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.

8th August 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Thu, August 09, 2018 07:05:54

With Roz, Nick, Mike, Tav, Jon, Brockers, Duncan and Alex.

Photographs by Roz.

A big group assembled tonight but, plenty of room in the cave. Between us we dragged enough kit to rig several pitches. Nick leading the way followed by Mike and Roz, the rest of us were in the cave on Saturday when the breakthrough was made. They were impressed.

At the rift, Nick and Mike descended to the jammed boulder, while Brockers and I put in a bolt and tied-off another hand-line (later, a ladder was put in place). We then descended to the jammed boulder, bolted and rigged a ladder and line for the descent to the bottom of the rift. Nick descended first. From the bottom of the ladder, a steeply sloping floor goes down northwards. The floor is comprised of very loose, very shattered calcite flowstone and other formations, probably the result of earth movements (or frost shatter). The way on is choked, more digging will be required yet. We spent some time removing several boulders, cobbles and gravel, a gap can be seen and there is good air movement. We can remain optimistic.

Meanwhile, Duncan and Tav were surveying the latest discovery, c.50m of passage, this brings recent progress to c.90m, good going!

When the team had had their fill, photo’s taken, it was time to exit. It’s a proper caving trip now. To the Hunter’s for refreshments, of course.

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