RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 38 Number 1 Article 4
April 2001

Trou du Vent

24 July 2000

Milton, Roger, Frank, Alan.

The largish entrance closes to an over or under constriction, which is easily passed going under. The passage lowers to an almost flat out crawl and ends over the first drop (1m). The spit in the left wall of the crawl is the backup to the Y-hang over the drop. At the bottom of the chamber a further crawl leads to the next pitch. A spit in the right hand wall is the backup to a Y-hang in the left hand wall over the pitch. A big rock jammed at the head of the pitch makes life difficult. At the bottom of this drop there is a squeeze to the right. The left is an easy descent which goes nowhere.

Through the squeeze (still roped) gains another spit. This is the start of a further drop. The 20m rope ran out between this and another spit further down. Tighter rigging would avoid this. Eventually the first 40m rope was tied to the tail end of the 20m rope. From here a Y-hang was gained in the roof of a large rift. Descending from here in a U-shaped groove in the wall of the rift gains another rebelay. Descending again the rope ran out next to a ledge of jammed stones in the rift. This was about 5m from the floor. I had to swing on to this ledge, closely followed by Roger and Milton. Frank rerigged the rope tighter and did away with the Y-hang. Things would have been a lot more comfortable using a 45m rope.

To the right the rift closes down. To the left is a passage which develops into an easy traverse over blackness below. Instead of descending early we followed spits further along the traverse. Eventually a choke stone in the roof was used as a backup to a spit which was found just after a right hand bend. A few metres after this at knee level was the start of a narrow awkward bit, which I almost got jammed in. Roger guided me out, feet first. He investigated it later but to no avail.

From before the tight bit a descent was rigged down into a rift chamber which had a big echo. We thought we had cracked it. None of us had heard the likes of this before. At the foot of this pitch we left the second 40m rope bag with very little rope left in it.

A passage leaves the foot of the chamber, which leads to a small climbable drop into an alcove above another echoing pitch. At this point I was all rigged out and Frank ended up with the bag. You would think I had planned this, because Frank was faced with a lack of spits and rope rub. After a while he managed to rig a wide Y-hang which only just kept the rope off the rock. A rebelay completed the descent. When I arrived at the bottom Frank had climbed up a very slippy slope to look for a way on. It closed down and we had a couple of precarious moments getting back to the floor. We all waited while Frank investigated our last chance but it failed to go as it got too tight.

Out of rope and ideas we decided to de-rig the cave and look for other possibilities on the way out. We had used enough rope to get us in to the main system and done more than enough work. It's a pity caving is like that sometimes.

Alan Kerr

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