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Eastwater Cavern

Ongoing situations in Boulder Chamber and Ifold’s Series

With the lower parts of West End Series being almost permanently sumped off at present other projects in the cave have been initiated with intentions of providing a new route from the entrance area directly into the Ifold's Series.  Apart from bypassing much awkward passage this route would allow a change of scenery to those who have used the standard trade routes continuously for the past three years.

Work started on the 7th September when, with the assistance of Dave Nicholls and Mark Lovell, Tony Jarratt climbed the 55' Aven at the head of Harris's Passage in Ifold's Series.  A fairly easy but damp and exposed climb led to the top of the aven via three roomy ledges.  Two ways on at the top were both impassable without bang but draughted strongly inwards.

A return was made on 3rd January with Phil Romford and the aven was re-climbed and rigged with 60’ ladder. (The more exposed, stal covered part of the aven was also climbed and found to close down at 35'.  Initials on the wall showed this to have been looked at twenty years earlier).

The following day AJ and .John Dukes returned with hammer and chisels and spent some time removing rock from the larger of the two ways on in preparation for banging.  John continued hammering while AJ went to the Wind Tunnel at the top of the Canyon where the hammer blows could be distinctly heard emanating from the rock.  In the Boulder Chamber - a black hole was noticed below the boulder floor and this was investigated on the 10th January, when with the aid of a sledge hammer and rope winch a 12' deep hole was engineered leading to a loose, strongly draughting choke in a rift.

Next day, Jim Smart, Harold Price and John Chew lit a smoke bomb in the 55" Aven while AJ and Tim Large opened up the draughting choke in Boulder Chamber, getting through into some 30' of horribly loose descending passage with only one solid wall (and that’s dubious!).  This dropped down a wide rift which was not entered due to the frightening mass of boulders above it  This passage has since been renamed “Death Row”.

No smoke was evident here but as TL emerged back into Boulder Chamber he noticed it seeping out of another hole directly below Wind Tunnel.  This small vertical hole lies at the start of Keith Gladman and Andy Lolley's old dig which oxbows back into the Canyon.

The hole was attacked with hammers and chisels and good progress made, continued on the following Wednesday by TL, Tim Gould, Mark Lumley and JS.  More work was done on a solo trip by AJ on 23rd January and Death Row revisited.  After a lot of deliberation the loose boulders at the head of the rift were passed and the rift followed down for some 15' to where a low arch led into larger passage.  Unfortunately the arch was composed of loose boulders and as it was being gently prodded the earth moved.  So did AJ who shot out of the passage with large and small boulders literally brushing his legs as they parted company with roof or walls.  Not a nice place!

Back at the 55" Aven two days later, TL banged the larger way on with an appreciative audience of JD, AJ and Andy Sparrow.  Not so appreciative was the unknown poor bugger who was at that time sitting alone at the top of the Canyon and probably only about 20' above the bang!  The results were checked the following day by AJ, Trevor Hughes and Snablet and the now open rift found to close down after about 6'.

Work is continuing when lethargy permits - assistance welcomed.

Tony Jarratt.

Terminal Rift area, Ifold’s Series

Further investigations have also been made in the area off TermInal Rift below the 13 Pots.  Jim Smart first looked at this old digging site where the stream sinks.  To the right is a tight rift which further closes down after about 10' but could be chemically enlarged.  Also Sand Chamber was inspected.  Considerable amounts of spoil have been deposited in the chamber from previous digging activities - maybe they are obscuring a possible digging site.  At the eastern side of the chamber is an ascending rift which appeared possible providing some form of stemple could be inserted at intervals to assist progress.  Jim and Mark investigated this, managing to pass the constriction to passage beyond which appeared not to have been entered before. Unfortunately it soon closed down.

Another interesting area is the small rift in the eastern wall at the base of the 55' aven previously mentioned.  This leads into another small rift at right angles to it.  This area takes on a more phreatic appearance.  At the lower end the rift drops into a small chamber with a boulder floor - several interconnecting avens appear in the roof. In the northern corner is a squeeze into an ascending phreatic rift. This area is leading into the unknown, outside the boundaries of existing cave.

The current survey of Ifold Series is very sketchy and appears inaccurate.  Perhaps it could do with a re-survey from Dolphin Pitch onwards.

Tim Large.