Author Topic: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1  (Read 1439 times)

Offline nobrotson

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Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« on: January 20, 2019, 02:36:18 pm »
An attempt was made in the final days of 2018 to begin the project to dive Hammer Pot's most recently discovered sump, the Water Butt, found in 2007, but unfortunately water levels were too high for us to want to try and pass Sludge Crawl (less than 10cm airspace in the small bit and most of us quite low on neoprene with no hoods). So Mike's 3l cylinders were left at an appropriate point above the 5th pitch, and after taking some photos in Showerbath Chamber and laughing at Olly for having to abandon his dropped main light in Stemple Rift, which Lydia then decorated with both her wellies, we left the project for next year.

Three weeks later, we were back again with a reduced size team and slightly smaller bags (at least for the start). It was a snowy day on Fountains Fell and we judged it to be suitably cold enough that we wouldn't be trapped by flooding from possible meltwater, so begrudgingly packed up and headed across the moor in cold but calm conditions. We were again able to change at the Shooting Hut; maybe on the next trip we will pluck up the courage to leave our things in there? Perhaps we can come to an arrangement with the landowner?

The trip began easily enough at around 11:30am, with relatively light bags through Stemple Rift. Adam, however, emerged from this tedious and testing obstacle slightly roasted due to him wearing a wetsuit and furry suit to avoid chafing around his ringpiece arising from contact between it and his oversuit. A large hole had developed in his wetsuit as he changed, through which his entire arse was entertainingly visible. After picking up the bottles, progress slowed and we reached Incline Passage after around 3.5 hours caving. This is where the cave changes from a clean and laborious experience to a muddy and laborious experience, and we were all very muddy on reaching Goggle Drop.

After a chocolate break, Mike headed through the crawl to the pitch-head. Peachey attempted to follow, but approached the bend in a manner which was not compatible with his 'abseilers back' so had to withdraw, leaving me to help Mike kit up. We had planned to try and survey the upstream inlet, but since I had been drafted into divers assistant duties this already forlorn aim was fully abandoned for another day.

Mike mutated into his submarine alien form with relative ease, but in his haste forgot to put his neoprene vest on beneath his 5mm wetsuit, and since we were behind schedule he forewent dekitting to put it on. Soon he was in the water swimming to the east and a dim orange glow faded to black, with only occasional twitches of the line and the gloomy sound of air bubbles rising to indicate his continued existence. After 20 minutes or so he returned, reporting that he had surfaced in a large airbell after 15m and that just beyond this was a cross rift. He sounded very cold. He then went to inspect beneath the north wall and I ascended the pitch to inform the others of progress. Soon Mike returned sounding even colder, and after a brief foray under the west wall to encounter no way on he surfaced and we began to pack up. Mike had surrendered control of his limbs to large shivers by this point so I feel that this was a wise time to abandon for the day. Soon we were both the other side of Goggle Drop, where we left one cylinder (still full), fins and mask, with the 20m line reel left at the bottom of the pitch. With reduced weight we began to head out at around 6pm.

The exit was rather slow and quite tiring overall, especially Stemple Rift which is much more of a twat in the outwards direction for a number of reasons (more uphill, scallops face the wrong way to be used as handholds, more tired than on the way in). Peachey and I arrived at the surface just before 10pm, with only an hour to spare before callout, so we began to march back to the car, on the way encountering Rachel who had the callout, Happy Days. A very tired journey back to Leeds ensued and despite being filthy and stinking of piss I had to postpone showering till the following morning, then again what's new there.

So, good prospects for the next trip. More neoprene needed, and maybe some lead (apparently Mike is quite negatively buoyant?) so we can inspect deeper in the sump, but on the plus side less to carry in. Thanks to all in attendance and particularly to Rachel for driving home after quite a long day.

     
The happy team in Misty Aven                                   The glamour of cave diving shines through with radiance

     
Set the phasers to equality                      So long, splish splash, byebye


Snowy walk-in, hopefully not a big cold flood-trap

« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 03:03:18 pm by nobrotson »
the man is mentally ill. I have seen him eat a plastic pie.

Offline Goydenman

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 05:30:56 pm »
Good progress well done. Looking good for next time.

Offline KristianBrook

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 07:16:38 pm »
This is a report worth of praise and will be read for generations to come. I look forward to your remaining 335 publications nobrotson.
WHERE IS THE MUD!?! I WAS PROMISED MUD!!!

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2019, 07:40:19 pm »
Good effort Mike; well done lad.

Offline chunky

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2019, 09:24:05 pm »


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Offline psychocrawler

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2019, 10:19:41 pm »
Good effort in the Water Butt.

Mark Madden took a kid’s fishing net to successfully retrieve a dropped light from Stemple Rift on one of his diving trips in the upstream sump. Not sure it would be a strong enough solution for a pair of wellies.

You really must finish off that splendid survey - the grovel up the stream to the upstream sump is one of the joys of Hammer Pot. It also needs diving again!

Offline nobrotson

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2019, 08:15:41 am »
Don't worry AT that survey will be finished. Diving into that current looks quite intimidating to a non-diver like myself...
the man is mentally ill. I have seen him eat a plastic pie.

Offline Alex

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2019, 09:13:06 am »
Sounds like a productive trip, I must say Hammer is not my favourite of caves owing to a incident on my first trip in there in my novice days.

I managed to fish my tackle sack and SRT kit out of that rift with a long pole with a hammer wedged in the end, attached to sling with a hook put on the end of that. Luckily I could just about reach it round the corner from the last stemple. However, wellies probably won't be manageable.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline psychocrawler

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2019, 10:13:04 pm »
Don't worry AT that survey will be finished. Diving into that current looks quite intimidating to a non-diver like myself...

Indeed.

By the way, has the downstream sump experienced another dive in recent history? Much easier to go with the flow!

Offline nobrotson

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2019, 11:07:01 am »
By the way, has the downstream sump experienced another dive in recent history? Much easier to go with the flow!

Not aware of it having been dived since the 80s. I seem to remember mention of a tight rift in the sump index but will need to check again.
the man is mentally ill. I have seen him eat a plastic pie.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 11:33:51 am »
I'm not sure that's been dived since the early 1970s - by the late Derek Crossland, from memory.
If so, that'd be well before our mutual friend who recently dived Water Butt Sump was born!

The latest Northern Sump Index (2015) gives useful detail but an important reference is the 1975 NCC Journal. If you want I can look up the original dive log in the CDG Newsletter and post basic details on here?

Offline nobrotson

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 02:20:48 pm »
I'm not sure that's been dived since the early 1970s - by the late Derek Crossland, from memory.
If so, that'd be well before our mutual friend who recently dived Water Butt Sump was born!

The latest Northern Sump Index (2015) gives useful detail but an important reference is the 1975 NCC Journal. If you want I can look up the original dive log in the CDG Newsletter and post basic details on here?

That sounds great Pitlamp, would be very useful. I'm not a diver so I don't know what difference 40 years will have made to possibilities in sumps like this which aren't so technical and deep? Would be good to have a definitive record of exploration either way.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2019, 02:27:42 pm »
But we do have a "definitive" record. It's all properly published of course ;)

One of the main differences from 40 years ago is people can actually see underwater these days!

I'll sort it out shortly & post on here.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2019, 03:01:56 pm »
OK, here are the actual CDG dive logs for the downstream sumps in Hammer Pot, verbatim. The reference is Cave Diving Group Newsletter 29 (October 1973) pages 14-15.

Two dives were done roughly a month apart. The first was in the original terminal sump, then I think the NCC managed to bypass the original terminal sump to reach a second one - still the true terminal sump as far as I'm aware. The second dive was in this further sump. I'm pretty sure (without checking) that the NCC extension bypassing the original terminal sump is described in the 1975 NCC Journal (which I'm sure you'll have in the ULSA library).

The CDG entry is as follows:

HAMMER POT,  Fountains Fell                                                SD893.697
May 1973
Diver: Derek Crossland


Object: terminal sump
The Dive: Low opening in pool becomes too tight after 10ft.

June 1973
Diver: Derek Crossland:

Object: to explore the sump at the end of the recent extension to the pot, which bypasses the original terminal sump.


The dive: the diver made two dives on base fed line, both to the same spot 25 ft. from base (5 x 2 ft.); in zero visibility no way on was found. After the first dive he had serious trouble with line getting stuck in a crack. during the second a small jagged hole in the floor was found against the right hand wall.


From experience, a "small jagged hole in the floor" isn't the sort of feature you often find in sumps - unless there's a way on downwards . . . .  This alone suggests a re-check is overdue.


Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2019, 03:19:12 pm »
Just for completeness, if you want the definitive information re Mark Madden's dives in the upstream sump, the dive logs are in CDG newsletters 72, 76 and 113. (Surely these must be in the ULSA library?)

Interestingly, Mark alludes to some other unknown diver having gone in there (and altered Mark's lines) in between two of Mark's dives. But I think Mark got furthest and his end point was at -28 m.

Offline nobrotson

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2019, 04:43:24 pm »
cheers for the info. I have read Mark's logs RE upstream sump in the CDG newsletters and also in the NPC journal 87-15. Looks like more diving required downstream then!
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2019, 05:05:25 pm »
Happy to help if I can.  :)

Offline psychocrawler

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Re: Hammer Pot, Water Butt Sump Dives Part 1
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2019, 07:52:58 pm »
Always worth another look after all these years and with a modern eye.

Think Witches Cave which led to the downstream Pippikin link and ultimately a back entrance or Hardrawkin Pot or Black Keld or Brown Hill Pot (twice) - the  list goes on.

Having said that I revisited another of Derek Crossland’s prime dive sites and failed to make any significant progress, despite putting in a bit of effort, and merely replicated his 70s dive. A good diver would have done better as RLC used to say!