Author Topic: The end of Steve's Endeavour  (Read 1408 times)

Offline tim.rose2

  • Tim R
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
The end of Steve's Endeavour
« on: August 09, 2019, 11:31:32 pm »
The end of Steve's Endeavour is a rather interesting place.  I think I've mentioned it on the hopeless thread before, that we've noticed the the cave terminates at Y junction.  I don't think previous explorers noticed this and its not all that surprising given that at a low level the left hand rift is little more than a crack a couple of inches wide and at a high level the right hand rift is hidden behind some really dodgy boulders.  Consequently it's not at all surprising that most would just assume its a single rift.  Furthermore, since forging the Hopeless - Steve's through trip last October we've given ourselves much easier access to this part of the cave and hence opportunity to look at it in detail.

The left hand rift provides the high level window out to the cliff found by the original explorers, contains our connection to Hopeless and also the recently noticed low level route out to the cliff.  The right hand rift simply pinches out becoming too tight after a few metres however appears to turn inland.

A few months ago myself and Richard had a good look at the right hand rift and decided we should spend a day or two enlarging the end of the rift to see what happens at the point it turns.  Since then I've studied the Blacknor survey and fannied around on google earth and come to the conclusion this rift is almost certainly heading to Blacknor.  The Northern Steve's entrance is 74 m from Blacknor's Queens Entrance as the crow flies.  Not far inside Queens Entrance there is a rift (Next to Go) which according to the survey heads south for approx. 50 m.  Annoyingly this is the only rift in Blacknor I've not been in so I have no idea what is at its end.  What I do know is there is no evidence of it emerging on the cliff.  I'm therefore hoping 'Next to Go' and our right hand rift in Steve's meet.  The distance between the two cannot be more than about 20 m (and hopefully a little less!).  The goal of course is to create an interesting through trip and provide an all weather, more sensible entrance to Blacknor.

Today myself and Richard had nothing better to do so we decided to take the bag of toys and start work enlarging the rift.  We only managed around 2 m of progress however another similar session will get us to a good view of what's going on and we should be able to make a judgement to whether this will be a long term project, a futile waste of time or perhaps another easy breakthrough.

A couple of pictures...

Richard in the enlarged rift:


The bag of toys & back along Steve's Endeavour rift:


Unlikely we'll get a chance to return to this one for a while but I'll update this thread when we do.

Offline tim.rose2

  • Tim R
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
Re: The end of Steve's Endeavour
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2019, 10:41:25 pm »
Myself and Richard spent another few hours beating the sh*t out of the end of Steve's today.  Good progress.  I'd guess about 3 m more of rift enlarged.  The rift has taken a slight turn of maybe 20 to 30 degrees inland.  We've widened to and around the corner.  At the corner I cleared a boulder and declared a chamber had been found.  Richard disagreed with my ideas of what constitutes a chamber.  Beyond the corner another metre or so of progress was made along the rift. 

Richards description of our work was very accurate - I made a pilot hole whilst he followed enlarging the rift further to 'Richard sized'.  At one point I did ask 'I take it you're planning to walk through that squeeze?' the reply 'no I'm going to drive the Landy through it'.

The rift continues too tight, however is a little wider than where we started.  We're having to take around 3 to 4 inches off the left hand wall as we go to make it big enough.  Approx 3 m ahead the rift is filled with debris / boulders as high as we can see.  It looks like there's plenty of gaps through to blackness beyond so we're hoping it's just a bit of hanging death which will drop with a poking stick rather than a full on choke to deal with.  Another trip should get us to the base of this.  For the time being we're still optimistic about this dig and plan to continue.

On the downside, some bellend had taken a dump just inside the entrance to Hopeless Hole.  I'd hazard a guess some anti-social climber as they are the only others to use the cliff paths.  Richard relocated the offending article so all clean in there now. 


Offline tim.rose2

  • Tim R
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
Re: The end of Steve's Endeavour
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2019, 10:00:55 pm »
Happened to be in Blacknor Hole today so took a look at the end of Next to Go Rift (thanks Ed for humouring me on this detour of the planned trip).  The climb down into the rift from Queens tunnel is approx. 6 m.  Once at the bottom the rift can be followed South quite some distance until it becomes too narrow.  On the whole the rift is a good size only narrowing at the end.  As well as the lack of width there's also some choss in the rift and looks very similar to our dig in Steve's.  Nothing has changed my mind today that there's a strong likelihood of a connection.

The climb back out of the rift is rather strenuous though due to a lack of foot or hand holds but is just about free climbable.  Should we make a connection, this route is never going to be an easy backdoor into Blacknor.

Offline tim.rose2

  • Tim R
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
Re: The end of Steve's Endeavour
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2020, 05:28:59 pm »
Myself and Richard had another very promising session in Steve's Endeavour today.  Since my last post we did have one further very frustrating trip where we didn't seem to make much progress as the cave walls suddenly seemed to be made of granite (hence no post on here)!  Today, however, rather than attacking the walls, we decided to dismantle the ledges which we'd previously decided would be the 'floor', creating a person sized gap lower in the rift.  This proved much easier with the rock at this lower level (approx. 3 ft down) breaking up much easier despite there being more of it to remove.  Around 4 to 5m of progress today which included bringing down the debris blocking the rift mentioned previously.  The long poking pole worked a treat.  A little more enlarging required (probably a couple of hours work) after which the rift looks as though it might be increasing in size a little.

Spoil removal is fairly straight forward.  The rift is actually around 8 to 10 ft deeper though only a few inches wide below where we're enlarging it.  Most of our spoil is simply being reduced to the correct size to fall down the hole - very therapeutic! 

Offline tim.rose2

  • Tim R
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
Re: The end of Steve's Endeavour
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2020, 09:28:13 pm »
Myself and Richard have been back to Steve's again today.  Not as much progress as last week however another body length or so has been enlarged.  The section of rift visible at the end of the previous trip which looked to be a bit larger turned out to be only 1 m long however it is person sized.  Unfortunately 'person sized' is not 'hammer wielding person sized' so it'll need enlarging a bit anyway.  Beyond that we now have a view of another section of too tight rift at least 3 m long followed by what looks like another batch of rubble hanging in the rift.

Unfortunately today we found the end of the easy to break up ledges with only solid walls to work on ahead.  These 'solid' walls are a mixture of chert and fairly soft rock which is like cheese.  The issue being that neither the chert (too hard) or the cheese (too soft) succumb to a hammer and chisel or plug and feathers.  Achieving much with this proved very slow and awkward, so we're expecting the next few metres to be a royal pain in the arse.

Now for some photo's...

On route to the dig from Hopeless Hole, it's necessary to drop down a 10 m rift.  Usually we drop the bags of tools down on a rope and then follow.  Now, I love the random things that happen in life.  10ft above the floor the crowbar had come out of the tackle sack and decided to rest here (10 points to anyone who can spot the grain of sand it's hanging from).  The walls are clean limestone - so it's not mud sticking it on.



In my second post on this thread I mentioned a corner we dug our way around.  Well this is what it looks like now:



This is Richard having a look at the end before we started today:



And this is Richard looking at the end 4 hours later:



And finally something that doesn't involve a photo of Richard's arse:





Offline tim.rose2

  • Tim R
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
Re: The end of Steve's Endeavour
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 09:58:19 pm »
Three weeks in a row - we must be keen.  Not bad for a couple of cavers who wholeheartedly agree that not only do we hate digging but also caving in general. 

As predicted, today was hard graft with only 1 m of progress.  I did arrive with a 'new oversized bolster' (NOB for short) produced on Wednesday evening by modifying an old stake I had in the garage.  The intention was to give Steve's End. a thorough pounding with my NOB. Unfortunately, my NOB proved difficult to control one handed, with it tending to slide off the wall of Steve's End. rather than achieve anything desirable.  The excessive length simply made it too heavy.  The concept had been that a long bolster should allow sideways on chiselling and hence reduce the width needed to work.  Epic failure!  So back to the tried and tested method of swearing at the rift walls every time I got my shoulders stuck.

Looks like at least another couple of slow progress trips needed now.  Likely to be a few weeks before we've a chance to return though.  Blacknor can't be far away!

I did try to take some photo's today however Richard had disappeared before I got a chance to take any of his arse.  Those I did take of the end of the dig came out blurred so none today I'm afraid.