DYO – In search of the Pinnacle Series

On Sunday we ventured into Dan Yr Ogof in search of the Pinnacle Series. On our previous trip to DYO we’d passed an entrance to the series and acknowledged that a return trip was likely. We were looking forward to playing in the ‘The Playground’ and admiring the walls of the ‘Painted Chamber’.

To make swift progress we decided to wear wetsuits which would enable us to swim through the Green Canal instead of taking the longer route through the bypass or the higher, slower route above the canal in the rift. Brendan reckoned that this would save us at least 20 minutes! Richard and I still question whether wearing wetsuits actually did save us 20 mins, given that:

  1. it took at least 10 mins to squeeze into the quite old and slightly small wetsuits.
  2. the extra physical effort of wearing a wetsuit whilst climbing, crawling and walking most certainly slowed our progress by 10 minutes.
  3. it took at least 10 mins and the help of Richard to remove said wetsuit.

Anyway, since Richard had spent the previous evening mending the 25 cm wide tear in the rear of his wetsuit, we weren’t going to opt for furry suits at this point. When we saw the water level in the Lakes (the first wet bit in the cave) I was additionally happy that I had chosen to wear mine. Do you recall the Lakes? well it is a 3 m wide passage that on Sunday was neck deep in water with quite a significant flow. Normally one shuffles up one side of the passage and then at the well-chosen spot crosses to the other side without putting ones foot in the deep channel in the middle of the passage – the problem being that you have no idea where this is. This is less important when wearing a wetsuit because you are more buoyant and don’t mind getting wet! However, my leap of faith didn’t exactly go to plan because the flow rate was such that I couldn’t get my feet on the floor again, so I ended up hanging onto the opposite wall of the cave until Richard managed to sink my legs somehow.

After the Lakes we headed for the evil little climb. It was on this climb that Richard’s rear proved to be too large for his newly stitched wetsuit….. I think this will be the wetsuit’s last trip.

Anyway, the Green Canal was enjoyed by … eerrr me … and then after the Rising and the descent up and down on ropes (which is hardwork wearing a rather warm wetsuit) we arrived at Pinnacle Chamber. Remember we pass through here just the other week.

The Pinnacle Series was located directly above and to the right of Pinnacle Chamber. Richard climbed up a tube that was the obvious way into the Series, but we didn’t follow because the climb was a bit tricky at the bottom and Richard dislodged a rock that didn’t exactly fill us with confidence to follow on. We were sure that there was another easier route into the series, so we allowed Richard to make his way through the upper series and then we walked the bottom series with the proviso that we would meet back at Pinnacle Chamber in 30 mins. We hunted and hunted for the way up from the bottom and called to Richard regularly, to no avail. After 30 mins we arrived back at Pinnacle Chamber and found that Richard had only been able to progress in that direction for a miniscule distance because there was another slightly tricky rope climb that he wasn’t going to scale alone. So, we helped Richard down and then again went in search of the missing link from further up the passage. This passage, called North Bypass, was fairly pretty, which was good because we never found the other entrance and so we weren’t able to play in The Playground or admire the Painted Chamber. We did spend about 2 hours in that chamber searching though …. so we gave it our best shot.

Rachel at North Bypass
Richard at North Bypass
Shaun at North Bypass
North Bypass

All pictures are courtesy of Brendan who took his small camera this time … with only 3 flash guns …

Maybe next time, after a few more discussions with other cavers we’ll find the way in. But, before we do, I must cut the arms of the wetsuit off at the elbow and the legs of the wetsuit off above the knee. That would make life so much more comfortable.

3 thoughts on “DYO – In search of the Pinnacle Series”

  1. You left out playing bumper boats in the Green Canal on the way back!

    Despite our failure to find the Pinnacle Series (or to be more precise, our reluctance to mess around on the somewhat dodgy climb up to it without our SRT gear), this was a fun trip. The stream passage on the Great North Road is fantastic, and we had some fun poking around in some obscure side passages that aren’t well mapped on the survey. I’d like to go back sometime and investigate at least one continuing passage I found that isn’t on the survey. I suspect it’s been visited, but don’t know how well it’s been explored.

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