Updated 15th June, 4th, 10th September, 14th, 15th, 17th, 21st, 28th
October, 8th, 15th, 30th November, 8th December 2008; 5th, 18th January, 8th March, 8th, 9th, 14th, 30th May, 1st June, 5-7, 9th, 11th November, 7th December
2009; 26th June, 15th July; 13th September, 22nd October; 18th November 2010; 6th January, 16th, 19th, 24th May, 15th October 2011; 5th May, 27th September 2012; 26th, 27th April, 21st May, 19th September, 4th October 2013; 20th, 23rd - 25th September, 4th, 19th, 31st December 2014; 8th, 9th, 11th January, 9th, 23rd February, 17th March, 22nd, 23rd May, 5th July (Simon Cornhill), 1st, 4th, 17th October, 3rd November, 7th December 2015; 5th May, 24th October 2016, 10th January, 22nd May, 23rd, 28th June, 1st October 2017; 16th February, 9th May, 30th June, 24th September 2018
DRAFT WRITE-UP - SUMMER 09; EASTER 2010 DESCRIPTIONS NOT COMPLETED; SUMMER 2010; SUMMER 2011 some DESCRIPTIONS NOT COMPLETED
The steel mesh covering the BigMat Calf Hole entrance must be over the hole at all times. Goats knock stones from the wall and there has been at least one instance where a hefty rock was only prevented from falling down onto a caver below when it was stopped, mid-bounce, by a well placed foot.
This site is the original entrance into, what now (late 2015), can be called the Sistema de Torca la Vaca, the Torca la Vaca System.
The prefered, back door or top entrance for trips south of the duck/sump is BigMat Calf Hole (site 3916) after it was connected above the Wasdale Screes in mid-August 2014. A video of the route in from BigMat Calf Hole can be found on the site 3916 description page. The first trough-trip appears to have been made by a couple of cavers from the EspeleoClub La Grieta in March 2016. A well-planned and executed trip in 5 hours!
In the summer 2015, three other entrances into the system were connected:
- a (very) tight pitch from site 4117 Doldy's Cave (including The Langdales entrance, site 3034) drops into Ed's Birthday Passage and
- the Cueva Cuba Libre entrance (site 4182). This connects to the end of Deep Rifts Passage so meets traverses and continues into a long crawl before Ed's Birthday Passage is reached. Wild Mare Cave (site 767) is the 6th entrance, where the connection through at the back of the cave is for divers only.
|2889_08_01||Entrance & upstream||Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle, Simon Latimer, Andy Pringle||27/03/2008|
|2889_08_02||downstream||Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle, Simon Latimer, Andy Pringle||27/03/2008|
|2889_08_03||177m Joint to "T junct"||Alasdair Neill, Dave Bell, Santi Urrutia, Peter Eagan||28/03/2008|
|2889_08_04||N at entrance||Dave Bell, Santi Urrutia, Peter Eagan||28/03/2008|
|2889_08_05||S high level||Dave Bell, Santi Urrutia, Alasdair Neill||28/03/2008|
|2889_08_06||W high dead end||Peter Eagan, Santi Urrutia, Alasdair Neill||28/03/2008|
|2889_08_07||NW sandstone choke||Peter Eagan, Santi Urrutia, Alasdair Neill||28/03/2008|
|2889_08_08||Precarious Passage||Peter Eagan, Santi Urrutia, Alasdair Neill||28/03/2008|
|2889_08_09||downstream inlet||Julian Todd, Becka Lawson||29/03/2008|
|2889_08_10||upstream inlet||Julian Todd, Becka Lawson||29/03/2008|
|2889_08_11||down p to middle level||Carmen Smith, Peter Smith, Patrick Warren||30/03/2008|
|2889_08_12||alternative route to Red Pike||Patrick Warren, Becka Lawson, Julian Todd||30/03/2008|
|2889_08_13||Lloyds passage||Peter Eagan, Dave Bell, Alasdair Neill||31/03/2008|
|2889_08_14||177m joint choke extension||Peter Eagan, Dave Bell, Alasdair Neill||31/03/2008|
|2889_08_15||small alternate||Peter Eagan, Dave Bell, Alasdair Neill||31/03/2008|
|2889_08_16||extension to 08_03||Peter Eagan, Dave Bell, Alasdair Neill||31/03/2008|
|2889_08_16a||pitch to base level (some resurvey)||Peter Eagan, Alasdair Neill||10/08/2008|
|2889_08_17||to NW sandstone choke||Peter Eagan, Dave Bell, Alasdair Neill||31/03/2008|
|2889_08_18||Precarious Passage extension||Peter Eagan, Dave Bell, Alasdair Neill||31/03/2008|
|2889_08_19||Buttermere||Dan Hibbert, Johnny Latimer, Bob Toogood||22/07/2008|
|2889_08_20||Dingle Pringle Pretty Pushing Passage||James Carlisle, Johnny Latimer, Andy Pringle||23/07/2008|
|2889_08_21||"50m rift" - replaced by batch 08_37||James Carlisle, Johnny Latimer, Andy Pringle||23/07/2008|
|2889_08_22||Whitworth||Johnny Latimer, Andy Latimer||25/07/2008|
|2889_08_22a||Whitworth (HL)||Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle||30/07/2008|
|2889_08_23||Lake Bassenthwaite to CU@CC||Dan Hibbert, Bill Sherrington, Andy Latimer, James Carlisle||26/07/2008|
|2889_08_24||"Team B" low level from CU@CC||Dave Gledhill, Bill Sherrington, Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle||27/07/2008|
|2889_08_25||"Team A" upper level||Simon Latimer, Andrew Latimer, Dan Hibberts, Bob Toogood||27/07/2008|
|2889_08_26||Tuna Can Chamber and beyond||Simon Latimer, Andrew Latimer, Dan Hibberts, Bob Toogood||27/07/2008|
|2889_08_27||Southeast passage @ 1st terminal choke||Dan Hibberts, Bob Toogood, Mike Topsom||29/07/2008|
|2889_08_28||Sumped Outlet||Paul Fretwell, Paul Dold||30/07/2008|
|2889_08_29||Pablo's Peppers Passage||Paul Fretwell, Paul Dold||30/07/2008|
|2889_08_30||High Level to Middle level pitch off 7 way junction||Paul Fretwell, Paul Dold, Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle||30/07/2008|
|2889_08_31||Gledhill's Go'er||Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle||31/07/2008|
|2889_08_32||Don't be an Idiot||Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle||31/07/2008|
|2889_08_33||Santi Called it Crap||Pete Eagan, Santi Urrutia||02/08/2008|
|2889_08_34||low series to Squality Street||Paul Dold, Steve Martin, Pete Smith||02/08/2008|
|2889_08_35||Mancunian Candidate||Mandy Fu, Michael Topsom, Will Stewart||03/08/2008|
|2889_08_36||Slot joined to Precarious||Pete Eagan, Santi Urrutia||03/08/2008|
|2889_08_37||"50m rift" - replaces batch 08_21||Alasdair Neill, Torben Redder||03/08/2008|
|2889_08_38||"50m rift" - continued and joined to 08_12 S of p12||Santi Urrutia, Torben Redder||04/08/2008|
|2889_08_39||shaft in NW sector||Ali Neill, Pete Eagan, Torben Redder||10/08/2008|
|2889_08_40||alt route to p12 on high level||Ali Neill, Pete Eagan||12/08/2008|
|2889_08_41||route up on R of Lake Bassenthwaite||Ali Neill, Pete Eagan||12/08/2008|
|2889_08_42||Whitworth Challenge||Mandy Fu Mike Topsom||17/08/2008|
|2889_08_43||Leg-over Passage||Ali Neill Peter Eagan||17/08/2008|
|2889_08_44||Resurvey of pitch down to L. Bassenthwaite||Ali Neill Peter Eagan Mark Smith Dave Foxton||17/08/2008|
|2889_08_45||Spare Rib Passage||Mark Smith Dave Foxton||18/08/2008|
|2889_08_46||Lake Bassenthwaite tied into junction||Mark Smith, Dave Foxton, Mark Topsom||18/08/2008|
|2889_08_47||Stream from Manc Candidate to Spare Rib||Mark Smith, Dave Foxton||21/08/2008|
|2889_08_48||White Havens||Dave Gledhill, Martin Barnicott||31/08/2008|
|2889_09_01||Scafell Aven; N to choke; S to drop and contin.||Dan?? ++||08/04/2009|
|2889_09_02||from drop: N and S (Walking on Eggshells)||Over 2 days. Day 1: Simon Latimer, Rodders, Jez Wong
Day 2: Dan Hibberts Mandy Fu James Pemberton
|2889_09_03||finish off N passage to choke?||Johnny Latimer Tom Clayton James Wood (Rodders)||10/04/2009|
|2889_09_04||Eastern series off 09_02||Johnny Latimer Tom Clayton James Wood (Rodders)||10/04/2009|
|2889_09_05||Leg up in terminal boulder choke||Phil Papard Mark Smith (Killer)||11/04/2009|
|2889_09_06||E parallel passage to 09_02 & 09_07||Johnny Latimer Jude Onions Lloyd Cawthorne||12/04/2009|
|2889_09_07||continues 09_02; end Easter 2009||Dan Hibberts Bob Toogood James Wood (Rodders)||13/04/2009|
|2889_09_08||Hi-level scale, S of Bassenthwaite||Johnny Latimer, Jude Onions (DistoX)||04/08/2009|
|2889_09_09|| Loop to batch 09_14
||Johnny Latimer, Jude Onions||06/08/2009|
S ext W and mid (cow11 & 12) (PART RPLCD by 14_12)
|James Wood (DistoX)||06/08/2009|
|2889_09_11|| End of middle passage (cow21) (REPLACED by 14_12)
||Martin Barnicott (DistoX)||06/08/2009|
|2889_09_12|| End of W passage (0608091)
||Martin Barnicott Andrew Latimer (DistoX)||06/08/2009|
|2889_09_13|| Sandstone Colandar
||Johnny Latimer, Jude Onions||08/08/2009|
|2889_09_14|| SE extension off 09_09 (Ed's Birthday)
||Johnny Latimer, Jude Onions||08/08/2009|
|2889_09_15|| S and E low level (Vaca61, 62, 63 and 66)
||Martin Barnicott, Andrew Latimer (DistoX)||08/08/2009|
|2889_09_16|| Cl up at S end (Vaca 31)
||? (DistoX) Andrew Latimer||08/08/2009|
|2889_09_17|| Continues east extension low level
||(Disto X) Martin Barnicott||08/08/2009|
|2889_09_18|| Continues east extension low level (Vacabarny1)
||Martin Barnicott (DistoX)||08/08/2009|
|2889_09_19|| ends east extension (2889_09_191)
||James Wood (DistoX)||13/08/2009|
|2889_09_20|| Ends S extension (Vaca 51)
||Martin Barnicott (DistoX)||13/08/2009|
|2889_10_01||Frizington Extensions||Bill Sherrington, Tom Clayton, Dave Gledhill||1/4/2010|
|2889_10_02||Big Passage extensions||Rob Grimes, Dan Hibberts, Bob Toogood||1/4/2010|
|2889_10_03||La Bella Durmiata off east of Lechuguilla Passage||Diane Arthurs Johnny Latimer||10/8/2010|
|2889_10_04||(tie-in resurvey)||Diane Arthurs Johnny Latimer||10/8/2010|
|2889_10_05||passage under Room 10: The Learning Support Dept.||Diane Arthurs Johnny Latimer||10/8/2010|
|2889_10_06||Deep Rifts Passage (part 1)||Jude Onions Johnny Latimer Sue Ryall Paul Dold||15/8/2010|
|2889_10_07||NNW from Guano Chamber (links back to known passage)||Johnny Latimer Pete Smith||17/8/2010|
|2889_10_08||Deep Rifts Passage (part 2)||Pete Smith Paul Dold||17/8/2010|
|2889_11_01||Push @ south end||Jess Eades Dan Hibbert Rob Grimes Bob Toogood||19/4/2011|
|2889_11_02||Push Suit Wrecker Inlet||James Wood Jon Pemberton||19/4/2011|
|2889_11_03||High Street Oxbow||James Wood Jon Pemberton||23/4/2011|
|2889_11_04||Dive @ Buttermere into chamber||Jim Lister Colin Hayward||18/5/2011|
|2889_11_05||Extension from Ed's BP under Deep Rifts Passage||Johnny & Jude Latimer||13/8/2011|
|2889_12_01||Connection to Wild Mare (diving)||Colin Hayward & Jim Lister||27/4/2012|
|2889_12_02||Upstream Whitworth||Colin Hayward & Jim Lister||8/7/2012|
|2889_13_01||Wrong Trousers push||Diane Arthurs, Simon Cornhill, James Carlisle||7/4/2013|
|2889_13_02||Upstream Whitworth and Elephant Sump area||Colin Hayward & Jim Lister||31/7/2013|
|2889_13_03||Survey check: Bassenthwaite duck - Elephant Sump||Johnny Latimer & Paul Dold||5/8/2013|
|2889_13_04||End of Wasdale Screes - up in roof||Johnny Latimer & Jude Latimer, Paul Dold||6/8/2013|
|2889_13_05||End of Deep Rifts Passage||Tom Howard, Ed Harrison & Paul Dold||6/8/2013|
|2889_13_06||From 09_07.49 S of Room 10||Johnny Latimer & Jude Latimer, Paul Dold||6/8/2013|
|2889_13_07||Passage above "Bathtime"||Johnny Latimer & Paul Dold||6/8/2013|
|2889_13_08||starts stn 8A on boulder just to E of Jack's Rake||Johnny Latimer Chris Hibberts Ed Harrison||7/8/2013|
|2889_13_09||Links S end of Frizzington Exts to start of Ed's BP||Johnny Latimer Chris Hibberts Ed Harrison||7/8/2013|
|2889_13_10||Under entrance shaft||James Carlisle Tony Rooke||9/8/2013|
|2889_13_11||Wrong Trousers extension||James Carlisle Djuke Veldhuis||9/8/2013|
|2889_14_01||Hardknott Pass (above Wasdale Screes) up to BMCH entrance||Simon Cornhill Diane Arthurs (over a number of days)||19/8/2014|
|2889_14_02||Frizzington Series part resurvey and extensions||Simon Cornhill Diane Arthurs (over a number of days)||27/8/2014|
|2889_14_03||Fanny Bramble Passage||John Palmer Dan Hibberts Bob Toogood||12/11/2014|
|2889_14_04||Should Gone to SpecSavers||John Palmer Dan Hibberts Bob Toogood||12/11/2014|
|2889_14_05||Roa Island||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||24/12/2014|
|2889_14_06||Let it Snow (near Help Me Lloyd)||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||26/12/2014|
|2889_14_07||Maethop Passage||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||29/12/2014|
|2889_14_08||Grange-over-Sands||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||29/12/2014|
|2889_14_09||Roose Chamber||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||30/12/2014|
|2889_14_10||Loop||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||30/12/2014|
|2889_14_11||Gillinggate & Capt French Lane||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||31/12/2014|
REPLACEMENT for 9_11 and PART REPLACEMENT for 9_10 and
|Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||1/1/2015|
|2889_15_01||End of Deep Rifts Passage (no passage detail)||Johnny Latimer & Tom Howard||1/4/2015|
|2889_15_02||Should Gone to Survey School (side passages)||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs & James Carlisle||1/4/2015|
|2889_15_03||End of Deep Rifts Passage (15-01 continued)||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||3/4/2015|
|2889_15_04||Doldy's Draughting Rift||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||15/4/2015|
|2889_15_05||West of Pont Aven||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||14/4/2015|
|2889_15_06||Swarthmoor loop||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||14/4/2015|
|2889_15_07||End of Deep Rifts||Pete O'Neill, Dave Dillon & Tom Howard||6/8/2015|
|2889_15_08||Out to Cuba Libre entrance (site 4182)||Pete O'Neill, Dave Dillon & Tom Howard||6/8/2015|
|continue batch 15_07||Rauol Charman, Dave Dillon & Tom Howard||6/8/2015|
|2889_15_10||Doldy's Draughting Rift extension||Pete O'Neill, Pete Smith & Dave Dillon||13/8/2015|
|Connection pitch from 4117 surveyed (4117-2015a-01)||Alasdair Neill & Peter Eagan||14/10/2015|
|2889_15_11||Suit Wrecker Inlet: inlet to south||Bob Toogood, Dave Gledhill, James Wood, Jon Pemberton||11/11/2015|
|2889_15_12||Suit Wrecker Inlet: push end: "Friday the 13th"||Bob Toogood, Dave Gledhill, James Wood, Jon Pemberton||13/11/2015|
|2889_16||End of Doldy's Draughting Rift (continues)||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs (not surveyed)||16/3/2016|
|2889_16_01||Fred Whitton Series (most)||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||March 2016|
|2889_16_02||Bolt climb NE of Scafell Aven||James Carlisle & Anthony Day||20/3/2016|
|2889_16_03||Upstream from Can You Hear the Buzzin'?||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||24/3/2016|
|2889_16_04||Code Brown||Tom Howard Alex Ritchie Johnny Latimer||31/3/2016|
|2889_16_05||Passage west of Buzzing Gets Closer||Tom Howard Alex Ritchie Johnny Latimer||31/3/2016|
|2889_16_06||Pitch near Cuba Libre entrance||Tom Howard Alex Ritchie||28/3/2016|
|2889_16_07||Fred Whitton loop||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||24/7/2016|
|2889_16_08||Rynose Pass side passage||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||24/7/2016|
|2889_16_09||Link to Pablo's Peppers Passage||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||24/7/2016|
|2889_16_10||S side of Scafell Aven to F@BG||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||24/7/2016|
|2889_16_11||Whitehavens area down to Tuna Can Corner||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs & James Carlisle||27/7/2016|
|2889_16_11||Whitehavens area down to Tuna Can Corner continued||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||28/7/2016|
|2889_16_12||Mancunian Candidate downstream||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs & James Carlisle||30/7/2016|
|2889_16_13||Shoulder of Mutton area||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs & James Carlisle||30/7/2016|
|2889_16_13||Shoulder of Mutton area continued||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||1/8/2016|
|2889_16_12||Downstream Bathtime / Manc Candidate continued||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||1/8/2016|
|2889_16_13||Shoulder of Mutton area Rib Tickler area||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||4/8/2016|
|2889_16_14||Shoulder of Mutton area||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||4/8/2016|
|2889_16_15||Doldy's Draughting Rift||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||6/8/2016|
|2889_16_16||Frizzington Extensions (Snow Dome)||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||6/8/2016|
|2889_16_17||Resurvey with corrections & additions: Scafell to Fred W||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||31/12/2016|
|2889_17_01||Mard Arse to Shoulder of Mutton||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||28/7/2017|
|2889_17_02||far end of Frizzington||Simon Cornhill & Diane Arthurs||16/8/2017|
|2889_18_01||St Bee's Knees||Diane Arthurs & Darren MacKenzie||17/4/2018|
|2889_18_02||Off stn 13_07.8||Simon Cornhill, Diane Arthurs, Darren MacKenzie &
Entrance to "Downstairs" - the lower stream level and Squality Street
The "downstairs" is reached down a rubbish-strewn hole on the right at the back of the entrance shaft. A vertical drop of 9m, rigged from unsatisfactory naturals, reaches a lower, rubbish-floored chamber from where a second drop of 6m (requiring a handline?) descends. At the bottom of the rift there is a drippy aven at one end but a small body sized tube corkscrews down onto a mud bank in a large chamber. At the base of this chamber is a small streamway reached by a scramble down a greasy mud slope. This has been surveyed both left, upstream (survey batches 2889_08_01 and 2889_08_10) and right, downstream (survey batches 2889_08_02 and 2889_08_09).
Also at Easter 2013, another pitch was followed down 4m on the second pitch although the stooping height passage seen was not be entered due to the unstable nature of boulders. This was entered and surveyed as batch 2889_13_10 for 22m in August 2013. The route reaches a boulder slope down to a p5 and a slope down to a choke.
To follow upstream, the second mud bank is climbed and then a drop follows into the crawling-sized, muddy and damp passage at stream level (The Wrong Trousers). This was originally explored to the east for approximately 150m, still going but very muddy and squalid (batch 2889_08_01).
At Easter 2013 the flat out crawl was extremely wet, being forced through a duck in fast flowing water. In the summer this was totally dry! The crawl emerges into a tall rift with black voids overhead, the main way on is a passage to the left. Straight on a climb up gains a small chamber (Stn:2889_13_01.1.10). Turning left the passage continues past a squeeze on the right into an enlargement, here the water emerges out of an impenetrable inlet. Ahead a climb gains a steep rift chamber (Stn:2889_13_01.2.8). At the southern and highest end a passage high up can be seen at the top of a 70 degree muds slope, this was accessed but unfortunately ends in a blind alcove. At this level in the opposite direction, a bolt traverse was halted due to reaching a sandstone band.
To the southeast a passage ends in a low chamber with a climb up a narrow slot, which emerges in the chamber at Stn:2889_13_01.1.10. A climb over a mudbank enters an inlet which was forced for some distance until digging is needed.
Heading north from the tall rift chamber, a climb up and down then a squeeze to the left passes a cross rift where a T-junction is met (Stn:2889_13_01.1.10). To the right a 1.5m climb (batch 2889_13_11) continues the mud theme, with "slippery climbs up small rifts and down boulder choked passages". The northern limit is a mud-filled bedding that continues. Just back from here there is a 6m climb up into a higher passage that has not been done.
To the left a slope down reaches a small confluence: to the right a rift meets a drippy choked aven where the rift continues tight, sharp and unpushed.
The whole of the Wrong Trousers is a rather squalid affair! (Wrong Trousers Easter 2013 description by Simon Cornhill)
Back in the main chamber, a climb up a mud slope leads to a southern continuation of the main chamber and some stal but it soon closes down leaving only a low draughting dig.
Downstream is more complex than the survey of Squality Street might suggest with several climbs, chambers and different levels as well as a confusing low section. Squality Street is accessed via a drop down through a slot at the western side of the main chamber on the same tier as the passage leading to the entrance pitch. The route through is to follow the water in confusing crawls downstream until it runs under a very low boulder / bedding. At this point look up at roof to see very deep anastomoses. Avoid getting wet by climbing out of the water up boulders. This leads to another large chamber that is intersected by a high cross-passage, choked at both ends. Up in the roof here leads to a traverse over loose boulders (care!) to an unclimbed aven, perhaps 50m or more in height). A dug out hole to the right allows a drop through, passing under boulders (care!) to regain the water which then develops into a 1.5m wide muddy streamway, approximately 7m high with large mud banks becoming common as the sump approaches. It is worth another look at the sump in dry weather (batch 2889_08_02.) About 10m before the sump, an obvious inlet enters on the right. This starts as walking passage but soon reduces to a crawl and was left (batch 2889_08_09) at a point requiring a flat-out crawl in water.
Downstream Squality Street may well be the inlet seen downstream of the sump from Eely Mud Eye Chamber.
Entrance to the north
The right hand branch from the entrance (batch 08_04) is easy going rift passage with a few corners and oxbows until a draughting stal blockage is met. There are ways through at floor and high level. The present end is well decorated and the floor is covered in old straws calcited onto the floor. The passage continues beyond a stal blockage.
Entrance to Red Pike Junction - the main route in
The route (batch 08_03) starts as a short crawl under the north wall of the entrance shaft (beware of old bones and broken glass) entering a short climb down to an immediate junction. To the right and north lies batch 08_04. Immediately to the left a climb up reaches a decorated bedding at roof level with a narrow trench in the floor. The crawl emerges at a right angle bend with another trench. (This has been descended and linked to Precarious Passage via a low tight squeeze, batch 08_36. This lower route passes under the start of the 180m Rift where it is possible to climb up). A crawl along the left wall reaches a climb down to the left - the start of the Garage Party, 180m Rift. The low passage to the right appears to choke.
The Garage Party 180m Rift is an almost straight line passage that heads off at a bearing of 235 degrees. The whole of this passage is easy walking or traversing, with a number of side passages along its length.
After 33m, a 3m high passage comes in from the north with sandstone in the wall of the passage. This leads to Precarious Passage and a large area of sandstone collapse. Batches 08_08 and 08_18 are the surveys of this area. Precarious Passage starts as easy walking past unstable formations until a junction is met. Right chokes quickly but left leads to a large area of unstable blocks. A climb down at the entrance can be bypassed by scrambling along the left wall but this is loose. The end of this passage has low crawls which could be dug but has no draught. A passage on the right leads to a large low chamber littered with fallen blocks of sandstone (care, very unstable). Straight on at the junction a short climb up enters a series of connecting rifts, staying high ahead leads to the large low chamber littered with fallen blocks, or left back to Precarious Passage. A climb down through boulders to the right leads to solid rift passage and a 6m pitch with low crawls and no way on. Across the pitch a decorated crawl leads back to the entrance series past a very tight squeeze. Fifty metres along this crawl a short, tight climb up enters a 4m dia decorated chamber with no way on. There are a number of crawls in this area under blocks but all seem to choke or are dangerously loose.
The main route continues as walking or clambering past the Anorexic Pornstar, a 3m high column. The next passage, at Batman Junction, goes off on the south side as Photographers' Passage. This is very well decorated, forcing cavers to twist and crawl around the formations. It eventually emerges part way up the rift in the p12 area. Photographers' Passage has been taped off as the passages at the end can be reached by other routes.
The 180m Rift continues up through a slot to easy traversing above a narrow trench.
Two passages set off at roof level on the north side. The first is choked after 5m with a wall of stal and straws. The next, Lloyd's Passage, is initially a crawl decorated with short straws. This soon encounters a narrow rift, up to 20m deep (down to Paradise Lost?), and currently ends, full of stal, after 56m.
On the south side, 3 narrow rifts eventually unite. The first links round to the second and continues to a lined, exposed traverse. The 12m, ladder-and-line pitch can now be rigged at the start of the traverse, rather than at the far end. (At the far end of the traverse, the sandy-floored passage meets up with the route from Penguin Passage.) The third passage from the Garage Party is at the base of a climb down from a roof traverse level, just after a fine group of stal on a false floor. This leads to an enlarged joint going off to the south - Penguin Passage, and goes past a spot where the narrow passage is divided in two by a 1.8m tall, repaired column which must be passed (if necessary) with great care and preferably crawling at floor level. (Log book account of repair, January 2009). Other isolated formations are passed as the passage follows the joints until a step down into a small chamber and a short crawl to the right. The route back round to the the traverse lies up a lower section to the left with a sandy floor and a left turn into the traverse joint.
This latter passage has a high level route, Leg Over Passage (batch 08_43), which heads back towards Red Pike. Leg Over Passage is entered via a 3m climb up opposite the end of Penguin Passage. To the east a 4m climb down rejoins the passage. To the right (west), awkward crawling with one leg in a trench, eventually looks down into the main passage on its way to Red Pike Junction. Part way along the crawl a 3m climb down enters the main passage.
All routes emerge at a junction, Red Pike, well decorated with roof straws and 2 - 3m tall stalagmites. To the south, just before reaching Red Pike, a 30m deep pitch has, at the base, a rift going through to a parallel shaft coming from above. There is no way on but, halfway down the pitch, a landing on boulders has a second drop to the west which is undescended. [Note F: (PS1) from the survey]. To the north, a short passage meets a choked 36m pitch which drops to "base level" (batch 08_16 and 08_16a). A route from Red Pike continues to the northeast (batch 08_15 ways2) to step over a p8 into Gour Passage to link near the base of the p12.
Just before the 180m Rift closes down in a mud choke, a passage (batch 08_14) sets off on the left at Bollard Junction over guano turning to the west and ending at an undescended p20 and a visual connection through stal to a big passage, presumably the one heading north from Red Pike.
Top level - north of Red Pike
North from Red Pike walking in a 4m high and wide passage passes between columns and leads into an area of breakdown, with the floor and boulders rather suspect in places with deep pits, some undescended. Some of the stalagmites are also loose, having grown on sand and or decaying sandstone blocks. Where the passage swings to the left, a route up on the east side leads via a handline to a 31m straight hang pitch which drops into Crap Passage, batch 08_33. The landing is in muddy passage, but apparently not at "base level". Upstream is easy walking to a short crawl and sump, while downstream continues to a 15cm high, muddy, wet and draughting continuation.
There is a small passage going off near to the Crap Passage entry point which may be the same feature. [Note A on the survey: (PS4/PE4) Ramp up from chamber over a lip to a 6m drop on the left to a small chamber with a rock floor. This has a rift about 5m long and up to 1m wide with a straight drop, 32m deep, with a pool at the base. Bolts were placed for descent but remains undescended. On the right a crawl soon chokes. This describes the initial explorations for the nearby Crap Passage.]
The passage heading off to the north through a squeeze past stal is surveyed as batches 08_07 and 08_17. After 15m from the squeeze, a 27m deep pitch on the right has a possible flat floor but is unexplored (note B on the survey). The passage enlarges and swings round to the west. On the southern side, there is a deep rift under boulders that requires gardening (note D). At the western end, a traverse is negotiated by wedging across the top of a rift. After 15m a small chamber is reached with a continuation on the right which starts to get small after 10m (note E). The main route continues north (as a lined traverse??) to a choke with roots and a draught.
Back before the stal squeeze, the chamber to the west conceals "a deep rift under boulders which requires much gardening" (note C). The western end appear blocked with sandstone collapse and tree roots. The southern side contains a narrow, undescended 20-30m pitch and a 40m pitch to a choke. The long rift has been traversed for some distance at a high level and it is likely to connect with the "narrow sharp rift" south of the Red Pike Junction area. It may be worth while having team at both ends to communicate.
Top level - south of Red Pike and Buttermere
Heading south from Red Pike (batch 08_05), a 3m climb on the western wall enters about 15m of passage to a choke (said to be a long-term dig when investigated at Easter 2015) with a section of sharp, dry and narrow rift to the right. (batch 08_06). This could link to a rift investigated at the northern end. A 36m deep pit is immediately encounted on the left of the main passage. This drops straight down into Buttermere, batch 08_19. (See Eldon PC Newsletter, p14). The pitch drops into a high and narrow rift passage. From the bottom of the pitch a mud bank slopes down into deep water. At water level the passage is 2 metres wide narrowing above and below. The water is very deep. However, it is possible to traverse the upstream section (if you have long legs) without getting wet. This ends in a non draughting dig through sand under a low roof. Downstream from the pitch is a swimming section which ends in a sump which cuts under the right hand wall. There are a number of avens in this section (marked on the survey). The sumps were investigated by Jim Lister over Easter 2009. Downstream was impossible due to the current at the time and upstream had much less flow. (The logbook account can be found here.)
The downstream Buttermere sump was dived in May 2011 by Jim Lister and Colin Hayward. (Logbook account and blog)
A bolt has been placed on the west wall, a couple of metres before the arch leading to the downstream sump. A duck under a flake (2.5 m deep) leads to a canal continuation of the Buttermere passage. After 25 m the roof drops down to the water again. Ahead, a mud bank with a boulder blocks the passage (where an eel was seen) but a cross rift to the left (west) at this point enters a cross rift and surfaces in a pool in one corner of a chamber (Eely Mud Eye Chamber) with rifts leading off. (This second dive is also a short, 2.5 m deep duck.)
The chamber appears to be made up of a series of joined rifts. The floor is a mixture of large boulders, sandy flood deposit formed into soft banks and pools of water all at the same level. Several possible rift climbs have been identified. A sump under the northeast corner wall was briefly inspected without diving kit and thought to offer the best option for future progress. Another potential sump under two large perched boulders further east along the same wall (which may be the same sump?) was not looked at. [At the end of the 2011 dive, the centre line of the grade 1 survey is attached to the cave centre line as batch 2889_11_04 (amended 23/5/11) and there is a sketch and amended sketch of the downstream Buttermere sump end and the chamber to the next sump.]
Diving in April 2012, Jim Lister and Colin Hayward passed the sump at the northern end of Eely Mud Eye Chamber into AGM Bypass, a rifty, bouldery chamber with a number of routes. One of these, the first Vaca - Wild Mare connection, dropped the divers into the furthest rift west in Terminal Chamber in Cave of the Wild Mare. Further exploration saw the divers passing downstream through the northern "small sump in the floor" into Terminal Chamber. Another sump in Terminal Chamber was pushed (with 27m of line) into an enlarged bedding and rift where it was just possible to turn around in the blind end. A video of the dives on YouTube can be seen here. A diving blog has also been put online the text of which can be seen here.
Upstream Buttermere was also dived in April 2012 and connected to the stream in the Whitworth Series. Diving the upstream sump in the Whitworth Series can be equipped through the five sumps from the Wild Mare entrance rather than the somewhat awkward carry through Torca la Vaca. (The connection survey is batch 12_01.)
Diving upstream continued in the summer, 2012. Upper Whitworth Sump was passed to a muddy chamber (batch 12_02) and, further on, a large chamber just before the 51m-long Elephant Sump which emerged in Lake Bassenthwaite. The questions to answer at that time are outlined in the summer 2012 dives log. Diving by Jim and Colin was abandoned over Easter 2013 because of high water and poor visibility.
In the summer 2013, Colin and Jim finished their programme of dives by surveying Elephant Sump to the bolt on the wall of Lake Bassenthwaite which rebelays the dive/duck line (batch 2889_13_03). The route down and through the sump and up the other side was resurveyed as batch 2889_13_03 which revealed an error of just a few metres in the Wild Mare / Cow Pot surveys.
The high level route from Red Pike Junction continues with walking passage, 4 - 5m wide and high, well decorated in places. Roughly half way along, it is possible to hear water down a narrow, choked rift. A few metres further on is a bolt climb on the same wall to an alcove with a narrow rift that may drop down into the Whitworth Series below. (Logbook account, January 2009). Ninety metres south of Red Pike, a junction is met with passages heading off in three directions.
- To the west, the passage splits with both routes ending at sandstone chokes that were further investigated in February and April 2018. It is thought not worthwhile to continue digging here to try to cross over the lake to the south passages. The survey at this point is not very accurate (see sketch). A small stream enters here in wet weather and sinks a short distance back in the main passage.
- To the northeast, after a short climb up, the passage splits with the lower right hand route becoming full of formations and the left hand route passing over a small unexplored trench and past some nice formations to terminate at a low, mud dig. In wet weather water pours in from a crack in the sandstone roof and drops down the trench.
- To the southwest, a hands-and-knees passage encounters a 17m pitch which drops into the chamber southwest of the 7-Way Chamber, close to the route down to Lake Bassenthwaite.
Routes from the p12 off the 180m Rift
The pitch, in a north-south rift up to about 15m deep, is at the start of a traverse.
There are 4 routes from the bottom of the pitch:
1: Heading north in the rift leads through Slack Line Chamber to a traverse over an undescended, tight, 5m deep hole and then a number of climbs down into Paradise Lost, where the route becomes too tight (part batch 08_11). On the east side of the rift, in the floor of Slack Line Chamber, a route (batch 08_34) leads down into Squality Street via a 6m pitch. There are two routes from Slack Line Chamber into Paradise Regain'd. The first is a 20m crawl at floor level that emerges in the floor of Paradise Regain'd. The second is a climb to the northeast that enters a rift, passing a window and pitch into the crawl, and then dropping down as an easy climb into Paradise Regain'd. This area is well decorated with columns and pools.
2: Heading south from the pitch base enters a technical route in a rift that eventually emerges in 7-Way Chamber (batches 08_12, 08_37 and 08_38). This is described from the other direction in "Routes from 7-Way Chamber", below.
3: By using the installed handline at the base of the p12, Photographers' Passage can be climbed up into on the east wall. There should be no need to enter this profusely decorated passage.
4: On the west wall the same handline provides entry to the Pitch Bypass passage (batch 08_12), on the same level as Photographers' Passage. If followed to the end, this route through well decorated passage emerges up into Red Pike. However, part way along is an 8m pitch down into Gour Passage just south of Paradise Regain'd. This way is the "preferred route" to 7-Way Chamber as it reduces caver movements through Penguin Passage, Red Pike and Gour Chamber.
Routes from Paradise Regain'd
A sloping climb up into the large tube on the north side, with a number of impressive columns, should be carefully approached as the stal may be easily damaged. The Dingle Pringle Pretty Pushing Passage to the north passes through the well decorated section into a mud-floored 3-4m wide, 5-6m high joint which ends abruptly at a sandstone collapse after about 70m. On the western wall is a higher level passage that pops out in the northern wall of Paradise Regain'd.
There are a couple of ways to the south out of Paradise Regain'd. There is also red and white tape which is protecting some sensitive areas , eg a cracked mud floor - please keep to the indicated route(s). After leaving the columns and calcite, Gour Passage, heading south, is 3-4m wide and rather taller with a mud / sediment floor - easy walking for about 100m. At round about the 80m mark, a bedding plane just above floor level on the right chokes. At the end, Gour Passage enters 7-Way Chamber.
Routes from 7-Way Chamber
The chamber, 10m or so across with some stal in the middle, has arguably 7 routes off it. The first is the normal approach from the northwest through Gour Passage.
To the northeast is the entry for the 50m Rift. This passage is entered over a false floor lip and becomes increasingly more technical after initial walking and traversing in a rift with muddy walls about 0,5 to 1,5 m wide. The passage is about 5 m deep and 5-10m high. After passing over a p7 on a roped traverse (10 hangers were used on the original exploration), a crawl under a chock stone reaches the rim of a 30m high aven and a p18. The pitch takes a bit of water from the aven and the base is flat gravel/mud with no way on. The way on is reached via a bolt traverse on the right hand side (about 5 hangers), to reach a dry passage about 10 m high and 1.5m wide with some stal formations and a 3m section with a false floor about 1m above the floor. The passage continues on to another aven with an 11m pitch and a continuing passage about 4 m lower across the pitch and about 6m above bottom of pitch. Up to the right across the pitch a too narrow hole is seen. The passage across can be reached via a pendulum. About 3 m into the passage it is connected to batch 08_12 and the base of the focal p12.
On the eastern side of 7-Way Chamber are a couple of short, low passages that appear to choke and have occasional draught. A larger route exists on the southern side where walking passage becomes smaller at a choke (not sandstone).
The seventh route is an obvious walk down to the southwest where, after a passage split, a roomy chamber is reached with marked station 08_11.34 - a start or end point for a number of survey batches. To the southwest, the chamber ends in a draughting boulder choke which has been looked at with the intention of passing over the Lake Bassenthwaite sump. Between here and 08_11.34, on the north side, the p17 from the middle level drops in.
Also on the north side, a narrow rift enters the Whitworth Series (batches 08_22, and 08_22a) and the Whitworth Challenge (batch 08_42), described below. The Whitworth Series starts as a squeeze down a sharp rift for 3-4 metres then dropping into a small chamber. A crawling phreatic passage runs east-west (west to Whitworth Challenge) with the rift continuing north. The rift quickly opens up 2m wide and high which is a muddy climb down before closing in to a 0.5m wide passage. Here running water is heard and a climb up into a 0.75m wide and high rift leads to the cascade and deep water. Downstream ends after 18 metres at a sump, upstream over a small cascade ends after 15 metres at a sump in the right hand wall.
The east trending passage from the small chamber at the bottom of the tight rift leads into sand-floored phreatic passages. There are many oxbows and interconnecting parts in this section. The furthermost point is where the phreatic tube breaks out high in the rift passage above the water. A number of chocked boulders can be used get into the rift. (Very exposed with approx p10 to water). Back at the small chamber, another passage trends south under the main passage from 7 Ways Junction and ends in the boulder choke. (See Eldon PC Newsletter, p14).
A drop down back under the entrance rift of the Whitworth Series (batch 08_42) leads to to a hands and knees crawl with many side passages choked with boulders. The crawl terminates in a notorious squeeze named the Whitworth Challenge, which pops out in a small chamber at the bottom of a twin aven, which has not yet been pushed to conclusion. There is possibility of a draught coming from above. Water can be seen sinking to the floor heading southbound. Prior to the squeeze, there is a sandy crawl heading northbound which has not been fully explored. The retreat is very tiring on return if a turning place is not reached!
The south side of the chamber has the only known route down to Lake Bassenthwaite and hence the multi-level, upstream passages beyond. (But, of course, this can be ignored by using the BigMat Calf Hole entrance.) A tight rift drops to the head of a tight p5 with a wider p6 down a short passage at the base. A seam of black, non-flammable material can be seen part way down the latter pitch. The route drops down a mud slope to Lake Bassenthwaite, a large, out-of-depth pool. This has a 10m, strongly draughting duck, with 10cm or less airspace, going off under the left hand wall. (During the dry 2009 summer there was 30cm of airspace.) The out-of-depth route has a pull through rope at roof level which makes the free-dive, when there is little or no airspace, quite straight forward. On the "upstream" side, the rope is tied off well out of the water.
Upstream of Lake Bassenthwaite to Can You Hear The Buzzing?
The passage immediately splits with a ramp up on the right (batch 08_25, see below) and an upstream passage through Satterthwaite Tarn Chamber to Cock Up at Cockermouth Chamber (batch 08_23).
(The watery cross rifts below station 08_25.0 have been explored. These ended at a squeeze through into a muddy crawl which ended 5m further, at an immature, too tight mud coated rift (0.20x0.5m). Just 10m back from the end, there is another climb out of the water - this is a rift passage connecting to the higher level.)
The vadose route upstream from Cock Up at Cockermouth Chamber (batch 08_24) has "negligible flow" with sharp-finned rock and marmites to trap the unwary. The passage is varied going with glimpses of darkness above where there are possible links to the upper tunnel. From Pablo's Peppers Passage the main route continues as a pleasant wade through waist deep water. Soon the passage turns sharply to the right (west) and the water becomes out-of-depth for 10m or so. To the left, the passage continues a few metres before a mud bank rises from the water and the walls close in to form a rift, too tight for further progress. This out-of-depth section can be bypassed by a climb up on rock fins into the roof just before the corner and this emerges on a rock pedestal above the T-junction in the passage below. To the left is a short rift passage that rapidly closes down too tight. To the right, a passage containing much loose fallen rock heads off, drafting towards you and rising slightly into an enlargement beyond. From the top of the fins/pedestal to the right-hand passage requires a careful step over to, and traverse along, ledges, between which is a gap through which the canal below can be seen. Care is needed as it is very thin in places and the rock in this area is very loose and friable. An easy scramble up some boulders, emerges into a large chamber (Fisticuffs in Botchergate). (See this sheet by Dave Gledhill which explained the original survey at this point. The area from Scafell Aven through to the start of the Fred Witton Series was resurveyed with additions, corrections and a lot more detail at the end of 2016 as batch 2889_16_17).
(The chamber is rather confusing to describe as it has continuations in many directions and heights. It forms part of the high-level route that started at the 30m ramp up from the draughting duck. At this point there is a survey station. A climb down between boulders leads to a 6 metre wide 2.5 metre high clean washed streamway with water worn scallops and pools in the rock. Climbing further down the boulders leads back into the streamway. The chamber and routes off are explained in the next section.)
Code Brown (batch 16_04) is a short (33m), rising passage from the Fisticuffs in Botchergate area.
There are two side passages off to the east of the low level. The first is batch 08_28, a sumped outlet passage just south of Cock Up at Cockermouth Chamber. The passage starts off walking-size, passes through pools and over a mud floor to end at a duck after about 100m and then a sump. Pablo's Peppers Passage (batch 08_29) is also about 100m long, passes under a 10m high aven and "ends" at station 25 and a cairn beyond. This was linked into the Wrynose Pass in 2016 (see below).
On the south side of Lake Bassenthwaite there is a large passage with the roof soaring up at an attitude of 60° and a sandy slope gains the south-ward trending upper level (batch 08_25). This starts as walking sized passage averaging 2-3 metres wide and passes a number of rift branches coming in that were not investigated on first entry but have been since. (There are a number of parallel rifts, not just the one indicated on the survey. As one rift closed down too much for easy progress, a short backtrack leads to an opportune window into the next rift. These rifts also tend to be different in character too. One is clean dry sand; another is covered in yellow flowstone whilst the next is gnarly scalloped limestone that snags at oversuits.) Easy walking passage has areas of fragile false floor and stall grills which the caver has to pass through and this continues for around 130m to where a 3 way junction is met. Right / straight on here goes for a further 70 metres and huge aven is met which has truncated the passage. Scafell Aven has a small amount of water entering and is at least 40 m high and around 15m in diameter with a stack of piano sized boulders barring the way on to the continuing upper passage on the far side of the aven. It is not advisible for any attempt to traverse around the edges to reach the continuing upper level as this can be reached via other routes. There is almost certainly a route down through boulders to the lower level streamway. It appears, at the highest level in the aven, there are signs of passages heading parallel to the main route. This would be incredibly difficult to bolt up, as the higher parts of the aven appear to be in an overhanging sandstone band that seems intent on self-destruction. This area is like being in the top of a massive funnel filled with large precariously placed boulders, all poised to move downward taking everything else stupid enough to be there with it. (However, this veranda at the edge of the 40m high Scafell Aven was where bolting up reached the start of the Easter 2009 2.3km extensions. See below.)
Back at the 3 way junction, taking the left passage leads to a southward trending rift which was not attempted, (probably another oxbow) and a couple of 2m climbs down to Cock Up at Cockermouth Chamber. This route is the easiest and quickest way to Cock Up at Cockermouth Chamber from the draughting duck. (See Eldon PC Newsletter, p15)
At the top of the ramp beyond the duck, a high rift has been pushed up to
a tight bedding at the top. This continues for more than 30m. At the start
of the ascending rift is a 4m climb down on the right into a rift.
These sections have not been surveyed.
There is another unsurveyed section 40m further south, on the eastern wall. This starts as a high rift passage with a wet sand floor with initial easy walking leading to a 2m climb up over a boulder. The rift narrows, requiring a difficult traverse at higher level on mud coated walls with little grip. The floor is regained and rift height increases with the walls becoming rough and sharp. The floor narrows again requiring further higher level but relatively easy traversing. The rift meets a cross rift and there are possible climbs up in this area with high avens. Left is too tight. Right leads back to main upper level passage but at a higher level (10m up?) than that in which the rift was entered. This point is difficult locate due to lack of marked survey points.
Ten metres further south is another unsurveyed section to the west. This is described as a very tight and awkward rift. The tube in the roof at the end looks climbable but would require placing a few bits of protection. The passage below is choked with mud from the tube. A passage heading southeast from the end connects back to the main route at a high level window. (See Eldon PC Newsletter, p20).
The main passage continues past here through an area of false floor and a possible passage to the west with boulders. Just beyond, a unsurveyed route down to the east connects with the streamway. The high level route then slopes down to Fisticuffs at Botchergate, a major and confusing junction.
The Fred Whitton Series (described by Diane Arthurs and Simon Cornhill) starts 50 metres south of Fisticuffs at Botchergate, station 22 (2889_08_24.22) and was surveyed at Easter 2016 as batches 16_01 (1018m). It can be described overall as a walking passage in the south wall that quickly narrows and reduces in height. A complex area of interconnecting rifts and crawls.
The obvious way consists of fairly tight rifts with holes in the floor level and the occasional sight of water continues for 100 metres ending in a Quaking-style rift. A loop to the south between station 1.7 and 1.17 was surveyed as batch 2889_16_07 for 38m.
Back at station 1.22 a short climb up leads to a sandy crawl and more rifts emerging into the Dodgy Jump Chamber (station 16_01.2.13). An incredibly dodgy jump - which is not advised - may be possible into continuing passage which can be entered via a different route.
From station 16_01.1.10, a 2m climb up into an obvious passage continues straight ahead through a sandy squeeze and crawls (Wrynose Pass) with several side passages. One of the side passages heads in a straight line to the northeast about halfway through the Wrynose Pass. This ascends for approximately 30m, ending in a steep sandstone boulder choke. (Batch 2889_16_08). A second side passage sets off north, about 20m to the east. This passes through several tight rifts and crawls into Tubular Mud Chamber. Shortly after, a crawl under a boulder reaches the limit, at a cairn, of the Pablo's Peppers Passage exploration. The new link from Wrnose Pass was surveyed as batch 2889_16_09 for 159m.
The main way, after 100m, reaches a junction over a deep hole in the floor (undescended. Stn 16_01.3.32). Continuing straight ahead, the rift increases in height to walking sized, sandy floored passage which is heavily decorated with large fossils, The Fossil Fandango for approximately 300m. Abruptly the passage changes nature: mud covered with flood debris on the walls. A very tight squeeze was forced through to where water sinks into an impenetrable rift. Upstream a 5m aven was climbed to where water emerges out of a too tight inlet.
Back at station 16_01.3.32 then climbing through a hole in the south wall, a traverse in a deep rift reaches anther junction where right connects to the other end of 'Quaking Style Rift' and the passage seen from Dodgy Jump Chamber. Straight ahead, the going gets easier, past a 2m climb up, holes in floor to an enlargement where a a climb down a sandy slope on the left reaches what is presumed to be the main Vaca streamway.
Downstream chest deep wading with an occasional swim ends after 50 m with the water sinking under the left hand wall and a climb up a mud slope which is too tight at the top. Upstream more chest deep wading/swimming in bigger passage passes many cross rifts which all interconnect. At a small chamber, Stickle Tarn (station 16_01.4.41), and a climb up over a boulder, the passage continues in the same style, ending at an area of very deep water, Lake Coniston (station 16_01.4.49. A very slippery climb up a silt bank looks down a 2m vertical drop into the continuation of the canal. This is unentered as the return would require a ladder. This point is about 65m downstream of where The Mancunian Candidate meets the water.
Fisticuffs in Botchergate area and south to the 1st Terminal Choke
Don't Be An Idiot (batch 08_32) is a small inlet (from the far side of the deep water section) which heads west. As there is a pile of apparent cow shot (with straw) at the mouth of this passage it may be that it is fed by Stink Pot (site 2907) some 300m to the southwest and 200m higher. It can be accessed through a drop down between boulders just after Fisticuffs in Botchergate, or by a short passage at stream level that cuts through the sharp right-hand corner and connects back to before the out-of-depth section. The route continues as easy walking in a rift passage upstream past an active but too tight inlet on the left. A slippery slither up the steep-ish mud bank eventually levels out with a very small passage continuing in front. A weak draught is felt. A shovel and a few hours work will answer any questions here. There may be an unexplored passage to the east.
A mainly out-of-depth passage brings water in from the south (main stream?) and was surveyed as batch 16_03 for 103m. It terminates at an indeterminate sump and silt bank with a too tight continuation.
The complex Fisticuffs area is further explained with Dave Gledhill's survey sketch.
To the right (north) of the station cairn in Fisticuffs in Botchergate, a walk over fallen blocks, followed by an easy slope down levels out into easy walking, heading back in the direction of Lake Bassenthwaite, but at a higher level than the stream passage. This passage is connects back to the section in the upper series that brought the original survey by team 'A' to a halt.
Straight on (to the west) in Fisticuffs in Botchergate, a careful scramble down over large boulders leads to a large, wide, boulder-strewn passage that swings round to the left before levelling out and then running parallel with, but at a lower level than the high level passage described below. There are numerous ways through this section, but a traverse around the right-hand wall has proved popular. This lower level passage starts to rise and eventually merges with the higher level passage, which comes in from the left.
The main route sets off south from the station in Fisticuffs in Botchergate. A climb up over boulders leads to an ascending rift passage. Walls are solid but slightly slippery, coming together in places to form a partial floor, but opening up again to reveal drops below. The rift is climbed by bridging. The top of the rift opens out into a large, level, square section passage with dry mud floor with a few fallen blocks. The end of the passage cannot be seen from this point, lights unable to reach that far, but it is obvious that it enlarges considerably. There is also a good and consistent draught blowing towards you. The top of the left hand wall has large amounts of yellow flowstone curtains and stals, but the size of these is hard to judge or appreciate fully due to the sheer size of the passage. The floor of the passage then drops away steeply.
At this point, a passage enters from an acute angle in the left hand (east) wall. A careful step over the slope and round the corner leads into a dry, sand-floored, easy walking passage with numerous white stals and flowstone on the walls. The passage rises for a short distance, almost doubling back in the direction of the main passage, before it levels out and swings slightly to the right. The passage increases in height and width, but a deep rift in the floor with sloping sides of sand precluded further exploration. Note - the initial exploration of the cave found this passage to be drafting outwards noticeably. The second visit found no such draught discernable; outside temperature slightly cooler on second visit.
Back in the main passage, an easy scramble down a dry mud and boulder slope against the left hand wall allows the continuation of the now level passage to be explored. The dry mud floor has many suitcase-sized blocks, many of which are covered in flowstone and appear to have fallen from the left wall and/or roof of the passage. Passage continues with steps up/over/around blocks until the level, dry mud floor swings slightly to the right and then starts to descend to merge with a passage coming in from the right that has been running parallel to, but at a lower level than the passage just described. At the point where the two passages merge, the left hand wall has a series of very well decorated stal & column pretties which continue into the end of a short blind aven.
After some 50 metres, passage meets a large chamber with 2 southward ways on. The left fork is an oxbow which loops back into the right fork which is the main way on. The right fork is a climb over a crumbly slippery boulder into a 2.5m wide 3m high passage. A crawl through a sharp low bedding enters rift up onto big fallen boulders. This the start of Tiptoe with the Two Twits. (A hand line would be helpful here!) A traverse across boulders ends at the foot of a big boulder collapse. (It is not advisable to climb the boulder pile as it's very unstable at the top with zero leads!). The route through is found by staying with the left hand wall and following an undercut roof to a crawl through. This is The Buzzing Gets Closer. (A passage on the west side was surveyed as batch 2889_16_05, 48m, at Easter 2016, no description). The end of the crawl is at the top of a 4m pitch which is an iffy climb down with lots of loose stuff underfoot. (A hand line would help!) The route descends to a number of side passages including an unsurveyed section of stooping maze.
The A590 Vindication Highway starts here - a 3m wide 5-6m high passage with a rubble floor. Twenty metres beyond Which Way to the Cumberland Pencil Factory? there is a climb up loose rubble on the east side. This levels off into a low passage, ending in a complete choke. It appears to continue but there is no sign of a draught.
The A590 Vindication Highway is followed for approximately 100m to The Whites Haven area. This is a climb up then down boulders and past a very nice cracked mud floor.
The Whites Haven (batch 08_48) starts as a dry rift passage with pure white stals covered in helictites. The passage continues as a narrow rift that becomes progressively more and more heavily decorated with gypsum flowers and crystals. The roof is completely covered by helictite-covered stal and straws. A squeeze up and around a rock-fall leads to a T-junction with a much larger passage. A climb down enters very dry and sandy passage with lots of razor sharp gypsum crystals on the walls. A turn left ends at a solid rock wall, whilst right leads along 90m of high rift passage to a sand/mud choke rising up to roof level. An acrobatic climb leads to a high level passage that definitely continues but from which "return would be virtually impossible unless there was some other gullible person to stand on at the other side". (See Eldon PC Newsletter, p21).
The main route continues as easy romping in 4m X 4m square cut passage with a noticeable cool draught (outward) a constant feature. (This was also commented on in 2016.) About 50m past an surveyed oxbow on the north, a boulder choke is met which proved a convenient stopping point for the surveyors for batch 08_24. The choke has been described as "very large and very horrible bolder pile which included a couple of interesting moves to get down".
About 40m back from the choke is a passage on the east side which "could have up to a kilometre of maze network to survey" but, when surveyed as batch 2889_16_11_03, was found to 280m long before it re-entered the main passage at station B3. This route bypasses the choke and emerges back in the main passage 50m north of Tuna Can Corner. (Before 2016, surveys showed this passage as an unsurveyed dotted line.)
A few metres further south, and 5m up the east wall, a passage heads south (with a window into the main route) past deep pits to emerge through a hole into the top of the boulder pile. This has been surveyed as batch 2889_16_11_07 with a length of about 70m.
Opposite station B3 (=2889_16_11_03.29), a sandy bouldery climb continues survey 2889_16_11_03 and continues as 11_04 and 11_05. This section is a a mixture of chamber and bouldery floors. Up to the right (south) at station _03.34 an aven has been climbed for 10m with no way on. Down to the right, the old unsurveyed oxbow has been surveyed and all routes become too tight.
On the west wall and surveyed as batches 2889_16_11_01 and _02 routes to the left become too tight while ahead, a rising boulder slope chokes before reaching the main passage.
The choke is passed by following the passage round to the left then climbing up 4m and then down 4m. Loose boulders are a hazard and best passed by crossing from the left wall through the boulders to gain the right wall and then down the boulder slope to the continuing easy romp. The cave has a sandy floor and continues in fine style for 130m to a 90 degree right bend into Tuna Can Corner and, straight on, the Mancunian Candidate.
In the summer, 2016, various side passages north and south of Tuna Can Corner, past Mancunian Candidate, were (re-)explored and surveyed (batch 2889_16_11_08) adding detail to the old survey 2889_08_26.
On the west side of Tuna Can Corner an aven comes in with large blocks. The passage doglegs and changes into a tall narrow rift with pools of water - a new feature, and second dog leg is met after 88m. Here a smaller (still walking size) passage heads south until a draughting stall grill which has been pushed around to the back of the terminal boulder choke (batch 08_27) . At the second dog leg the passage becomes even more linear with longer legs a noticeable feature, and 100m further on the terminal boulder choke is met.
Tuna Can Corner through to the Shoulder of Mutton
One way to pass the "terminal" breakdown area is through the Mancunian Candidate (batch 08_35), an area of cross-jointed rifts which heads south off Tuna Can Corner. A passage on the right connects to a parallel rift and terminates in an aven (unsurveyed). Many of the leads here were pushed and surveyed during the summer, 2016. A cairn is soon reached and a climb down on walls made of chert leads to a streamway. Upstream (Bathtime) has out-of-depth water and a tiny cascade.
After about 100m upstream (a "very pleasant canal / stream passage"), a small climb on the northeast side enters an inlet passage that heads northwest for over 150m to where the passage splits. To the left, the route joins back to Mancunian Candidate. A drop down near here heads north, downstream to an area of deep water and possible sump close to Lake Coniston. A climb out on the west wall heads south to meet back up at the passage split. This was all surveyed as batch 2889_16_12 (parts 1 , 2, 11) with a description in the following paragraph.
From the cairn (2889_08_35.13 = 2889_16_12.2.40) the rift drops away and a climb down to the Bathtime streamway below is possible, ahead the rift continues.
Downstream (east and north) progress can be made for around 100m without getting wet until swimming in very deep water is necessary, this wasn’t attempted as there is little to hold onto and being buoyant would be a benefit. At this point a climb out of the streamway into a dry high level passage continues, with a side passage that overlooks the streamway further down, from this vantage point the water still looked very deep and maybe a possible confluence? Continuing along the dry rift, the passage eventually loops back to the Mancunian Candidate at the top of the climb down into Bathtime.
Upstream Bathtime, at around 200m a sandbank on the left leads to a cherty rift, which runs back parallel to Bathtime, only a few metres away. Eventually this also returns back to the Mancunian Candidate at the top of the climb down to Bathtime.
Bathtime passage continues in a tall rift for about 200m where it changes character at Ankle Breaker Passage with more friable rock and dimensions of 3m wide and 1m. Varied going leads through a boulder squeeze and then to a boulder run-in. Some careful climbing up (5m) through the boulders arrives at a squeeze, The Rib Tickler. The high level route (batch 08_45) has now been regained in a chamber 10m wide in proper limestone. The way out of the chamber is by climbing up into a short rift, which pops out in a railway tunnel, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, continuing both to the right (north) and to the left (south). The southern route is an 8 x 8m passage but soon this changes into a 2.5 x 9m rift, Don't Make Me Laugh, where a traverse about 5m above the floor is required. (This may need some protection). The continuation is a boulder floored tunnel with more easy romping over boulders which ends in a boulder chamber 10m (25m??) in diameter with several promising holes in the floor and large car size hanging boulders above, Shoulder of Mutton chamber. On an Easter 2009 trip, the choke was investigated and no way on discovered. (Batch 09_05). The deep rift in the It Only Hurts When I Laugh was linked at low level to the Arse Biter area and surveyed as batch 2889_16_13_26.
In the summer 2016, at station 08_45.1, a tube below the boulder choke in the Shoulder of Mutton led to a crawl in water which opened up - water pooling above knee height. The route leads to an aven (crawl out of the water) and continues in water to a T-junction. The left (east) leads to a widening followed by a 1m slope into a deeper flatout crawl in water which ends in boulders. The right (west) route continues in awkward, jagged, friable, rocky passage to two avens. The first can be climbed to overlook the second. The aven was too tight at the top. The main water comes down this aven to a watershed feeding both passages. (Batch 2889_16_14).
This area around the Rib Tickler and high level passage heading back north to the 1st Terminal Choke was surveyed in the summer 2016 (batch 2889_16_13_20, _21, _22, _23 and _24). The lower route joins back into the Terminal Boulder Choke - some green twine has been laid along the route - and a high level route chokes some 20m above the floor of the main passage. Batch 2889_16_13_25 follows a rising passage that closes in after 70m to the northwest. A passage opposite the boulder choke above the Rib Tickler was followed into a crawl which opens up to reveal a parallel passage. Both end in a sandy blockage.
The upstream route continues smaller through a particularly sharp narrow rift section, Arse Biter and swimming in a rift, Mard Arse. The current end appears to be above a 7m climb where the small passage "ends" at station 08_45.60. (The original explorers feel that this may well join up with one of the holes down at the Shoulder of Mutton.)
A trip, supposedly to the Mard Arse area at Easter 2017, may have become "lost" and discovered new streamway passage. This was further investigated in the summer, 2017, when Mard Arse was connected through to the Shoulder of Mutton and surveyed as batch 2899_17_01.
Easter 2009 2.3 km extensions from Scafell Aven and summer 2009 extensions
Batch 2889_09_01: Just back from the foot of Scafell Aven is a fixed rope re-belayed on two Petzl Long Life hangers. The first pitch of 9m is free hanging, and leads to a rock platform where the second pitch of 16m can be reached.
At the top of the pitch you are in a rift full of boulders which you climb the obvious way through to get to the top of the aven. On your left side is a big walking passage, which leads into an aven not far from surface. (This area is perhaps 12m below the base of the depression in the road corner near to sites 3166 and 3286 although both smoke pallets and radio connection attempts failed to make any connection.) Straight on takes you across a fixed rope traverse across the top of the aven. Immediately on the left is an opening into an aven and pitch with a voice connection below into the streamway. The other side of the aven a walking sized passage can be seen which has
not been entered.
Batch 2889_16_02: On the route to the near-surface connections (about 20m from the end of the traverse above Scafell Aven) is a 5m bolt climb. The passage at the top looked promising and goes to the edge of a widening over a tight muddy rift, about 5m deep. This was crossed into an area widely decorated with straws and stal. Although it looked as if it was "going to go big", the fill was up to the roof at all sides. It felt there may be a bigger chamber above that could be dug up to. A climb down a hole with dripping water reverberating would have meant destroying lots of straws, so this was not pushed.
Batch 2889_09_13: Sandstone Colander. From the edge of the colander 'bowl' a rope is required to traverse across. The colander floor is much stronger than it appears and a 2m climb out of the other side leads to a N-S trending passage. South ends in a boulder choke, north is a climb up to a roof tube which heads west after a short distance and drops back into the main passage just south of the Scafell Aven.
Batch 2889_16_10 (green level) sets off on the south side of Scafell Aven (about 3m to the south and 3m down from station 08_25.14, just past the short pitch) down a 3m climb into keyhole-shaped passage heading south. Surveyed as batch 2889_16_10, the route ends at a very steep slope to just before Fisticuffs at Botchergate.
Straight on (south) is a traverse over a rift in the floor with a blind passage below. A short climb up over boulders at the end of the passage leads into a large chamber. At the back of the chamber there is a large passage which is the other end of the 1 Haverflatts Lane loop.
The way on is by the entrance to the chamber on the right side through a small hole into a passage below. This passage has a false floor of sandstone and is unstable. At the entrance to the passage is a climb down into another passage below, which mirrors the passage above. Travelling the obvious way on you come to a 3-way junction with a gour pool in the floor: left is unexplored, right is the way on, leading to an aven. At the far end, there is a short climb up into a crawl. On the other side of the aven there are two unexplored ways on (another possible link close to surface). (There are two leads marked ‘continues’ opposite the 3m climb up before the 8m pitch. A couple of bolts and a handline or a brass neck would be required to traverse the aven to get to them. Probably worth a look. A good look around this place at Christmas 2014 found nothing of interest.)
A short way along the crawl there is rift in the floor, which is an 8m ladder climb down. Straight on continues and has been surveyed for 50 metres to a cairn on the floor. This was further investigated as batch 2889_14_09 at Christmas 2014. The passage to the south is a fairly easy going crawl to a boulder choke with black spaces glimpsed beyond. Perhaps this is the small chamber near the end of the Guano Chamber extension ‘boulder and mud run in’. A wriggle to the northeast over a boulder meets a right turn leading to a tight rift surveyed for some distance but not to a conclusion. It may be that this is the passage that connects to stn 23?
Going left into a small chamber - Roose Chamber, the only passage exiting it ends in a window overlooking the large passage trending south east from Scafell Aven.
Batch 2889_09_02: At the bottom of the p8 ladder climb, down the rift, is walking sized passage which is very well decorated with dry gour pools in the floor.
North mirrors the passage above heading back into a boulder choke in the area of the last aven. South soon arrives at the head of an 8m pitch, which drops down into a much bigger north-south trending rift passage.
North travels around 500 metres and leads to batches 09_03 & 09_04 (see below) and ends in a boulder choke. In more detail, the north-trending passage starts narrow (not tight) and passes a superb cracked mud floor (traverse around with care) and further on, on the right wall, superb helictites (care). Here, there are a couple of tight rifts in the right wall and straight on passage getting bigger and wider until a ramp up to the left enters a chamber. From here the passage walls and floor are covered with stal and formations, and it is impossible not to proceed without walking on formations. A step up leads out of the pretties and the passage becomes sandy underfoot.
After passing the entry point to batch 09_04, the passage becomes bigger still, with holes in the roof glimpsing further large passages (see batch 09_08 below), and the floor is a long abandoned stream way meandering down the passage. This continues until a deep rift is encountered and batch 2889_09_03 starts. A bolted traverse (rope removed, bolts are in left hand wall) over a 40 metre pitch (descended with 1 possible lead approx 30 metres down on a mud slope) leads to a mud and boulder run in and a choked rift which is very draughty and drippy.
Batch 2366_09_08: In the summer 2009, a hole in the roof was scaled up to, using a maypole. A large chamber leads north to a boulder collapse and south into 2 tall rifts which close down very quickly. From the north east end of the boulder collapse, a crawling passage lifts after 10 metres to a rift passage with ledges. This ends in aven/ pitch above the main passage. There is a low passage from the aven but this quickly ends in a 3m by 8m chamber.
Heading south from the p8 leads, after a few metres, to a big passage on the left (1 Haverflatts Lane, batch 09_06, see below). Straight on soon becomes dry and sandy, at a sharp left hand corner there is a 10m deep hole with a good draught. The obvious way on is much smaller stooping and walking - but mostly walking. The passage changes to breakdown and gypsum. After about 50m there are some very impressive formations which are believed to be giant gypsum crystals. On the east side of Lechuguilla Passage, La Bella Durmiata contains fossils and twinkling walls (batch 2889_10_03). About 50m south of here, St Bee's Knees is a crawling passage that enters an 8m high rift with a dig at the end (and space beyond) that requires capping. The rift has been climbed to a too tight passage heading off to the northwest. (Batch 18_01, length = 35m)
The passage continues south for about 300m, passing several smaller passages on left and right which all seem to draught well. About 200m beyond La Bella Durmiata, a passage heads northeast for about 70m under Room 10: The Learning Support Department (batch 2889_10_05).
Batch 2889_09_07: A boulder blockage impedes the way on; the route on is under the blockage into a high chamber with no obvious way on. On the far right of the chamber, a rift is hidden under a large boulder. The passage changes at this point it becomes damp muddy and a noticeable change has occurred. There are numerous side passages, which draft strongly from both sides of the main drag. It is apparent there is something much bigger under foot, due to holes in the floor. This section of passage ends at a pitch down of about 4m, which needs a bolt and a ladder. The passage continues at the same level beyond the pitch.
At the bottom of the pitch there is a very large, unexplored passage off to the left. The way is to the right (south) being through boulders into a roomy passage that soon arrives at a 3-way junction.
Right (north) is unexplored but very big. Left soon arrives at a rift chamber with a boulder choke on the right. There are two ways on which arrive at the same place: one through the boulder choke and one following the left wall through a hands and knees crawl.
The passage becomes much bigger where they meet with a sandy floor and gypsum. There are several passages, which form a bit of a maze, but all the passages seem to meet in the same place. After a climb up there is a hole in the floor on the left with a big passage below, which needs a ladder.
To the right is a climb up into a large passage. After a few metres there is an opening on the left wall, under a dodgy slab. A climb down drops into a roomy passage with a dry sandy floor. This passage continues to a large block which could be climbed over, and the passage can be seen to continue. There are a few high level passages in the roof which are unexplored. This was the end of the Easter 2009 exploration.
Batch 2889_13_06 sets off from station 09_07.49. This a a bouldery rift, choked to the north and south, although black spaces can be seen to the south parallel to the main route. This was pushed on 17/4/2018 working through the choke for about 30 to 50m. More progress could be made. (Description from Helen Hooper: 3m up an unstable choke; 2m further over stable block; diagonally SE drop 1m to 2 passages; SW explored for 30+ metres; also higher level above initial ascent.)
Batch 2889_13_07 sets off from station 09_07.57. It is entered down a 2m climb into a passage heading southeast. After 20m, the route ahead - "unexplored and unsurveyed" - was documented at Easter 2018 - an easy-going, stooping, crawling passage ending in a dig (batch 18_02) - and, to the south, the route passes some nice amber stal and reaches a big boulder collapse.
Setting off from station 09_07.25, batch 2889_10_02 (OGB) was explored at Easter 2010. Description to come. It ends in a boulder choke.
At Easter 2011, batch 2889_11_03 was surveyed as the High Street Oxbow: At the "big collapse area / 10m aven" at the start of High Street the left hand solid wall can be followed through a rift to a climb down to a crawling zig-zag passage to a breakdown chamber. Most ways head back up to the main passage. Straight on can be followed as large passage up and down a slope to a corner containing a 24m high aven and a deep canyon in the floor. Two tubes head off on the right (oxbows) and a climb on the left wall (oxbows). Straight on the passage meets a large choke where the bottom of the 4m ladder pitch is met.
Around 50m south of the 4m ladder pitch at High Street Oxbow, a ‘big passage’ lead was surveyed at Xmas 2014. This is a well-travelled oxbow back into the main passage. On the opposite side of the passage a smaller oxbow was also surveyed - Gillinggate and Captain French Lane (batch 2889_14_11, 69m surveyed). Further down High Street, at the 40m section of passage north of ‘2009 summer extensions’ there are several roof tubes. Using various combined tactics they were all entered. All were alcoves or quickly choked apart from one. This is on the west side of the main route and is a brief hands and knees crawl degenerating into flatout. A complex area.
Batch 2889_09_10 (Cow11) (description to come) continued the exploration in the summer 2009 down High Street to Nearly Dan Chamber and beyond at high level into the western passage, then completed as batch 2889_09_12 (0608091). This end is described thus: The passage continues from post / column, passing a choked hole in the floor and a steep stone / shingle bank ahead. On passing over bank the continuing walking passage quickly becomes a crawl, leading into a squeeze through boulders into a draughty calcited bedding filled with stalls.The passage at this point is only 8" to 12" high.This section of passage is abandoned, not active and has a sandy floor for the most part." The draught at the end is strong.
Two other routes lead out of Nearly Dan Chamber: one goes south at high level, the other drops down 35m to a low level. The high level route batch 2889_09_10 (Cow12) continues south, becomes batch 2889_09_11 (cow21) and ends at possible routes in a boulder choke. The choke was looked at on a trip in November 2014 and was thought not to be very promising, although "there are a couple of holes high up that would need a couple of bolts to climb up into".
This southeast, high level route (now called Should Have Gone to Survey School) was resurveyed (again) at Xmas 2014, this time with passage detail and stations marked where up to 12 possible leads go off. (Part of batch 2889_14_12). Also entered and surveyed was a stooping passage - Banger No. 5 - on the east side. Banger No.5 starts off stooping height but quickly changes to a narrow well decorated rift. At Stn: 2889_14_12.2.12 a 6m climb up continues unexplored into a cross rift.
The main route continues in the same manner coming to an abrupt end, where a climb up gains a larger east-west rift. The only way on is to the east which continues unexplored. Bolts and a handline may be required. (Banger No. 5 description by Simon Cornhill.) Banger No. 5 was pushed for 28.5m in the summer 2017 (where?) but not surveyed.
At Easter 2015, the rift at the end of Should Have Gone to Survey School (with the sound of running water) was dropped on a handline and then a ladder into an area with a very high aven but no way on. The "12 possible leads" were also investigated at Easter 2015. Most were short but one entered a well decorated chamber with a climb up into the Should Have Gone to SpecSavers area (see below). The four surveyed extensions appear in batch 15_02 which also repeats an earlier batch.
Two extensions near to Nearly Dan Chamber were made in November 2014. Fanny Bramble Passage batch 2889_14_03 was entered at an open lead in High Street (station 618). This is about 250m long - an easy passage with a scree and gypsum floor heading north and ending at a boulder choke that looks loose and dangerous to push. The passage contains some large crystalline formations and some delicate gypsum flowers.
About 100 metres back from the boulder choke at the end of the southeast passage from Nearly Dan Chamber, a short climb on the west wall enters the second extension - Should Have Gone to SpecSavers, batch 2889_14_04. A couple of squeezes pops up into a large, well decorated passage. This is generally 10m wide and is truncated to the north and south by boulder chokes. The southern choke was investigated at Easter 2015 when a p7 choked and a 5m climb up in the choke petered out. About 20m from the southern choke, a pitch was found (not on the survey) which was "assumed to drop down in lower passage" - but there is no passage directly below. From the main passage, superbly decorated passages head west terminating in stal chokes. This series has a length of 428m.
The low level route from Nearly Dan Chamber drops into Henry's Way after climbing down over large boulder's and sliding down a steep scree slope (care - loose boulders!) (batch 2889_09_15 Vaca66) in a large chamber. In the left hand corner of the chamber, a strong draft leads down to more boulders onto a mud slope and brings you to Henry's Way, a large active passage. On the east wall of NDC passage wall is a large window with a 2m climb and passage leading off, explored and surveyed as Roa Island (batch 2889_14_05, 89m). This heads back north at a lower level mainly in chambers created out of massive fallen blocks. A p4 has no way on and a p6 has a short length of passage before closing down. At the end a 3m climb up closes down at a tight rift.
The main passage heads off in a southerly direction following a stream bed with heavily silted mud banks on both sides (approximate dimensions 15m high, 20m wide). The stream bed meanders around large boulders. High up on the right (west) 2 oxbows can be found and on the left (east) at approximately 100 meters from Nearly Dan Chamber an inlet enters the main passage. This inlet is approximately 1500 meters long and heads towards La Gatuna (see below).
After another 100m or so a side passage heads off to the west. This is Meathop Passage, batch 2889_14_07, length 61m. The comparatively small route passes a window back into Henry's Way on the left and through a couple of digs ending in a too tight, ascending rift.
Continuing south, and where the route swings to the west, a muddy rift on the south side leads into Grange-over-Sands with an inlet on the east side. The passage continues to emerge back in Henry's Way just before the climb up into Henry's Chamber. (Batch 2889_14_08, 140m)
The main passage continues between boulders until it reaches a boulder collapse which can be climbed up over a steep mud/ bolder slope into Henry's Chamber, a large chamber with a high aven at the easterly end filled with boulders. These form a steep ridge down the centre of the chamber. (batch 2889_09_15 Vaca61; Batch 2889_09_16 Vaca31).
Batch 2889_09_15 Vaca62 (description to come) is a side passage to the west.
The route down the rope pitch to the end choke is batch 2889_09_20 Vaca51. Following the right wall of Henry's Chamber leads to the top of the pitch. Natural anchors are found low down round a "stal" boss; just over the edge is a bolt for a re-belay. The pitch drops for a couple of metres before becoming free-hanging for about 10 metres where it meets a large boulder slope. The rope is used to continue down the slope until it becomes easy enough to walk on down. Looking back up the pitch there are voids high up on the right yet to be explored, and some 15 - 20m to the right there is a boulder choke that could possibly connect to the slope that leads into Henry's Chamber. Continuing down the slope enters the start of main passage that is reminiscent of Henry's Way.
The passage, which is about 15m wide and 10m or more high, continues for about 30m weaving between large boulders on a sand floor before beginning to reduce in dimension to about 8m wide. It is at this point that the stream, which emerges from an inlet on the left another 15m further on, is encountered disappearing into the floor.
Climbing up a sandy slope and following mud banks on the right one reaches a boulder choke after about 25m. The boulder choke appeared to be very stable and several routes have been followed through the boulders but no ways on found in 2009. There was a good incoming draught on the single visit.
Just before reaching the choke, a route down left through boulders led to the active stream that was met earlier.
The choke was pushed in 2011 as batch 2889_11_01. The passage through the choke is described as "big". At the end of the passage is another boulder choke which could not be passed. There is a passage which needs aid climbing to get to which might be worth a look." Better description to come?
At Easter 2015, the junctions at 5 Ways Cafe were investigated and all the question marks on the survey were found to finish within a few metres. The final choke was found to have no ways on.
Suit Wrecker Inlet
Part way along Henry's Way a long passage enters on the east side and heads towards La Gatuna. This is over 1.4km in a straight line towards the La Gatuna area and is survey batches 2889_09_15 vaca63, 2889_09_17, 2889_09_18 vacabarny1, 2889_09_191, 2889_11_02, 2889_15_11 and 2889_15_12.
This Suit Wrecker Inlet is entered by scrambling up and down over mud coated boulders for about 25m until further progress is along the stream bed and the mud coatings disappear. A number of knee deep pools are encountered as the passage, a couple of meters wide, weaves its course to the south east for about 150m until it turns abruptly north for another 40m before resuming the south easterly direction steadily narrowing until it becomes only possible to progress sideways. One particular narrowing about 350m into the inlet causes severe distress to over-suits. Thereafter, the passage increases in dimensions to allow relatively comfortable progression. The passage height remains around 8m-10m from the start of the inlet. A further 100m leads to a small chamber where a climb up boulders for 6m and then back down to the stream-way is necessary. (It was around this point that centipede-type insects were first noticed.) The passage continues with clean rock floor in the same way for yet another 100m where another small inlet enters from the right. This Bernard passage was pushed for 214m as batch 2889_15_11 in November 2015. Where this becomes too tight at floor level, a thrutch up and climb over at 5m height reaches more passage. There are no side passages, but it is tall in places and awkward / hard going.
Back in the main inlet, the passage flips north for 25m leading into another small chamber where another 10m leads to the end of this section surveyed in 2009. (The passage ahead continued showing signs of getting larger. The water in the inlet had a bad smell (gasoil?). There was a distinct sensation that we were approaching the surface but this was disproved on the next trip.)(Batch 2889_09_191 description to come).
The "bitter end" of Suit Wrecker Inlet was surveyed at Easter 2011 as batch 2889_11_02 and described thus:
A small pool followed by a couple of small cascades leads through rift passage to a heavily choked floor passage containing lots of broken suit wrecker rock on the floor. Just beyond, the passage regains the stream and an awkward climb up a small (1.5m) cascade continues in rift passage / streamway / crawling. This eventually ends at Suit Wrecker 3 where a slight tight and sharp climb up leads into a crawling, wide tube passage floored with sand. Right (downstream) leads around a corner to a further tight unexplored rift passage. Upstream passes a small tube, also unexplored. Continuing upstream, climbing up and heading left and around a corner through an awkward constriction is Suit Wrecker 4 where the stream can be heard below. The passage continues crawling until a large choke is met. Before the choke, a climb on the right (3m) reaches a walking / stooping passage. Right leads to the boulder choke which can be climbed to a shaft heading down left. A passage-cum-void can be seen in the highest point and looks open, but could not be entered at the time. Left at the junction continues as a crawl. Right leads down a climb (2m) to an unexplored rift passage. On the right, a muddy inlet enters with possible climbs. Straight on eventually leads to Suit Wrecker 5 and Suit Wrecked - a very tight rift with two very small ways off which were not pushed. (From this end point it took 4 hours to exit to Torca la Vaca, at a steady pace.)
Over a 15-hour trip in November 2015, various question marks were investigated in the area of Suit Wrecker 4. These are shown on the survey (v2.23). Also, the end was pushed and surveyed for 591m - Friday the 13th Passage. At Suit Wrecker 4 the original way into the choke had collapsed at floor level but a climb up enters the inlet passage beyond. Dry passage slowly gains height and, after about 200m, enters a large, well decorated chamber with a stream in the floor. (A route leads back at floor level but this is assumed to just rejoin the previous passage.) Higher level, meandering stream passage was entered at the far end of the chamber and a junction reached. To the left, a higher level traverse was pushed for a few metres and carried on. The right hand route has been pushed for about 350m to a boulder choke in sandstone after passing through a choke with a 4m long straw. From the end, it took 5.25 hours to exit through BigMat Calf Hole.
Batch 2889_09_04: From station 25b a 7m high rift passage leads to a large chamber with large boulders on the floor. On the left is a 3m climb to a draughting but tight and sharp crawl. To the right, the way on is via 2 parallel passages which connect after 25 metres. A 7m x 3m wide pot in the floor is passed to a muddy run in where the way on closes down in a tight rift.
Batch 2889_09_06: Begins as a 6m high rift passage, 1 Haverflatts Lane. 15 metres in is a junction. Right continues trending southwards to a very loose climb up and over boulders, Help me Lloyd Passage. From here the roof lowers with the floor being covered in collapsed gypsum and calcite from the roof and walls for 150 metres, Kendal Mint Cake Passage. The roof now lowers further into hands and knees crawling, Fryers Passage. Sixty metres of crawling and stooping past large gypsum crystal stalactites (good photographer required here) leads to Room 10, The Learning Support Department, a small chamber with a good draught coming from a tight rift.
The left route, batch 2889_09_09 has a very good draught and was explored in the summer 2009. (An oxbow on the south of station 7 passes over holes and emerges just to the north of Help Me Lloyd! This is surveyed as part of batch 2889_14_06.) The passage generally heads east and passes Guano Chamber, through Jack's Rake (a steep mud climb), then north past the "large boulder" area which acted as the campsite for the 2013 2-night camp. (An account of the autumn 2014 extensions describes the climb up towards Guano Chamber at Jack's Rake as "collapsing and dangerous. The climb requires some gardening and the placement of a handline." The route continues north to link back to south of Scafell Aven and also provides access to Ed's Birthday Passage batch 2889_09_14. The description of this route: Back north at Haverflatts 'T' junction, turn left into a narrow (0.75m wide) rift which takes lots of left and right turns until you reach a sandy and boulder blockage. Back 6 metres from the blockage is a very loose climb (care!) up into 6m x 6m x 2m high chamber with guano on southern floor, the northern passage is unexplored. East passage descends boulders then climbs up ending in a boulder choke where a large passage can be seen through boulders below. South from the loose climb up the passage leads to a rift the eastern end of which a small dig broke near Jack's Rake into the large passage seen previously. In the main passage, north follows a sandy floor (past the 2013 campsite at the "large boulder"), with a number of oxbows on the left, to a boulder pile which can be climbed and descended easily. Next is a crawl through large boulders which can be bypassed by a roof tube 3m up an awkward climb on the left. The two ways meet up and a short hand and knees crawl ends under van sized boulders which can easily be picked through to complete the loop back towards the top of Scafell Aven.
At Easter 2015, the most western passages around the Pont Aven area were surveyed as batch 2889_15_05. On the same trip, over 200m were surveyed in a loop from the glove junction through Swarthmoor and back to Ed's Birthday Passage. This was first entered in 2010. The drawn up survey has a number of inaccuracies in this area, ie the centre line with all of its loops doesn't lie over the survey correctly in all places.
From Pont Aven (Dingle station 23), heading through the hole in the corner and before the acrobatic rift (traverse line installed 17/3/2016) to Dingle station 31, a maze of cross rifts zig-zag in a northerly direction until a small chamber is met, Swarthmoor. Over a pit in the floor the only way on is right, traversing into a cross rift and then squeezing down behind a large slab. The main route continues zig-zagging in a SE direction past numerous small partially explored side rifts, ending at a 4m climb down. This joins up with already surveyed passage which also continues in the same manner, but gradually gaining in size and eventually emerging into Ed's Birthday Passage at Dingle Station 47 (Stn: 2889_09_14.47). (Route through Swarthmoor described by Simon Cornhill.)
In Guano Chamber, a route also heads NW off the NW side of the chamber to eventually reach (after about 150m) known passage. This is batch 2889_10_07. From Guano Chamber the obvious passage to the north is entered leading to a stooping and walking size rift with a number of potential leads in the floor. Passage is followed through a couple of '1 minute digs' through loose flakes and sand until it reaches a taller, narrower rift with ways on left and right. Left in the rift leads to a tight sharp squeeze followed by an awkward muddy rift (unsurveyed) which opens into a large chamber. (Footprints in the chamber have been followed to a survey station marked 27?? on a boulder in a mud floored stooping height passage. (The station did not seem to appear on the big survey in the office and needs further work to sort this out.) Right in the rift drops down into a small chamber with the way on through another 1 minute dig which breaks out into the large north south passage from the top of Scafell Aven.
Let it Snow
On the northeast side of Help Me Lloyd! Passage, the Let It Snow extension sets off south (part of batch 2889_14_06). Near the end of the 200m-long passage, a section of dropped ceiling is passed, an area of gypsum flowers met and the passage closes in at a "curtain of gypsum around chamber".
Near the start of batch 09_09, batch 2889_10_01, Frizzington Extensions, sets off. The southern end of this was tied into known passage near the start of Ed's Birthday Passage as batch 2889_13_09. It then became apparent that was some error, as the previously tied in northern end was floating around a great distance from where it has previously been tied into - station 8a in the passage between 1 Haverflatts Lane and Guano Chamber. Work over the summer and Christmas, 2014 clarified the connections.
South from a high level chamber containing a cairn with a glove on it Pont Aven (Dingle Stn:23), head down the slope to another cairn with a mouldy station note Stn: 2889_14_02.1.0. This is a low chamber which is handy for calibrating a distox. Straight ahead the main route heading SE is reached Stn: 2889_14_02.1.7.
From here head north up the slope through a short crawl. A climb down and traverse emerges at Dingle station 31 (2889_09_14.31) at the base of the dodgy climb up back to the way to Ed's Birthday Passage, a handy shortcut out.
Southeast is a complex area of cross rifts some leading to minor extensions. However, keeping to the largest passages keeps you on the main route. Around the Snow Dome (Stn: 2889_14_02.3.26) is where the original Frizzington survey finished. An unobvious left turn continues the main route which comes immediately to a T-junction. This turning is often missed on the way out, adding to the "Frizzington disorientation experience"!
Left, crawling at first, passing some interesting holes in the floor, enters a small chamber (Far Off Track). At the northern end with a climb up into a shattered section, the way on splits. Left and down, a rift passes several deep holes in the floor and roof ending in a climb down (undescended) which is very close to station 3.10.
To the right a crawling sized tube heads NNW passing an unsurveyed passage on the left through three enlargements, until a wriggle up and left enters a 'reasonable sized' chamber with a couple of footprints. A convoluted route from here brings you back to dingle station 31 (2889_09_14.31) at the base of the dodgy climb, not the best route out.
Right in the main Frizzington route, following the 'obvious' way on with the draught in your face (summer 2014), progress is in a comfortably sized passage passing numerous cross rifts, most too small to enter, constantly clambering up and down various obstacles. An obvious side passage on the left quickly reconnects back to the main route (either side of the Old Man of Coniston Stn: 3.50). A passage on the west side of the route just after the "squeeze between boulders" at station 14_02.8.7 has been surveyed for 20m to link across to known passage as batch 2889_16_16.
NOTE: An exceedingly dodgy 1m high boulder arch at Stn: 3.65 requires a careful low limbo to pass under it! Shortly after this, moisture beads were seen on the passage walls and, shortly after that, decaying rat (?) poo & the bones of a rat (?) were encountered.
The rift then narrows with the draught picking up. Eventually a squeeze was forced through a short tube on the left-hand side of the passage, over blocks to several holes looking down into a chamber. A squeeze down and a 3x3m wide rift heads off up a 2m climb to an impressive 27m high aven, Careful What You Wish For. Although the roof looks like sand stone, it seems like a passage can be seen near the top. The rock is sound and the aven would make a good climbing project.
Through boulders under the aven, deep holes can be seen giving the impression of a false floor. Just back and on the right of the aven, a narrow rift has been descended for 9m to jammed blocks where a hole down was disto-ed to 22m. It may be possible to dig out the jammed blocks and descend the 22m pitch. The rift looks like it would be tightish to start off with but opens out further down. Another good lead but it would require some work.
A short distance on, a 2m climb up enters another area with deep rifts off to the sides, Helmet Hunting Horror. The passage continues changing nature. Stepping down over a puddle, the floor is mud covered and gently ascending. A small chamber has been climbed into, whilst underneath this a low muddy crawl which has the draught coming out of it.
(Frizzington Extension account by Simon Cornhill.)
The crawl was pushed in August 2017 and the extension Far Frizzington surveyed as batch 2889_17_02. At the end, three 13m pits link at the bottom with no leads off.
Batch 2889_09_14: South is 4m wide by 6m high passage with huge blocks on the floor. (A passage on the east side here, batch 2889_13_08, meets a Y junction with one route back to the main passage and another to a choke.) Step from block to block until a collapse is met. (There is a way on the right which leads to a confusing network of dry, sandy crawls which can be difficult to find the way out of.) Climb up the collapse and keep to the left wall and through the obvious gaps in the boulders. Drop down to the base of a high aven with sandstone beds high up. Three or four passages down end in sand and boulder blockages. Way on is left and a loose climb through boulders and left to top of chamber. Descend chamber and down slot into 2m high 10m wide passage. Passage trends south 2m wide and 2.5m high with sandy/ ? floor and gypsum crystals. A passage on the left is Deep Rifts Passage, explored 2010 - see below. Ed's Birthday Passage continues for perhaps 350m past fine cracked mud floors and gradually becomes wetter.
Near station 09_14.78, a draughting passage (Doldy's Draughting Rift) heading north was investigated at Easter 2015, ending in draughting pitches, traverses and "several 5 star leads" (batch 15_04, 55m). This was pushed in the summer 2015 as the 101m-long batch 2889_15_10. Two traverses are passed then 1 - 2m high passage with a strong draught. This ended at the edge of a large shaft which goes up and down about 15m. The character of the cave changes at this point from dry, old passage to black limestone with many fossils. "Down" at the end looks large and may well be possible whilst a further traverse round a corner on the right hand wall on a good ledge staying at a similar level may well be the best way forward. The good draught and lack of any tree roots would indicate that this end is worth a further push. All traverses here have been left rigged but with no spare rope. At the very end, to reach the final survey station (2889_15_10.2.1) a short (4m) but wide traverse was pushed over with no protection. The next people in may well want a rope on this traverse. (2889_15_10 description by Pete O'Neill)
Doldy's Draughting Rift was further pushed (but not surveyed) in March 2016. A rope was installed on the final traverse. The lower level here is blind. A 4m bolt climb up at the end of the traverse reaches a junction. To the left is breakdown; to the right is a hole in a rift which is worth investigating. Further work in the summer 2016 resulted in batch 2889_16_15, "at top of the short pitch the other side of the big pit, it all ended in loose boulder choke (51m surveyed).
At the end of Ed's Birthday Passage a boulder run-in is climbed ending in a 6m high by 1m wide drippy rift, cold and draughty - the Wasdale Screes. Also at Easter 2015, it was thought that the newly discovered site 4117 could link (it did!) and there was a suggestion of a sound connection at station 09_14.84.
BigMat Calf Hole entrance and Hardknott Pass
At the top of the Wasdale Screes - up a 5m, now roped, climb - is a rift at right angles which was the scene of sparodic but intense efforts over 2013 and 2014. When this remote area was revisited during a 2-night camp further back in the cave (August 2013), a re-exploration (and survey, batch 2889_13_04) some 17m up in the roof revealed muddy sandstone rocks and surface creatures. Half the 6-person team came out after one night to pick up a Molephone set. That evening, a successful chat between surface and underground teams located a spot on the surface where hammering on rock could be heard both above and below ground. This point @ 30T 448661 4800476 Alt. 158m (Eur79) on a donkey track around a large and deep depression put the hammering caver in the roof just a few metres away. Sites 3905, 3906, 3914, 3924 and, the most extensively worked, site 3916 were excavated in the hope of providing an entrance which bypasses Lake Bassenthwaite and Scafell Aven. Site 3916, BigMat Calf Hole, was connected as a second entrance after more work with molephones, radios and smoke tests in the summer 2014.
The entrance is found up above the original molephone point (now with an installed rope, p12, with care required at the top) through an excavated section. The route to the surface is then through a crawl in a tube and up through scaffolding and another road drainage tube. The (re)survey to the surface is found as part of batch 2889_14_01.
Beyond the base of the BigMat Calf Hole pitch, opposite the Wasdale Screes route into the main system, a wriggle down through a slot emerges in a chamber. Clambering over giant blocks, a crawl ends at a trench. Dropping down at the end of the trench, a passage heading NW containing a fox skeleton ending in a blind pit with a sand plug beyond.
To the right of the fox skeleton a rift heads off, the Hardknott Pass. It is possible to follow it at floor level or up a 3m climb. At floor level a crawl passes several tight sections to emerge in a window overlooking a deep rift.
Up the 3m climb the top of the passage continues as a crawl passing a couple of holes that connect to the lower passage, until it meets in an area of deep rifts, where the lower passage emerges, The Baggage Drop. This was investigated in the summer 2016 when a traverse across the Baggage drop deep rift was rigged and the furthest rift was dropped (blind).The passage over the top of the Baggage Drop was investigated to end at a sandy blockage. The Baggage Drop rift was descended for 13m to a window onto a 13m blind pit.
A squeeze through a slot to the right steps over a deep pit (5m rope & 2 hangers - removed) to meet another rift. To the right needs bolt traversing, whilst left a traverse over two more deep pits (15m rope & 4 bolts - removed) goes up a short climb and crawl to emerge into an enlargement, El Zaguán - The Hall Way Stn: 2889_14_01.3.21. This is an area of rifts intersected by shafts. All of the pits that have been descended are blind.
To the northwest two parallel rifts with deep holes connect back together. Southeast from Stn: 2889_14_01.3.21 a well decorated passage ends at a climb down and then up, with long a blind 14m deep rift ahead. To the right this area ends in a pretty grotto with bat bones. (Hardknott Pass area description by Simon Cornhill)
Batches 2889_10_06 & 2889_10_08: Deep Rifts Passage heads northeast from Ed's Birthday Passage. The first batch heads off east 1.5 m wide by 2 m high. At the T junction the right hand passage connects back to a small window in Ed's Birthday Passage. Left at the T junction follows a few turns until it breaks into a wide chamber. In and around this chamber are holes in the floor with passage seen below (these have not been investigated). The continuation is a step over a deep rift (needs descending) and into a 6 m high 1 – 2 m wide rift passage. At the first cross rift is a bolted traverse heading south (not concluded). The north cross rift has not been pushed and is well worth a look.
From here Deep Rifts (part 2) begins. The last 50m or so starts as a flatout crawl with a squalid, muddy floor but very draughty. One survey point is an upturned stal, 6" high in the mud floor. The passage turns right after a 3m bedding gets too tight but vision continues for a further 12m with a good draught. Before the flat out crawl there is a large, pit in the floor (Eddie's Pitch), approximately 2m in diameter, 35m deep but blind. Between the deep pit and the crawl a passage goes off on the right (batch 2889_13_05). It passes a bat skeleton and a 3m pot before ending to the east with very draughty pots and avens reaching +10m and -35m from station 13_05.11. Further investigation at the end at Easter 2015 was surveyed as batches 15-01 and 15_03. Batch 15-01 needs drawing up. In the summer 2015, a strongly draughting dig was excavated near station 2889-15-01.08 which eventually rose up (batch 2889_15_07) between boulders to emerge on the surface at the Cueva Cuba Libre entrance (site 4182).
Entering through Cuba Libre at Easter 2016, a choked 12m pitch (batch 16_06) was surveyed, starting at 2889_15_07.4 (= 2889_16_06.3). A rigged 8m traverse down a loose boulder floor reaches the head of a Y-hang 12m pitch, blocked at the base. At the head of the pitch, a passage to the right takes a 90° turn next to the entering passage. A loose boulder floor heads to a calcited section and finally, on the right, a choked passage. There is no draught in this area and no real leads.
Further work in Deep Rifts Passage in the summer 2015 extended the traverse to the north into batches 2889_15_07 and 2889_15_09. A 16m pitch is followed by an 8m pitch. About 6m down the 8m pitch a bedding / rift passage goes off. This has been followed for about 20m to an aven with a large pitch below (40m?)
Deep Rifts Passage appears to have "missed" site 3300 but has reached the surface at sites 3470. Sites 3471 and 3472 are nearby.
SRT kit is required to traverse the installed line. At the end of the summer explorations the Cueva Cuba Libre entrance is not recommended as a normal entrance because of the crawls and traverse; BigMat Calf Hole is a less demanding entrance.
Batch 2889_11_05: The only batch surveyed in the summer 2011. This passage sets off from Ed's Birthday Passage and passes under Deep Rifts Passage. Not yet described. Length 86m.
Although the 2006 optical brightener test from the end of the Sumidero de
Cobadal (site 1930) to Fuente Aguanaz
(site 713) proved that water route, there was a flood
episode during the test and, it may be that during normal flow, water from
the Sumidero runs through Torca La Vaca to emerge in Cave of the Wild Mare
(site 767) which did not have a detector. A number of suggestions as to the source
of the water in Torca La Vaca are shown here.
A diagram of the hydrology of the San Antonio - Hornedo - Cobadal area drawn after Easter 2011 can be found here.
Dowsing occurred over the end of the Suit Wrecker Inlet in July 2011. A positive reaction was perceived in the "correct" place possibly giving some extra credence to the survey. An article about the dowsing carried out around the northwest sector in July 2011 can be found here.
Biological sampling was undertaken as part of a research project at Easter 2014. Over Easter 2018, the Matienzo Karst Entomology Project (led by Tom Thompson) followed up the previous study by collecting bugs, spot sampling and setting pitfall traps in a number of sites under a Cantabria-wide permit. The Entomology Project carried out some work in this cave.
On August 1st, 2018, Pete Smith took Christophe Durlet (University of Burgundy) and Dimitri Laurent (University of Lorraine, Nancy) along with Patrick and Sandrine Degouve to Ed's Birthday Passage to investigate gypsum formations in connection with a possible hypogene origin of the passage. They thought it an excellent site, taking small samples (mostly broken pieces off the floor). Isotope studies will help determine the source of the gypsum.
Reference: anon., 2008c (Easter logbook); anon., 2008e (summer
logbook); anon., 2008f (autumn logbook); anon., 2008g (Christmas logbook); anon., 2009a (Easter logbook); anon., 2009b (summer logbook); Corrin Juan, 2010 (photos); anon., 2010b (Easter logbook); anon., 2010c (summer logbook); León García José, 2010 (line survey); Corrin Juan, 2011 (photo); anon., 2011b (Easter logbook); anon., 2011d (summer logbook); anon., 2012b (Easter logbook); anon., 2012d (summer logbook); Corrin Juan, 2013a; anon., 2013d (summer logbook); anon., 2014c (summer logbook); anon., 2014d (autumn logbook); Papard Philip, Corrin Juan and Smith Peter, 2014; anon., 2014e (Xmas logbook); anon., 2015b (Easter logbook); anon., 2015c (summer logbook); anon., 2015d (autumn logbook); anon., 2016b (Easter logbook); anon., 2016c (summer logbook); anon., 2016e (Christmas logbook); anon., 2017b (Easter logbook); anon., 2017c (summer logbook); anon., 2018a (January, February logbook); anon., 2018b (Easter logbook); anon., 2018c (summer logbook)
Entrance pictures: yes : Easter 2012 : summer 2012 : summer 2014 : February 2018
Underground pictures : Easter 2008 summer 2008 (230 photos) conservation & restoration (Nov 2008 & Jan 09)
January 2009 - bolting to an alcove on the top level
Easter 2009: North of Lake Bassenthwaite - dive and rift exploration; general top level; traverse and pitch; middle level
:::::::::::::: South of Lake Bassenthwaite - initial top level after sump; boulder choke at the far end; Lechuguilla Passage
Summer 2009 : summer 2010 : Easter 2011 : Easter 2012 : summer 2012 dives (see Wild Mare)
Easter 2013 - top level stal - Wrong Trousers : summer 2013 - 2-night camp + Top & middle level photos
Summer 2014 : Entrance Series to the sump & Wasdale Screes area : Hardknott Pass Aug 8 : Hardknott Pass Aug 18 & 19: Frizzington squeeze
Christmas 2014: Video stills from Kendal Mint Cake, Meathop, Nearly Dan, Henry's Way and Should Have Gone to Survey School areas.
Easter 2015: Pictures from Should Have Gone to SpecSavers area and 5 Ways Junction with Henry Hall area : End of Deep Rifts passage and others
Summer 2015: Red Pike : Easter 2016 Code Brown : December 2016 Should Have Gone to Spec Savers? :
February 2018 "straws grotto" at end of S high level route from Red Pike : Various places in the old entrance, Easter 2014
Videos : Easter 2008 wmv file 51Mb download Easter 2009, Lake Bassenthwaite (9Mb)
Torca la Vaca - Cave of the Wild Mare connection, Easter 2012 (YouTube)
Summer 2012 diving in Wild Mare / Torca la Vaca (YouTube)
Easter, 2013: Photography : New passage in The Wrong Trousers (YouTube) : Bolting in the Wrong Trousers, summer 2013 (YouTube)
Summer 2014: Smoke test and Hardknott Pass (YouTube):
Xmas 2014 (also see 3916) : Mr Caton's Gypsum Crystals and KMC : Should Have Gone to Survey School : Kendal Mint Cake Passage : Nearly Dan Chamber & Henry's Way
Henry's Way : Meathop Passage (all on YouTube)
Summer 2015: High level back towards Red Pike (YouTube)
Easter 2016: Scafell Aven > BigMat (YouTube) : Surveying the Fred Whitton Series (YouTube)
Surveying upstream from Fisticuffs at Botchergate (YouTube) : Exploring Code Brown then exit to BigMat CalfHole (YouTube)
summer 2016: Frizzington Extensions extension (YouTube) (other videos to come)
Spanish group exploration by José Manuel González Delgado (YouTube)
Detailed Survey :
|low quality||medium quality|
|Easter 2011 (incomplete)|
|Easter 2011 (incomplete; dive)|
|Summer 2011 (incomplete; dive)|
|Summer & autumn 2014|
|autumn 2015 (after October)|
|autumn 2015 (after November)|
|Summer 2016 through December 2016
(incorporates a number of adjustments). V2.26 has corrections around Bathtime.
These pdfs from CorelDraw don't appear in IE. Use the Chrome browser.
These pdfs appear not to be viewable in Acrobat but can be viewed in Foxit or Sumatra
Explanatory sketch survey sheets (part of v2.05 - v2.24)
Can You Hear the Buzzing
Fisticuffs in Botchergate
Explanatory sketch survey sheets
Buttermere downstream sump to chamber
Line Survey :
On area survey :
Survex file : yes (updated after Easter 2018) (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
Hornedo area (after Easter 2018. See note for 2889.3d file above) (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
Therion area file (January 2012)
Passage direction rose diagram: 30/6/2018