2016 Expedition

The 2016 Expedition was organised by Mike Bottomley and Steph Dwyer.

With a slightly larger team than last year and just under 3 weeks in the field, the expedition was successful in the following:

  • Finishing the bolt climb of the upstream waterfall (30 m) to gain the continuation of the upstream master cave. Although starting out as a single, high rift streamway, this quickly divided into a number of inlets, one of which was explored to within 350 m horizontally and 150 m vertically of the end of F64, where a waterfall chamber marks the limit of exploration. Another inlet ended in an impressive, 30 – 40 m wide chamber with a 26 m high waterfall inlet and estimated 100 m high aven in the corner with a chilling draught felt at its base. However, the bulk of the water was found to enter via a too-tight rift with a powerful draught and the sound of roaring water ahead. In total, over 300 m of cave was explored (~270 m surveyed) with excellent prospects for further exploration.
  • Further progress at the downstream sump (Special Agent Sea), where an arch was passed at approximately 30 m depth and 80 m of line laid in a large, ascending tunnel. Unfortunately, a technical issue forced a return to base and this was the only dive achieved during the expedition. However, the passage is ongoing and we are confident of a connection with 2/7 on the next expedition. A total of 130 m of line has now been laid in the sump.
  • A bolt climb started close to the downstream sump, where the presence of a phreatic tunnel in the roof and increase of the draught warranted further investigation. A ~15 m bolt climb and ~20 m traverse gained an alcove below some interesting holes in the passage above. These warrant further investigation and will be a simple bolt climb to gain during the next expedition, with the hope being a high-level sump bypass to 2/7.
  • Revisiting a number of sites, such as 13/9, many of which were explored to snowplugs 20 – 30 years ago, but which warranted a second look given decreasing snow levels.

In summary, this was a very successful expedition, with significant advances made both upstream towards some of the highest feeders to the Verdelluenga-2/7-Culiembro system, and downstream towards 2/7.

Expedition Members:

  • Mike Bottomley
  • Steph Dwyer
  • Phil Baker
  • Dave Ottewell
  • Helen Blyth
  • Callum Braithwaite
  • Dave Rose
  • Paul Mackrill
  • Richard Cole
  • Martin Hoff
  • Richard Gregson
  • Sara Gregson
  • Duncan Simey
  • Miri Pihlaja
  • Adam Prior
  • Paul Diffley
  • Sarah Payne
  • Sarah Holman
  • Matt Selkirk
  • Tom Chapman
  • Martin Holroyd
  • Shane McKinley
  • John Worden
  • Sharon McDonald