Author Topic: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary  (Read 7546 times)

Offline Topimo

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #50 on: October 16, 2018, 08:12:08 pm »
The SUSS dig would be better if people actually went there more than twice a year. Guess I should see about stirring up Some enthusiasm once I've got a few other bits sorted out. Had a recce down the "other end" of the dig...with the help of some more hose and scaffolding it could be good fun.

How often are you in ASV?

Offline alastairgott

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #51 on: October 16, 2018, 08:54:13 pm »

Off topic!  :shrug: :o

Ah Now you're an Eldon informant I can't be disclosing things like that!
 Suffice to say, I don't think I've gone more than you in the last 12 months, but I've probably gone 200% more than you last week...

Online 2xw

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2018, 08:20:51 am »

Before this trip report, I must thank whoever took the kibbles we had left at the top of owd mans rift into Xmas aven. This must have been a massive faff (we were expecting it to be!). We salute you, anonymous heroes of speleology!

Saturday 19th. Ethan, Hannah, Merryn, Tommy, Will

I arrived in Sheffield very keen to go digging, as you can tell from this thread we had not been in some time. On Thursday, we had managed to persuade some unknowing freshers to join us. We were lucky enough to have breakfast cooked by Hannah and Creg and so with full bellies got to the cave around 12-12:30. The way in was uneventful - me and Tommy cracking jokes about whether they would ever let us out of the retirement home to finish this dig. When we arrived, we were puzzled at the lack of kibbles at the top of the rift, but discovered some unknown heroes had already taken them in.

Once inside, work began in earnest. With so many people, it was possible to pull kibbles right to the top of the pot and pour them out - and pouring is a good descriptor, because the dig is full of absolute shit. It is sticky, it gets everywhere, it is full of water. Late in the session, around 1700, a Christmas aven miracle occured - soil began to flow into the dig from above. Tommy began frantically digging and many more kibbles were pulled, until a black space could be seen. Before being entered, the hole needed considerable work to stabilise it, but a large chamber could be seen above.

At this point - and with considerable restraint, we called it a day. The Freshers were fucked, and we had a 2100 callout. We proceeded to eat some crackers and cheese, along with grapes and dates. We also had wine but it wasn't brought out :( Ethan, we now know, brings excellent cave food, however in this dig, one person must wash their hands in a small puddle, wait for their hands to dry by blowing, and then feed the food to everyone else.  We excitedly left the cave, and ended up back at the car at 19:45. We proceeded to a board games night at Fir st and became merry, each having a celebratory mince pie and speculating about our new find.

Sunday 18th Ethan, Botch, Tommy, Will

We took it easy this morning and were careful to be thoroughly prepared. Putting kit on was the worst part of the day - it had gotten freezing in my car, and everything was covered in shit. Luckily I had washed all the grit from inside my gloves and wetsocks in Louise's sink (sorry Louise) which made my gloves and socks merely incredibly uncomfortable and cold rather than irritating to wear.

The way in to the cave was faster now and conversationally subdued, as everyone wanted to warm up and find some new cave. Upon arrival we immediately started work. Some 40 kibbles were hauled out before botch squeezed into a new chamber, approx 3m wide and 5m high, an aven blocked at the top with calcite, and decorated inside the cone. The right hand wall consists of unstable conglomerate of what we think is shale or sand or something. A passage leads off from here, leftwards trending and down, to reach a very sticky mud crawl which requires a chest tight squeeze, to eventually find a clean washed chamber where water drops into a too tight echoing crack in the floor.

It was time to survey it, so Ethan and I waited whilst Tommy and Botch completed this. The plus side is that the dig now drafts, which means there are no longer any bad air problems. The negative of this is that it is fucking freezing. Ethan assured me that he had an "American bivvy" we could both sit in, and pulled out a fucking bin bag. "Oh sorry I thought I had a contractors bin bag". Nope, bog standard. As we tried to get in it, the bag was stretched over my face. It occured to me that DCRO might be puzzled by the pair of cavers who had apparently died in some weird case of autoerotic asphyxiation after finding new cave.

After Tommy and Botch returned having surveyed some 25-30m of new P8, we cracked open a bottle of champagne to celebrate. This actually made me and Ethan considerably less cold and made the way out of the cave much easier. After a few pictures we hurriedly left the cave, cleaned up and fucked off!

As regards visitors, we would encourage you to have a look. You will get cold and wet and very very muddy. Keep away from the right hand walls, as you go in. We don't know how stable they are. There are no longer any issues with bad air. Bear in mind rescue from here would be a massive hassle.

If anyone does visit before we next get to go - there is a lot of "dig detritus" (including an empty bottle of champagne, sorry). We are fully committed to cleaning up this dig. There is more to be done here and we may return with renewed vigour. We will remove all tools and equipment, and will remove litter. We will remove all shit rope and put some sort of proper system in for getting into the pot - we realise it is a difficult free climb.

We must thank all of the people we've dragged into this cave over what must be 3-5 years of digging here. Especially the Freshers who are invariably promised caverns measureless by old blokes with a glint in their eye in the pub, only to spend 5 hours getting cold and moving mud around. This is essentially a SUSS dig - even though in the time it has taken we have all graduated and joined the Eldon and the Bradford!

Pictures and a survey to follow!

Offline Katie

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #53 on: November 19, 2018, 02:12:04 pm »
It occured to me that DCRO might be puzzled by the pair of cavers who had apparently died in some weird case of autoerotic asphyxiation after finding new cave.

Realistically I think DCRO would just see it was SUSS and shrug their shoulders in a 'oh well, anything goes' kinda way......

And if you had died and your friends had erected a plaque to your memory it wouldn't be the first in a Derbyshire cave to a caver killed by an auto-erotic asphyxiation accident....

Anyway good work on the digging and the find and the drinking champagne underground on breakthrough day :-)

Offline Goydenman

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #54 on: November 19, 2018, 02:20:20 pm »
well done everyone...25-30m good find. Do you think the way on it to widen the 'too tight echoing crack'?

Offline Topimo

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #55 on: November 19, 2018, 03:24:12 pm »
A fantastic weekend. A multnational and multi-club success for the Backhoe Buccaneers (the only way to resolve our digging disputes of yesteryear was to form a new club).

We began this dig back halfway through university, and if we'd just gone once a week we'd have broken through in 2015 I reckon! Ah well, we know what's on the other side now...

Saturday was a spritely affair, with fresher Merryn on her first digging trip, Ethan too - though he's a "born again" fresher, having spent time with SUSS a few years ago before being distracted by climbing. It happens to the best of us! Merryn had a very successful shift, having agreed to dig out 5 kibbles, she went on to do 15 or so in the end. Hannah was a machine on the hauling line for which we are very grateful. Ethan did his bit on the kibble too, not complaining one bit, and he brought a fantastic picnic along - a shame we didn't drink the wine though. Will got mud in his eye and tried to lick it out, unsuccessfully, but it was entertaining.

P8 Breakthrough Dig 2 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

The variance in mud quality in the bottom of the dig is superb, from gloopy clay to wet slop to dry sand. It seemed as soon as you clear the wet stuff away you're just kneeling right back in it again.

Whilst having my turn at the face, something odd happened: lots of dry sandy material flowed down the face into the dig. I heaved on a boulder with the crowbar a little more and sure enough, more sandy soil flowed down. I thought it may have been a pocket in the ceiling that had remained uncompacted, but the amount and it's readiness to flow into the dig was staggering, I assumed we had hit a small crossrift.

But no, moments later, things were sounding different, almost like there was a chamber beyond! Making my ridiculous but trademarked "cave call" I estimated the chamber to be around 3*4*5m.
With everyone now tired and wanting to go home, and knowing we had some work to do before getting through "proper", we left it for the day, besides - we had cheese boards and boards games waiting in Sheffield.

P8 Breakthrough Dig 1 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

Sunday was more determined and significantly less rambunctious. However, it was well worth fighting the gritting caving gear back on to our cheese-swollen bodies.
Botch and I sped off ahead to calibrate the Eldon Disto, after some typical bluetooth challenges we got a suitable setup and were off to the dig, now with Ethan and Will alongside.

Botch had first dig, with me jockeying the kibbles, and Ethan and Will hauling.

Botch was certain he could get through the gap, but we knew this from yesterday, and I reminded him he didn't want to be buried alive on his back in the arse end of P8, and we should stabilise the breakthrough slope first.
When I went to have a look, I realised that a lot of the loose stuff had slumped away, and Botch was right; fitting through was a trivial affair. Stood up in the new aven (2*3*4m - close!) I could see a continuation passage beyond, and the same stable conglomerate mud on the right wall, as with the other side of the dig - perhaps we could have come round the side or from above?
I figured this move could be interpreted as bad form, so slid back out, let Botch finish the digging, and he went to look into the continuation passage.

He was happy with his findings but was deterred by thick mud, returning to bring the group through. Meanwhile I leapfrogged his limit, over the mud, and found a tight squeeze leading up into a passage, rather similar to one on the way in to the dig from T'Owd Man's Rift, 3m diameter, and half filled with a muddy hump. Pushing mud forwards and to the sides super man style with my helmet off proved to be strenuous after 20 mins of so, and with the complaints of dillydallying from Botch and Will (who just wanted to survey what we'd found so far), I let Botch go through the squeeze to keep us all moving.

Botch pissed about for a little bit, giving the concluding chamber its name - "Golden Dreams", and we came out to grab the Disto. We found Ethan and Will sharing a bin bag and thus dubbed this short but momentus extension to P8 - "Bin Bag Passage". Located some 14m above the Sump B/C/D area and heading north, we are definitely in the old development in from

Bin Bag Passage Plan by tommypmoore, on Flickr

Bin Bag Passage Elevation by tommypmoore, on Flickr

Bin Bag Passage Animation by tommypmoore, on Flickr

Getting quite cold now from the mud we flew through to survey what we had found, unfortunately I did not photograph the new find but shall return this week or next, I was acutely aware that Ethan would soon be fed up with Will's close company.

There is potential to continue digging, but of the handful of options none are easy or obvious, I suspect a day or two of prospecting would suffice to pick which one to focus on. The "too-tight" continuation has a gour/crystal pool floor and calcite ceiling heading upstream and downhill to the north-northwest (right towards Gautries ;)), it's mostly horizontal, ~3m wide, and around 20cm high, though I couldn't see very far (here's to hoping it opens back up immediately. When I return to photograph I'll take some draft detection apparatus.

Golden Dreams is moderately pretty, a few short straws, stals, decent flowstone etc. nothing to write home about but nice enough to find.

I'd packed some Champers in inside a wetsuit, firing the cork in true celebratory fashion somewhere into the aven before dishing out into partially shattered plastic party glasses. We hastily made a toast to passages anew before heading out as it wasn't long before one of us froze to death. Not before a few terrible selfies though.

P8 Breakthrough Dig 4 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

P8 Breakthrough Dig 5 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

P8 Breakthrough Dig 6 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

P8 Breakthrough Dig 3 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

If anyone wants to come prospecting at the rest of it and receive a guided tour, get in touch!

Offline Rob

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #56 on: November 19, 2018, 08:15:55 pm »
Well done SUSS  :clap2:

When the Eldon started digging Christmas Aven in 2012 (during the Peak’s Expedition) it was on the basis that an upstream phreatic passage should exist the other side of the chamber, somewhere in the floor. I’m now glad that in 2015 after a year of our inactivity we pointed this project in your direction, saving us the hard work in exchange for yourselves taking all of the glory of proving our theory right! ;D  Shame it didn't go much further but you can't guess that one....

So SUSS, want another “good” lead?
The end is where we start....

Offline chunky

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #57 on: November 19, 2018, 08:50:37 pm »
Great work everyone!

Sent from my SM-A730F using Tapatalk

Offline Topimo

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #58 on: December 20, 2018, 10:41:57 pm »

Offline Topimo

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Re: P8 Xmas Aven dig diary
« Reply #59 on: March 11, 2019, 01:11:49 pm »
Hi all,

It's been a little while since my last update so here is a brief summary of the work since then.

Jan 2019

Myself and Helen went to the dig with capping gear with the plan of taking the roof out to allow clean and dry progress through the presumed small "duck".
We were initially successful, but soon found we were struggling capping at an angle to the roof, our "solid" capping mat kept getting stuck, we had some misfires etc.
By this time we noticed we could no dig into a mud bank on the right, so we did so until we were lying in a muddy puddle (water comes in from 2 very small inlets, drip drip).
By sloshing the water around we could hear an area beyond where water could fall a short distance, enticing but with the slurry being made undiggable and being tired, we left, calling it a day.

Feb 2019

This time it was me and Corin. On mine and Helen's trip, we lit a small piece of incense to check for draughts...Corin and I could still smell it when we arrived - not so promising. We dug our way through the slurry, managing to lift some of the water content with the spoil up the the stacking area where it could temporarily remain in the woven plastic sacks. This meant that eventually the dig was bordering on dry, allowing us to break through into another small chamber. Corin didn't name it so at least as a placeholder this is the "Brown Reality" that follows on from Golden Dreams. There is another small calcite flow on the right, and a significant (for the passage) ~5m vertical height drop down to yet another mud chocked dip. We trenched the connection with the hope of allowing the water to drain to avoid the potential for a "ducking funpleasant uck" upon the next visit.


The dig is still a "goer" with potential to connect through to an area beyond the upstream sumps, and the passage is now markedly closer after our recent efforts.
However for myself, with sunshine appearing more consistently above ground, running goals on the horizon, and mountain scrambles to do in places that aren't Derbyshire, I am pausing my involvement in the dig for the time being. I'll have to go back down to have a tidy up and survey to the end, but that's only the one trip.

Anyone interested in going through the next bit?

I bet it only needs a few sessions to get some guaranteed metres in :p, much like these last two little breakthroughs.

Tommy  :beer2: