Monday, January 10, 2011

Re-back to Hell

I thought I would make a blog post this time since Katrina wasn’t able to go on this trip because she hurt her shoulder. Tom and I went back to Hell to “possibly” finish up the survey we started the week before. We changed methods to speed things up but this also decreased the accuracy of the survey. We continued with the survey where we left off last week. In an hour we got to the farthest point we explored to last week. 30 minutes later we had a choice of going up into dry passage or continuing down following the river. We went up. The 8 foot wide x 20 foot tall passage zig-zagged slightly so the survey was a little slow. A few solitary bats kept flying by. It was quiet. Then the ceiling started to get lower and lower. Then it turned to the river but also got lower. Then we could faintly hear the river. Finally we could stand up again and more importantly we could climb down to the river. It was now 1pm and I was ready to turn back. The question was do we go back the way we came or do we go up river and take a chance there will be a climb up that we can’t do. We decided on taking the chance and going up river but before we did we took a look around. We were in big passage and we walked downstream 100 meters and just saw more and more big passage. Very exciting. Tom wanted to continue downstream but we still didn’t know if we could get out going upstream. We surveyed as we went upstream. It was fast going, lots of long shots. The river was getting louder and the room was getting bigger. I walk up into the room and then as I climb to the top of a rock in the middle of the room I see it. A big lake lay in front of me about 75 feet across and feeding it was a 20’ waterfall! I immediately think oh shoot we have to go back. It’s an impressive sight but there is no way we are climbing shear vertical walls to get up there.  Tom comes over and is impressed. I say, "I don’t think we are getting up that. He says of course, “well, lets go check it out and see.”  We swim across the lake, take our packs off, and stand on some rocks at the base of the falls. It looks like if you could just get up the first 8 feet the rest would be doable. So, Tom gives it a try and can’t get up that first few feet. He tries again and I hold his foot. He made it to the first lip and then crossed through the pounding water to the lip on the other side. He was up! I threw him a rope and he tied it off. I tied a foot loop and was able to get up also. I was very relieved.
While Tom was surveying at the falls I took a quick look around. We were just 30 feet away from the upper dry passage!!! Tom tied in the survey points and then we headed to a dry spot for a long overdue lunch break. After lunch we did a little more surveying of some upper dry passages and then headed out. Almost 8 hours in the cave.

1 comment:

Rosa said...

Love the impressive.

Katrina - feel better!