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Water Icicle Close Cavern
South Passage Breakthrough.
Report From: Phil Walker (Orpheus Caving Club).
Report Date: 17/06/2012.
Published: 18/06/2012.

In February 2012, Philip Walker and Richard Smith, members of Orpheus Caving Club, made a breakthrough in the Great Rift to discover the continuation of South Passage. From the breakthrough point (named Welsh Connection), a predominantly walking size phreatic passage (Volcanic Bug Pusher) extends for 85m before ending at glacial till choke (Oh No Choke). A 15m high aven (Donkey Kong Aven) was bolted terminating at a higher chamber. Just before Oh No Choke, an excavated side passage led to an awkward manoeuvre which was initially passed by Pete Wagstaff. This revealed 65m of crawling-sized bedding plain (Olympic Stroll) where it eventually becomes too low to continue. A total of 175m of new passage has been discovered and digging continues.

As the cave lies within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Natural England have been informed, and there is no intention of controlling access to this find.

Cavers are welcome to visit the new extension, but please keep to the taped route. The climb/pitch in Donkey Kong Aven is best avoided until further "gardening" has taken place. Visitors are asked to refrain from venturing into the “Oh No Choke” until scaffolding has been installed.

Further details of the discovery will be published in the next edition of Descent (227).

Phil Walker at the start of Volcanic Bug Pusher in Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Richard Smith, 17/05/2012
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Phil Walker and Rich Smith in Volcanic Bug Pusher, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 29/05/2012
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Rich Smith in Volcanic Bug Pusher, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 17/05/2012
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Rich Smith and Phil Walker in Volcanic Bug Pusher, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 17/05/2012
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Rich Smith and Phil Walker in Volcanic Bug Pusher below Donkey Kong Aven, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 17/05/2012
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Phil Walker in Volcanic Bug Pusher opposite Olympic Stroll, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 29/03/2012
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Broken formations in Volcanic Bug Pusher, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 29/03/2012
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Oh No Choke prior to digging, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 17/02/2012
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Richard Smith digging in Oh No Choke, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 29/03/2012
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Phil Walker in Olympic Stroll, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Simon Brooks, 11/03/2012
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Rich Smith exiting from Olympic Stroll, Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Photo: Phil Walker, 29/03/2012
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Peak District Round Up
Report From: Ed.
Report Date: 16/06/2012.
Published: 16/06/2012.

We've had quite a few emails over the last few months asking why the news pages haven't been updated. Well, there's not actually been a great deal to report, though work is continuing at several sites, so hopefully there will be some news soon.
The Gautries Hole team have had some success over the last few months. In December their attention moved from pushing leads in the 2009 extensions to the Downstream Sump back near the entrance. In order to dig this the stream was diverted to down South West Passage to Angle Chamber and the sump in South East Passage. Some progress was made digging through boulders but they were soon distracted, deciding to investigate the effects of the diverted water on the rest of the cave. The diverted stream had washed out a significant amount of mud and silt from several sections of the '09 extensions tuning one flat out crawl into a walking sized passage! The crawl at the end of Nun's Chuff had been washed out and with a bit of digging was pushed into 50m of walking sized passage. The sump at the end of the '09 extensions (known as The Worst Dive Base in Derbyshire) was also pushed for another 40m+/- and is ongoing. Work continues.

Previous report 04/2010 (includes survey)

Email your news and info to cavenews@hitchnhike.co.uk