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Peak District Caving News February 2006

Peak Cavern

Rocky Tube concluded and connected to the NCC Shafts

Report FromRobert Eavis.
Report Date02/2006.

On Monday 30th January Rob Eavis and Katie Dent went to investigate the end of Rocky Tube (Galena Chamber Circuit). From the start a very tight passage led to a slippery muddy aven which was partly equipped with an old handline from it's original exploration. This was ascended and the unclimbed section above was free-climbed by Rob to a small passage leading off from the top. This went for 4m before breaking out into one end of the last pitch of the NCC Shafts. Five bolts were placed allowing a descent to the floor. Through a very small hole at floor level a visual connection was made with Katie who was still at the bottom of the pitch in Rocky Tube. It just goes to show how close people were to finding the great NCC shafts 30 years ago!.

Peak Cavern's NCC Shafts

Report FromWayne Sheldon.
Report Date02/2006.

The Traverse of the Spods (NCC Shafts, Peak Cavern) was climbed made in March 2004 (see caving news June 2004). At the end of the small series was a body sized tube but access to this was blocked by a hanging calcited choke. This site was visited again recently with the aim of removing the choke to gain access to the passage beyond. Marcus Evans, Dave Otterwell, Wayne Sheldon and Ann Soulsby made two trips to work on the choke. After a while it became clear that the choke was in a roof tube, full of half decent sized rocks which had come from above, and which had running water seeping through. The noise of falling water beyond offered encouragement. A serious amount of work with a hammer and a chisel rewarded the team with a squeeze through into the bottom of a small aven, 0.45m wide by 2m long. It was climbed for approximately 9m to a rock bridge which forced a maneouvre up to the left and back over the top. Further progress was stopped by a rock calcited in across the rift. Beyond this the aven could be seen to continue upwards with similar dimensions for at least 6m to a bend. The rock blocking the way couldn t be removed at the time due to Dave and Ann below and the position of a badly poised rock near the point of entry that if knocked, would block the way out. These rocks will be removed on the next trip. There is an encouraging draught in the aven and small stream.

previous related report 06/2004


Progress in Peak Cavern's Halfway House Sump & Styx Inlet Sump

Report FromJohn Cordingley.
Report Date02/2006.

The tight outlet in Peak Cavern's Halfway House Sump has been receiving attention recently. This swallows the main Peak stream on its route towards an inlet in the resurgence sump but there is potential for other discoveries here. 6 metres of very tight bedding (basically a long squeeze) has been explored and on 18th February this emerged into a larger submerged rift passage. Lurking in this new section was a 3 metre long baulk of timber with nails protruding, so the rest of the dive was devoted to wrerstling this all the way out of the sump. The nearby Styx Inlet Sump has also been extended a short distance by digging; prospects ahead look better. Both sites involve quite difficult diving so progress is deliberately being made in a series of small advances.

previous related report 11/2005