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.

9th December 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, December 10, 2017 11:59:55
With Jonathon, Brockers, Nick, and Jake.

At Another Emotional Journey, I took up position in the primary dig, Jonathon assisting and paying some attention to the secondary dig site, Brockers on the slippery slope once more, Nick at the top of the slope and [unofficial] tertiary digger, Jake on the haul and shuttle, spoil was stacked in the entrance.

Initially, I concentrated on removing the spoil from higher-up in the fissure, there has been some undermining and stuff is beginning to fall onto anyone digging below. While I was loosening the spoil, Jonathon was clearing sediment from the potential lead over the top of the fissure. The idea was to keep Nick busy, it didn't quite work, Nick spent his spare moments clearing the passage along Merlin's back to rock.

Working along the fissure, I exposed a small hole that appears to continue, there is a draught of air, possible circulation. In the fissure, is a degraded calcite vein, this also, seems to have some tiny gaps beyond. Looking up to the top of the c.3m high fissure, there is the underside of a false floor containing some shattered stalactites within calcite flowstone. Just as I had cleared away the last of the loose material and we were preparing to head-off to clear the entrance, I asked Jonathon to pass the hammer and chisel, I had noticed a fracture in the left-hand rock wall. A couple of blows and some leverage with a bar, the fractured rock gave way, resulting in a pile of rock and sediment on the floor. More interestingly, the fractured rock seemed to have formed a corner, and now it had been removed, there appears to be a widening of the fissure, negating the requirement for IRS, for the time being, there is plenty of scope for further progress, and potentially in a north to north-east direction.

The pile of debris was left, to be cleared out mid-week and we set-off to clear the entrance. Today's count, 59 bags and a few loads of stones. There remains a pile of rocks at the bottom of the entrance, the priority was to get the bags emptied. It had been another satisfying session.

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