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Peak Cavern.
Major Breakthrough in Far Sump Extension.
Report From: Dave Nixon.
Report Date: 01/01/1999.
Published: 01/01/1999.

The choke at the end of Far Sump was passed on the first day of the year. Dave Nixon, Dave Arveschoug and John Cordingley passed the choke on it's 11th visit, entering a chamber 29m long by 9m wide and ?m high. A large waterfall plunges down out of the blackness. This waterfall accounts for a high percentage of the water flowing through Far Sump. The only way on is up into an unknown black void.....
Looking up from the bottom of the shaft. The top, nowhere in sight.
Photo: Clive Westlake 08/01/1999
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Titan Update
Report from: Shaun Puckering.
Report date: 08/01/1999.
Published: 08/01/1999.

An 'advance base' was set up in the new chamber and the climbing started. Among the gear ferried in was a 100w spot light run from two FX5 batteries, it was hoped that with this that the top of the chamber would be seen. The lamp was switched on, illuminating the vast walls, which just faded into the distance...... At an estimated 70 to 80m up the walls domed over slightly but then opened back out, beyond which, nothing could be seen except blackness.

Dave Nixon and Shaun Puckering started the climb with Dave taking the first lead and gaining 25m of ground. Except for a small epic when the drill packed up 4m above his last runner there were no problems. Clive Westlake took several shots in black and white, the results of which are eagerly awaited. Tim Horne examined all the open routes into the choke but there was no way off.
The start of the climb, Dave Nixon leading, Shaun Puckering belaying.
Photo: Clive Westlake 08/01/1999
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Dave Nixon and Shaun Puckering fixing the drill after it packed up at the most inopportune moment, 25m up 4m above the last runner!
Photo: Clive Westlake 08/01/1999
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Titan Update
Report from: Dave Nixon.
Report date: 15/01/1999.
Published: 15/01/1999.

The climb of the new chamber was continued and has now reached a point 45m above the floor. The point mentioned previously where the walls dome in slightly, known as 'The Black Hole' is still an estimated 30m above the current limit and even from the new vantage point nothing can be seen beyond. A large passage in the oposite wall could be seen going off but this will require a separate climb to be made from floor level. This lead is by no means a priority but will certainly be followed up in the future. It may be possible to gain access to it without climbing when the main shaft is rigged from above. Water levels underground were high, and the waterfall was showing its self to be a considerable input to Peak Cavern.
Dave Nixon reaches 35m on the second day of climbing.
Photo: Clive Westlake 08/01/1999
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Titan Update
Report from: Shaun Puckering.
Report date: 22/01/1999.
Published: 22/01/1999.

The new chamber has been named 'Titan', of all the suggestions this was the one that cropped up most often and seems the most fitting for this huge place. D.Nixon and S.Puckering carried on with the climb. From the 45m point steeper and overhanging progress reached a second small ledge which is 55 - 60m up. For the first time it was possible to see up through 'The Black Hole' but again, the only thing that could be seen above was the far wall which towered up into the blackness. The next session should get over the bulge and into the as yet unseen teritory. From the current limit the floor is starting to fade from the reach of 6 watt lamps, and as nothing can be seen above the height of this place can only be guessed at.

John Beck and Tim Horne continued surveying from the base of the choke back along AJ Passage to Stemple Highway as far as the corner with the J.H. connection. The next surveying trip should get through to J.H. and tie in with the new Peak / Speedwell survey.
next related report 02/1999
Also see: Descent Magazine issue 147, page 10.
Thanks to Marlow Ropes who have supplied 200m of 10.5mm semi-static.


Peak Cavern - climbing in Stemple Highway
Report From: Nigel Ball.
Report Date: 10/01/1999.
Published: 10/01/1999.

Elsewhere in Far Sump Extension, Nigel Ball and Dave Shearsmith continued their climb up the aven just east of Coral Aven reaching a point 20m up. The aven is solutional in nature with a 2m x 4m cross section with the way on still open. A return is planned in the near future.

Bagshawe Cavern - Moss Rake Series
Report From: Anthony Revell.
Report Date: 20/01/1999.
Published: 20/01/1999.

Anthony Revell is continuing exploration in the Moss Rake Series. The current limit of exploration is at the top of a choked aven with the way on visible through the boulders. There is an encouraging draught but dropping the choke safely will be difficult due to the unstable nature of one of the walls. A return is planned.

Waterfall Hole - Inominate Pot Dig
Report From: John Beck.
Report Date: 21/01/1999.
Published: 21/01/1999.

John Beck, assisted by Iain Barker, has set up a 2 inch diameter water pipe from the top of the waterfall down into the dig at the North West end of the shake hole. The intention is to wash out the clay fill, J.S.B. went back to see if it was working at the end of last week (Thu 21st) - and it apears that it is - the water is running away and taking the fill with it....

Waterfall Hole Update
Report from: John Beck.
Report date: 30/01/1999.
Published: 30/01/1999.

Iain Barker returned to the dig, (named 'Innominate Pot'). Most of the spoil heap was removed and the floor of the entrance passage was lowered gaining entry. The water now disappears down a new hole. It appears that a rift which was discovered running parallel to the dug out shaft within the pot, also runs beneath the entrance passage. After a five hour session the water pipe was left in such a position that the dig could 'dig' itself again until the next visit.

Devonshire Mine
Report From: D.C.A.
Report Date: 10/01/1999.
Published: 10/01/1999.

Thanks to strenuous efforts by a number of people, working under extremely difficult conditions, the main shaft at the Mine has now been safely capped. The second shaft remains to be done. Please note that, although access is allowed by the lower entrance by the public footpath, there is no access via any of the shafts. The Derbyshire Caving Association has paid for the work from its own funds and welcomes donations towards the cost.

Odin Mine Collapse
Report From: D.C.A.
Report Date: 01/1999.
Published: 01/1999.

A collapse at the head of the final pitch means that the bolts can be seen but not reached. For the present this pitch is inaccessible. NB. There is an error in Rigging guide. There are only 2 bolts on the "handline" pitch one at the top and one at midway.

Oxlow Cavern - Hand Line Removed
Report From: Annonymouse.
Report Date: 01/1999.
Published: 01/1999.

Anonymous email report - The hand-line from the bottom of the third pitch down to the top of the fourth pitch in the West Antechamber has been removed by someone and NOT replaced. The rope may have been old and of dubious condition but it was there and served a purpose and it is for each individual to judge whether or not they use it, not for one person to judge for others. By all means, remove old hand-lines, but replace them at the same time thus avoiding frustration and annoyance for others.

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