Hallowe'en Rift, Mendip Hills

Excursions [and other notes] involved in the exploration of Hallowe'en Rift; a cave, so far, formed within Triassic Dolomitic Conglomerate.

The exploration of Hallowe'en Rift was started in 1982 by Trevor Hughes with other members of the Bristol Exploration Club, then during the early 1990's Vince Simmonds and other, mostly, local diggers were active at a number of locations within the cave, including the start of the present dig with Graham Johnson in December 1991. The current phase of exploration was commenced in 2009, with the majority of the early work being carried out by Vince Simmonds and Alex Gee, now the regular team includes Rob 'Tav' Taviner, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Nick Hawkes, Matt Tuck, Jonathon Riley, Paul 'Brockers' Brock, Roz Simmonds, Duncan Price and Mike Moxon. There has been occasional help from others including Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, with regular guest appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasy.

28th July 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, July 29, 2018 09:13:56

With Alex, Jonathon, Jake and Brockers.

Alex digging, lowering the floor of the rift to be able to get into the passage beyond. Meanwhile, there was a backlog of spoil to shift from Thursday’s activities. I loaded the skip to Jonathon who hauled it along to the sit-up chamber, there he transferred the load to another skip hauled by Jake to the slope. Jake then man-handled the load up the slope, into another skip down to Paul on the haul and shuttle. Pouring a little water down the passage makes the skip hauling much easier. The spoil was stacked at the bottom of the entrance to be removed later.

Eventually, Alex made enough room to gain access to the low passage and make some forward progress. Filling a couple of bags then dragging them back, sometimes with a few stones too, and passed them up to me in the rift where the spoil was dispatched on its journey to the entrance pile.

At the end of the session, I swapped places with Alex to have a look at the dig. Wriggled forward over some lumpy sediment, brushed loose stuff aside and gained another couple of metres in the low, but wide, passage. Can’t really see the full extent to the left and ahead, a lot more clearance required, but to the right it does appear roomier, in-line with the east/west rift. There is a big stal boss on the floor and I think some cryogenic crystals on the roof – need my specs to see properly, next session, bring the camera too.

It was time to make our way out of the cave and to clear the pile of bags and rocks from the entrance. Thirty-nine bags were hauled out and emptied, Jon had used a couple to fill holes along the haul route to ease the passage of the skip. There were lots of rocks too, but no-one was counting, at least thirty probably. Plenty of wall building material now available. It had been another good session, but not the passage gained as hoped, still plenty to do.

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