Author Topic: Hopeless hole - Portland  (Read 11453 times)

Offline John_Smith

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2019, 07:58:25 am »
Tim lying where the large boulder used to be while trying to support the hanging ceiling. The way on is to the right, just beyond the hanging ceiling.


The way on, buried up to its neck in even more stuff to move but it looks very promising indeed!

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2019, 11:09:58 pm »


Having got in touch via the forum a couple of months back Ed and I met on Portland for a trip round Blacknor

That was good to read  ;D

The photos look, erm, precarious!

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2019, 09:43:57 am »
Great progressive dig read with clear images. It's rather a shame that its called " Hopeless Hole " though that might be the incentive to find more. I liked TIT. Many years ago I had NEDFROB though is probably best that we don't go into that. Our team is digging every week and I have actually got to use a bit of scaffolding now neatly disguised behind a stone wall. Peter's conveyor belt has been added and this makes hauling and crawling so much easier. When we ever find anything we will let folks know but it won't be anytime soon.

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2019, 11:42:04 am »
Yes, Tim we should have some light but durable conveyor belt knocking about it you need some.

Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2019, 09:48:25 pm »
Thank Ed for posting the photo's.

The way on is basically behind all the loose stuff on the right in Ed's top photo.  Right at the end of our session on Saturday I pulled out a few bits just beyond that very dodgy boulder and a hole appeared with a view to better things.  I'd always thought the way on might be the other side of that rubble but until then, moving various bits on that RHS showed nothing other than more rubble so we followed the good wall on the left instead.

As for that boulder it didn't look that bad when I crawled under it!  I did put some 'supporting spoil' underneath so it wouldn't go far.  Might look at taking it out next time or just digging though the rubble this side of it.  From what I could see pretty much anywhere through that right hand mess will achieve the same outcome.  No doubt you've all guess by now, the loose stuff is what has dropped down yet another narrow rift crossing our cave!

As for digging, the TIT is working really well in the main passage as far as the Steve's connection (base camp 1).  The section further in is being served very well with the carpet drag trays.  We've got a fairly smooth dry floor so I don't think conveyor belt would add much.  Very kind offer though.  What we really need is more help - any volunteers?  Or just someone to finish the job for us.  All dig pirates welcome on Portland on the condition you tell us what you find!

I reckon one more trip will get us into what ever we've caught a glimpse of last weekend.  As much as we try not to leave spoil everywhere (Richard even noted how tidy I'd been keeping the place), we do have a reasonably large clear area only a few metres back from the dig face.  I like to call it a chamber because 3 of us fit in at once and we don't have many 'chambers'.  We've been using it as base camp 2!  There's always the option to pull spoil back to there and deal with it later.   

Otherwise, I suspect the dig will take a break again whilst we poke around at the potential Steve's to Blacknor dig (see other thread).  We didn't really intend to work on this one last weekend.

As for the name I don't know the history.  Presumably the cave was named 'Hopeless Hole' by past Portland explorers due to the state of the collapse under what is now the Steve's / Hopeless connection.  It certainly didn't look worthwhile to us but we set to anyway.  Our main goal was to establish the connect to Steve's which I don't think had been considered previously.  The SDS drill has been vital to our effort and without it I'm certain we too would have considered the place hopeless.

Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2019, 09:57:19 pm »
Well Hopeless Hole is certainly proving to be hopeless!

As you've probably guessed by my first sentence we've not found the caverns measureless to man (on Portland that refers to anything Richard sized) we'd hoped for.  Myself, Sas and Richard spent a good few hours in Hopeless again today.  After removal of a reasonable amount of spoil I managed to grovel my way along the low, 'open' passage seen on our last trip making around 4 m of progress.  1 m ahead was the flow stone bank we'd gained a glimpse of previously; unfortunately no further passage was found.  In fact it seems the flow stone is completely blocking the way ahead (assuming one exists) leaving us with a dead end.  Another large spoil removal task would be required to open the route to the 'end' allowing sufficient room to work, and that's assuming there is something at the end worth working on.  All very disappointing really considering how promising it had all looked.  We have a solid roof, a good wall and it's heading in the right direction!  Bugger. 

So we called a committee meeting.  The outcome being that we're going to leave Hopeless for the foreseeable future.  Consequently we've had a bit of a tidy up today and Richard plans to return to remove the rest of our junk over the next week or so.  As for the future, we might clear a proper route as far as the stal bank for three reasons...
1. To be certain there's nothing further worth digging.
2. To make a proper end to the cave which has a view of a few pretties.
3. It's all been rather good fun so why not continue even if there's no purpose.
Or we might not bother!

What I did manage to do is take a few photos:

Here's Sas and Richard in our chamber:


Sas looking through the hole on the far side of the above chamber which leads to the end of the cave:


Richard about to round the final corner (to the right beyond the boulders).  This whole section has been cleared during our last 2 trips.


And round the corner he goes:


Once round that corner, a bit of wriggling later this is the view of the end:

The flowstone bank mentioned is central on this picture behind the last few rocks I couldn't be bothered to move when I had my head up level with them.

Well Hopeless has provided us with much amusement over the last 18 months so I dare say we'll be back one day!  In short though our efforts have resulted in the connection to Steve's providing a cracking through trip (which incidentally was completed again today by Nick and Jerome whilst we were digging) and we've doubled the length of the phreatic tunnel.  We've agreed the priority over this side of the island now needs to be the potential Steve's - Blacknor connection.  I've also got a few ideas for new places to bugger around in and of course there's always a return to Showerbath to consider.



Offline thomasr

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2019, 03:45:29 pm »
Good stuff  dorset and mendip :clap2:  Come on the north

Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2020, 10:33:46 pm »
Well it's almost as if we can't keep away!  Myself and Richard convinced Sas today she should complete the Steve's to Hopeless through trip have successfully avoided it since we made the connection.  What else is there to do after reaching Hopeless than the spend a couple hours digging the end? 

Today's objective was to bring the bloody ceiling down.  One thing we all agreed on after our last disappointing trip was that any further progress would require the removal of the rocks to the right of Richard in the third photo in my previous post.  The photo makes them look reasonable however it was all a bit dodgy on the far side and furthermore to give better access to the end we'd have to remove some of the bits holding it all up. 

In a change to tradition, Richard set to, doing unholy things with the long poking pole, whilst myself and Sas acted as spoil sherpa's.  About an hour later Richard had made the cave shorter as it was no longer possible to pass beneath the beast of a boulder he'd moved.  I then set to with the drill, plug and feathers.  Another hour later and the lot was gone.  Whilst I was breaking boulders Richard took out 5 TIT loads.  Spoil removal was slow today as we'd taken the carpet drag trays home previously.

Richard's convinced we should at least make a proper route down to the previously mentioned flow stone at the end of the cave and see what, if anything, can be done to continue ahead.  Today's effort has gone a long way to achieving that.  There's certain potential for a reasonable find, it's just a question of how much effort is required!

No photo's of today's digging, however here's 3 taken whilst in Steve's:







Back to the 'End of Steve's End.' dig on Friday.

Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2020, 10:10:04 pm »
An update on Hopeless Hole...

Only two trips since Feb due to some annoying virus doing the rounds.  The first was a few weeks ago - very little to report from that one.  It was simply a tidying up / spoil removal session and a rough survey taken (below). 

The second was today and finally an opportunity to attack the flowstone bank at the end of the cave.  To be honest I didn't expect much from this.  It wasn't clear whether we should be digging at the penultimate corner or the end 4 m further on.  Consensus was to try the end (first).  Turns out mud, infill, boulders and flowstone is a very boring combination to dig.  Nether-the-less 4 hours later and about 1 m of forwards progress a drafting hole appeared which was soon enlarged to provide a view beyond the blockage into further 'passage'.  The Passage ahead appears to be about 30cm high with a solid roof.  Approx. 1.5 m wide and we've estimate at least 5 m long.  The 'floor' is a mix of mud and rock with the true floor probably 1 m below.  As with the last piece of passage in Hopeless we'll need to create a trench to crawl in as we progress.  Two keyed in boulders currently block entry into this which need breaking and removing next time.  Hopefully the next few metres at least should be quick progress.  The effort we've put into this place deserves some open passage now! 

A couple of photo's:

Looking ahead from the penultimate corner to Richard working at the flowstone bank. 




We've been able to retain a decent amount of the flowstone bank by keeping to the left.  This is what remains:


Gaynam sporting his latest headgear invention.  Basically a battery powered streetlight. 


The survey we took (which will hopefully be completely out of date after our next session):

Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2020, 09:33:05 pm »
The team returned Saturday and through the flowstone we go.  It took approx. 30 mins, a dose of the drill, plug and feathers and some grunting with the crowbar but the 2 boulders blocking the exit from the flowstone choke succumbed.  A bit of a tidy up and enlargement of the hole through before the 'trenching' began.  With Nick at the lead we'd made around 5m of forward progress before lunch.  Beyond the choke we have a good ceiling and two walls with a passage width of approx. 2m.  Unfortunately we cannot tell the true height of the passage as it's filled nearly to the ceiling leaving a head space of around 20 to 30 cm.  Being 2m wide, half the width was sacrificed to home small spoil from our trench, whilst larger rocks were sent back for removal by the spoil sherpa's.  After lunch a further 3m of forward progress was made but this was very low due to inefficient 'spoil hiding' and hence running out of space.  I'd not tried very hard - knackered from the mornings efforts and desperately hoping it was magically going to get bigger!  At the far end, the passage continues the same for as far as we can see, being around 5 to 10 m.  On the plus side, it's clear where we're going and what we need to do.

We'll need to spend some time improving Saturdays forward progress making it a bit bigger and doing a better job of loosing the spoil but other wise progress should be fairly quick.  The problem of course is spoil removal as we getting a long way from the entrance (approx. 40 m) and very few other options.

What I'm struggling to understand is how the passage, which if empty would be sizeable for Portland, has become filled with rubble. Obviously some event has created the fill but I can't imagine what that would be.  The fill is a mixture of rocks ranging from aggregate to small boulders around 2ft square, a little soil and loads of broken up flowstone / stal.  We've worked our way along roughly 8 m of this and can see it continues ahead so there must be at least a 15m section.  There are no rifts above and other than a good splattering of 2 to 5cm long stals the ceiling is clean and flat.  The broken stal in the fill is far bigger than anything on the ceiling so it's not come from there.  The fill almost looks like the output from the stone crusher which has been pumped in!

For those who know Portland, the passage resembles Comfort Crawl in Blacknor being square shaped, however in the case of Hopeless the gap above the rubble floor is too small to fit through.

And for those who like them some photo's...

Looking through the hole we've made in the flowstone choke to Nick working on the other side:


The new passage on the far side of the choke showing the left hand wall and the ceiling.  The right hand side has been used to home what we've take from the left:


Richard inspecting the limit of Saturdays efforts at the end of the day (he might have commented that it wasn't big enough!):


A sample of the broken up bits of flowstone & stal found amongst the fill we're removing that we've put aside:

Offline Alex

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2020, 01:58:10 pm »
On that last picture it looks like the stal could have come from the ceiling originally, where that black patch is now?
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Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Hopeless hole - Portland
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2020, 03:16:35 pm »
The black patch is chert in the ceiling - there's loads throughout the whole cave.  I've caused a bit of confusion by not explaining the 4th photo better.  Those bits of stal came from several metres further into the cave.  The fourth photo was taken where we were sorting spoil and those bits were picked out and placed on a convenient ledge as we thought we'd retain a few.  They would have come from somewhere below the ceiling shown in the 2nd photo.  There's also loads of it.  Every other piece of rock is at least partly flow stone so it's certainly not from the odd bit which has fallen off the current ceiling.  One theory I have is that the current ceiling was not the original ceiling.

 

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