28 January 2015

Establish a dig

We had started the underground year in Wrysgan. And we had been looking up a steep, smooth slope above which we suspected there would be a potential passage to somewhere else. There was a blocked passage somewhere, probably up there, and the men suspected it could be cleared, which would allow a new bit of through trip. But we first had to get up there to have a look! And for that cause David had brought a ladder. Simon ascended it with his drill, and a while later I followed as a general drilling assistant. And that was mildly useful! At some point Simon dropped some kit and I caught it. But later, he kicked down a rock, which I also managed to catch, but had to let go sooner or later myself. I yelled down if everybody was out of the way. No answer, and nobody to be seen. I let go. But Mick actually was below me, albeit out of sight. He hadn't shouted! It hit him, but fortunately not in a painful way. I felt very bad anyway. I should have demanded confirmation from below. 

Simon bolted on. And just when he had run out of rope he reached the point from which it was just about possible to scramble up. Which we did! It didn't look promising. That collapse could be filled with tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of rock. But David wasn't deterred. He climbed up instead to have a look himself. And to him it looked fine. He suggested some people would walk around to the other side, to see if they could establish contact through the rubble. And while Simon, Paul and Don started off doing just that, he started to shove down all the loose rubble from the slope. There was a lot there! I just had a chat with Mick. 

David about to have a look at the blockage

From time to time David would bang the rock or yell. So far, nothing! But then we heard half a conversation. Success! It can't be that much rubble if you can hear what someone is saying on the other side. So this might be worth pursuing. 

When the conversation stopped, and we assumed the others were on their way back (they'd better be; it had taken them 45 mins to get there!) I thought we could only wait, but David had a better plan; he suggested he'd start drilling some holes for bolts for next time. We had run out of rope, but it would save us time the next time around! It was a smart plan. I clambered back up. When we were faffing a bit (get the hammer out, test the rock, get the drill out, etc) I noticed I heard more rocks falling. We weren't doing anything! And then it dawned on me: what we were standing on was loose rubble on a steep, smooth slope. And David had just spent at least half an hour undermining that rubble. And it was starting to give. 

I announced to David I was getting the #### out of there. And I was hoping he'd follow my example. I got back to the rope and started my way down. David wasn't impressed; he just happily scampered back up and started drilling and bolting. Luckily, no more rubble came down. And in the end he re-rigged the whole set-up and came down. Around which time the others reappeared. I was impatient: it was late! I grabbed a ladder and started on my way out. Luckily, all followed. 

The next trip we'll go back there. Let's see what we can do! With David's kicking-rock-down-a-slope talent we might even manage to establish a physical connection in one attempt...

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