Volume 38 Number 1 Article 8
Grotte du Goueil di Her
27 July 2000
Alan Richardson, Peter Harvey SWCC, Marion Dunne, Andy Hall, Roy Breakell, Angela Hare, Jane Chilton, Helen Sergeant, Jim Davis, Benjamin Davis, Samuel Davis.
Howling cold draught exits dry resurgence cave on a sunny day.
Jane Chilton equipped with two sticks, one good leg and one bad leg, made it almost to the first sump with Helen, Jim, Benjamin, and Sam! Her leg might be broken but her determination was not.
Marion and Pete did not fancy a soaking in the chest deep sump pool. They headed back to take photos of pot leg Chilton on the climbs. (NB: Pete caves better than most men a quarter of his age.)
The cave starts as a tall wide passage about 8ft high with boulders/sandy floor. A small climb is soon reached with a rope in situ. Passage continues as a large rift with shiny climbs up and down. Another exposed climb has a rope in situ. Sump one can be waded on a dry day (as by Alan, Angela, Roy and Andy). There is a dry bypass needing SRT gear (not explored this trip). Beyond the sump a dam diverts water down a crack to emerge below the main resurgence.
Wetsuit is recommended for this trip if you want to get to the end. Three pools have to be either swum or traversed. A lot of the streamway needs wading.
Andy, Angela, and Roy were in furry suits. Therefore the first deep pool (Quote Alan "It's up to Angela's armpits - retreat to the traverse") was traversed above. Full SRT kit needed, very slippy, gooey mud everywhere.
Next is twenty minutes of streamway. Some ankle deep but up to waist deep in places. The walls are covered with stal but sadly on everything is a layer of black/brown mud. In one section an inlet drips water causing a section of beautiful white stalls and curtains to be revealed.
The next deep pool is also traversed by a muddy rope or crossed in the water clinging to the sides (immersed to the neck). Immediately after this is another pool. Alan swam this whilst Angela traversed high. Unfortunately on the return neither was possible and they had to hang off cows tails half in the water - quite a sporting manoeuvre to reach the dry boulders.
Sadly the team was down to two. Jane had stayed at the first climb waiting for the intrepid Davis family, Marion and Pete had stayed dry at the sump, Roy Breakell retreated at the first traverse alone having taken an hour to sort his SRT gear. Andy turned back before the second traverse feeling too wet and cold. So Angela and Alan continued but Angela also was to want to retreat at the third pool. A prussik of about 30 feet led to a muddy ledge but no in-situ traverse line. A fall here would have meant slipping 30 feet into out-of-depth water wearing furry and SRT gear - not a good idea!
Two hours later and the team were seated in the hippie pub in Arbas. Psychedelia, Santana, and beers led to Geology waffle. A good day out!!