02 February 2018

Dig vertically up

We hadn't been digging on Thursday. Then Miles came up with an idea: dig on Sunday! That sounded good. We knew our main task would be to deal with the rocks above our heads. Most seemed firmly wedged into position, but one was cracking under the weight. That one we were wary of! And we had several plans of attack. Maybe stick a crowbar under it and pull it from a distance. Maybe we could use Miles' pneumatic jack, that we hadn't used yet. Maybe think of a safe way to use explosives!

On the way up I came across a Go Below group coming down. Jason, who lead it, said one of the punters had lost a GoPro on a zipline! The chamber below was not accessible from anywhere else, so two other leaders had to go and abseil down to retrieve it. They could see it, so they knew it was worth it. But when I was telling Miles in the Manager's Office about my house adventures there was a knock on the door; the GoPro hunters! What they thought was the GoPro had turned out to be a glove. They never found the actual camera! That must have been a bummer. But try to find something of that size in a big chamber full of pointy slate.

When we got in I scampered up first, with some polyprop rope. I also brought up a new blast wire; this was armoured, and would last. If we couldn't sort out the rocks we could thread that down via a sensible route! But first things first. While Miles was doing something lower down I had a look at the feasibility of using the pneumatic jack. I figured it could work! But we didn't have the pump on us, so I started trying the crowbar-on-a-string trick. It didn't really work! I brought some small stuff down, bit not the cracked rock.

Then Miles came up. He had another look at the rock for reasons of jacking and crowbarring. My efforts had provided better spaces for the crowbar to go in, so he jammed it in. He asked me to keep the rope at tension while he crawled down, out of harm's way. And then all hell broke loose. The whole shebang came down before he had fully got out of the way! And nothing touched him, but well, it was close. Two seonds earlier and it would have! But luckily, almost being hit by a rock doesn't do damage. But it's a reminder we can't underestimate the mountain!

The fall left things a bit precarious and from time to time, more came down. One big slab had come down like a barn door; behind that we were safe. It was in the way too, though! But things looked a lot safer, and most what came down after the big fall was small fry. Miles fished some slabs from behind the big one and handed them to me. I put them somewhere convenient.

Miles also wanted to test some new gunpowder so he started his way down. I slithered over the barn door, assessed the situation, and brought down all small bits I could reach. The next rock up now was a bg slab; we had earlier mistaken it for the ceiling. It looked fairly safe, but to go past it we would have to blast a bit off. That sounded scary! I figured we might need to put some scaff in place to support it. I think we still have some!

On the way down I removed all rocks that had ended up in the passage and came to see how Miles was getting on. We had to take a usual waiting-for-resin-to dry break and after that, we concluded the new stuff works! Good! But it was time to get out. The next day would be a working day!

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