale for more misery (with maybe some new passage potential :)

Where are these desperate cesspits located Andy?

I'm up for a bit more recording after my exams (I finish on the 12th of May) If you have any one to point me towards.

Online alastairgott

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 10:46:07 pm »
I know where fatigue is, never been in though.

Let me know if you want to go, i don't think the entrance is too long, just pungent! (Ph++)

I'll bring the drill and plugs and feathers.

Offline andychapm

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 10:49:36 pm »
Fatigue Pot: Coombs Dale
Critchlow and Cales Dale: Lathkill Dale. You'll need very dry weather for these two but there's unsurveyed passage at the end of of Critchlow and a chance of connecting through to Boulder Pot. However, it's whether you can get to the end....... Speak to Jon again. Think the Orpheus were poking around Boulder Pot so worth a word there. Probably the easier way to get the connection.

Offline andychapm

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2017, 10:51:53 pm »
Fatigue is a short evening trip really. Don't ever remember it being that smelly.

I do remember remnants of a badger sett in Critchlow entrance though.

Online alastairgott

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2017, 10:53:08 pm »
I think shaun puckering (hitchnhike) is another good one to talk to about critchlow and cales dale.

He tells a good story about some of the breakthroughs there. Might be worth taking a mic.

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2017, 10:58:41 pm »
Fancy a gander the weekend of the 22nd or 29th Alistair?

I have some small yellow metal things that can be put into drilled holes if we need them.

Thanks Andy! :)

Online alastairgott

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 12:53:40 am »
I have some small yellow metal things that can be put into drilled holes if we need them.

Chisels? Pain in the backside, if you cant shift it with plugs and feathers then its still going to be difficult with chisels.
 My time is dispensable at the moment, if you need a break from work, let me know. But as all the crusty folk will tell you, keep an eye on the degree.
 Chapmans been bleating on about fatigue for years, a few weeks wont hurt ;)

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2017, 01:02:26 am »
Caps!

I'll need some time off here and there, the 29th would be better for me out of those dates.

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Re: An April Fool in Picnic Passage.
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2017, 01:09:51 am »
Ah right! As long as you got one of those magical rods and some car mats then were good! I still like plugs and feathers better (call me a luddite if you want!)

I'll see about 29th and let you know.