News: Steady Progress in Upper Flood Swallet

Si Flower and Andrew Atkinson of UBSS have been making progress following the stream in Upper Flood Swallet.

The pair, with occasional assistance from John Bennetts (UBSS) and Rob Adams (BEC),  began work at a point known as “Terminal 3” where a slightly too tight rift had previously failed to yield to attempts at capping by members of the MCG. However, they were encouraged by the fact that the rift took the full force of the stream and did not appear to back up, even in winter. Deciding that there was too much hard rock to yield to capping, they decided to use heavier persuasion.

Upper Flood Swallet: Terminal stream passage
Hard going in Upper Flood Swallet. Photo by Andrew Atkinson

After a couple of bangs, it became clear that there was a corner before the end, which they named “Terminal 4.” One more bang and they were round the corner.

Lots of hammering and a watery squeeze put them at the top of a very slippery 3m waterfall, Terminal 6 (Editor: Er, what happened to Terminal 5, guys?).

The squeeze needed some modification; it is still a bit of a struggle but the threat of drowning has gone. Another rift, again slightly too tight in places, was enlarged where needed and a further breakthrough was made in mid-March at “Terminal 10.” (Editor: OK, I get it, these are survey stations.)

This drops down to a 1.5m deep duck followed by about 30m of dryer passage, dropping at the end. The stream then turns right and flows away down yet another slightly too tight rift. Compulsory submergence will be required to work through this.

However, the cave is now 136m deep, an increase of 8m on the previous figure. Wet, miserable, but exciting, work continues.

Correspondent: Andrew Atkinson