Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Adventure Queens Weekend 5th - 6th of October

Last weekend saw the Adventure Queens visit SWCC's HQ for a weekend of underground fun. This blog post contains some trip reports and pictures from the weekend.

Sunday morning group shot. Photo: Claire Vivian

Trip Report - Chloe Francis

Mission objective: to show how fabulous OFD is to the Adventure Queens & improve my navigational skills.

Team: Moi (Chloe F), Claire V, Helen L, Cat and Natalie (Adventure Queens).

We reached the entrance at 11:30am after an excellent amount of faffing. With me as the leader, who knew what lay ahead: would we spend hours doing loops around Big Chamber? Would I accidently catapult the beginners down Edward’s shortcut? There was only one way to find out…

After spending a few minutes with our lights turned off inside the entrance, we headed to Big Chamber Near the Entrance. After the mini traverses, we took a right turn, then another right turn. I made everyone climb in and out of the prisoner pit - then I went down and through to see where it connects to the brickyard.

We came to upper level Arete, and then turned right towards the Wedding Cake. After peering over at Arete, we went to investigate the delicious formation.

Next obstacle was the corkscrew. I gallantly demonstrated how to negotiate going down this - everyone was very impressed. Claire decided that Cat and Natalie could do with a good crawl, so into the hole at the bottom of the corkscrew we popped. Crawly, crawly, crawly sandy crawl. I think everyone was having a lovely time, especially through the very narrow bits.

The crawl ends near Swamp Creek, so we went upstream to look at the pure white formation, then turned back to visit the Judge. Here we spent time admiring this rather impressive formation. Then to the Trident, where Claire regaled the tale of how some eighties cavers knocked the end off and it got glued back on.

At this point we bumped into Bob’s team as they stomped up Salubrious. After exchanging pleasantries with the other team, we turned left towards the crossroads so we could check out Selenite Tunnel and Shatter Pillar. At Presidents Leap, Cat decided that she didn’t like the look of the traverse - so I stayed with her while the others went across. While we waited, I sang songs about love, heartbreak, death and, of course, caving. Luckily the others speedily checked out Selenite, so Cat was not subjected to my full musical repertoire.

We retraced our steps and headed down salubrious - the traversing bits not phasing Cat and Natalie in the slightest. At the elephant’s molar we left Salubrious and began to climb back up towards the corkscrew. At the top of the climb we sat down for some chocolate rations. We decided that a good stroll up and down Gnome passage was in order, so we had a leisurely amble down there. On our way, we bumped into some very shady looking characters: Grimmett, Clark, Paul M and James.
No beginners trip to top entrance would be complete without flailing around in a muddy puddle in the hope of admiring something pretty. Therefore, the last order of the trip had to be the mini columns. Everyone had a brilliant time sloshing around in the mud; seeing the formations was definitely worth the effort! 

Cat and Natalie admire the mini columns. Photo: Claire Vivian

Chloe, Natalie, Cat and Claire. Photo: Claire Vivian

Natalie taking to caving like a duck to water. Photo: Claire Vivian
Wearily, we began to head out of the cave. We joined a queue of Cardiff freshers waiting to exit the cave: it was like Everest but underground. Exit time: 15:30 (ish). Time underground: 4 hours (ish). 

Trip Report 2
Trip: OFD top entrance
Time: 3 hours

On the Saturday morning we kitted up a bunch of ladies who had never tried caving before and took them underground to show them around OFD. 

Our group started with a bit of traversing to get comfortable. We then went past the Wedding Cake and down the corkscrew. Along the way, we stopped to marvel at Trident and Judge and had a wander around Swamp Creek. Once we got to Selenite Tunnel there were plenty of fossils and smaller formations to look at so we spent quite a bit of time there. Our next stop was the crystal pool followed by a Frozen River which was our turning back point. Along the way we introduced Sarah to squeezing underneath the boulders, traversing, climbing boulder choke and bridging. On the way back we found a fossils happy face near Maypole Inlet and finished it all of with a look at the Aven before navigating our way back out.

Photos by Sanita Lustika

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