Aim: To explore the previously undived Kamikaze sump.
The carry to this sump is dreadful ! A horrid flat-out crawl leads to a 50 foot climb down to an inviting-looking sump. R.J.S. kitted up and dived on a base-fed line. The roomy sump pool was found to continue below surface as a large passage. After 20 feet a low slope down to the left was found to be the only way forward. Descending this to a depth of -10 feet, a low bedding plane led onwards but some considerable gardening will be needed to make any progress along this, even with a single 15 cubic foot tank. In zero visibility the diver had a few worrying moments in finding the correct way back to base. I would advise any future divers to use a line reel at this site.
Aim: To explore the previously undived sump beneath Earthworm Passage
The carry to the sump is considerable easier than that to Kamikaze but the sump does not look as promising, being situated in a narrow rift. R.J.S. kitted up and dived to the base of the rift at -6 feet where a two-foot high bedding led off to the right. This was followed for 30 feet to a sudden enlargement at a cross joint. Ascending this, a small airbell was reached with a possible way on to the right underwater. The most promising way seemed to be downward in the cross-joint, so the diver descended and entered a large tunnel leading on in the correct direction. The base fed line was tied off at -15 feet depth as the diver considered this to be the safe limit of a single 15 without lead weights !
Thanks go to Simon Farrow, Andy Waddington, Mike Shearme and John Bowers for helping with the extra equipment. R.J.S. kitted up with 45 + 15 and entered the sump with a four hundred foot line reel. The previous limit was quickly reached and the line tied on. Unfortunately, only 20 feet further on, the large tunnel ended in boulders with a squeeze to the left between two boulders providing the only way on. Beyond this, a heavily silted low bedding was found to continue down at a steep angle. The diver found his equipment to be too bulky to descend this and, after an awkward manoeuvre to turn round, the squeeze was reversed to enable a safe return. Although better than Kamikaze, this is not an easy site. On the return the "possible way to the right" at the small airbell was investigated. This closed down after only a few feet.
Aim: To explore the previously undived sump beneath Chert Crawl
J.T.G. kitted up and ducked through to a parallel rift from which the sump proper leads off. An easy 6m dive along the line of the rift led to 3m of passage and another sump. This quickly became too small, even though the diver was only using a single 420 l. tank.
Antler Inlet. This somewhat curious sump is situated at the top of a 1.5m climb ! J.T.G. dived on base fed line and moled his way forward in a tiny silt floored passage for 4.6m to a point at which the way on became too small to follow, due to a blockage of silt and cobbles.
Cow Close Passage. This passage, which is situated off Holes Junction, is an abandoned continuation of Easy Passage, which ends at a static sump after 91m of low muddy passage. R.J.S. dived and was through after only 1.5m to a large airbell with a continuation above water level up a stal. slope. This was explored and was found to lead, after 9m, to a solid choke cemented by stal.
Aim: to check for possible routes underwater in the static sump dived on the 29th September.
In good visibility it was found that the only way out of the sump was to the airbell mentioned above. The sump is an easy free dive and can be done without a guide line. During the period October 1979 to February 1980, the stal-cemented choke was blasted away by A.Nichols to yield 183m of new passage leading via a second free-dive of 1m to a stal choke which had not been forced at the time of writing. These extensions will be described in detail in Cambridge Underground 1980.
Aim: To continue exploration of Styx sump 2, started by M.J.Farr on 13.10.74 (NL 34:15)
M.J.Farr's lines were found to be still in position and the diver followed the line in sump 2 to a depth of -10.7m some 46m from base, at which point the line was found to be tied off to a boulder. Attaching his own line reel, the diver continued on in visibility of less than 60cm for a further 24m along a bearing of 90 mag. The passage felt to be quite roomy, the height being about 1.2m and the width some 3 to 4m. The way on then became lost at a depth of -14m in a small chamber on a cross-joint, where the line was tied off to a flake. A search of the roof yielded no possible ascent and at floor level the continuation could not be found. Returning along the line in by now absolute zero visibility, the way on was again elusive, but the diver gained the impression that the way on could be on the right, going in, about 6m from the end of the line. Worth another try in better conditions.
A choke half way along Earthworm Passage had been dug out a couple of weeks previously by R.J.S., J.T.G. and some friends to reveal about 90m of passage with two sumps. Honour-bound to dive these, R.J.S. was fed into each in turn. Both quickly became far too small; diving gear was abandoned and an alternative way on was located. A further 150m of passage has subsequently been explored, all very complex stuff !
With the recent cold dry spell, an attempt was made on the Upstream Styx Sump (NL 57:17) in the hope of reasonable visibility. On arriving at the first sump, the visibility was a disappointing 45 cm and it did not improve in the second sump, even with four lights. The diver stopped just before the end of R.J.S.'s line with harness problems. He saw no other way on in the roof or to each side, but confirmed the heading of 83 true trending towards the Well Pitch. It may be worth another try, but only in better conditions. Many thanks to J.N.C., Tiger and Gwyn for the carry.
Aim: To place a stemple belay in the narrow 2nd Well Pitch rift sump.
A natural belay directly over the widest point of the rift was used and the diver descended in 1m visibility till he met the window at around -3.5m. The floor was found at -6m and the line was belayed before returning easily through the rift. On redescending the rift, the diver tried to go upstream (east) but met a squeeze over boulders which probably needs gardening. The downstream route was then followed due west in a large (2-3m by 1-2m high) sandy floored passage, till the line ran out at 30m at -11m, on a sandy slope shelving down to the south.
R.M.T. adds the following: I think that the second well pitch in Magnetometer is upstream of the Styx sump. It is invariably murky with static flood water like the Styx and is heading straight for the upstream Styx. What of the upstream direction ? It is heading due east and could go anywhere, perhaps bypassing upstream Hammer. I'm going back as soon as I can to find out.