Feb 11 13
After being stopped by an inconveniently shaped rock on our last visit to Buxton Water aven Jim and I returned to the top of the aven with sculpture in mind. Higher water levels and the associated increased flow meant we had about half a meter of visibility in the sump. Flooding that had occurred during the week had left the lower walls of the aven covered in a thin layer of slimy mud. The stability of the various ledges had not improved and a cautious assent was made to the top where water could be heard through the hole we briefly looked at last time.
Todays plan was to place Hilti caps in the offending bit of rock and set them off remotely using a firework based technique developed by Jim; this being the only sensible way of shifting rock above head height in a rift. After all the necessary preparations were made I dropped back down the top pitch a hid under the roof arch at the top of the aven. Jim stayed at the top of the pitch but traversed across to a ledge on the other side of the pitch head to avoid any falling rocks. Jim then set the Hilti caps off. They make a satisfying double bang and the noise of falling rocks was heard coming from the rift. We retreated, preferring to let things settle down before inspecting the newly sculpted passage.
A return is planned to inspect the rift within a week or two but things do not look entirely promising at this stage, we will know more after we have had a look. Something that definitely did not help was dropping the drill part of the way down the aven whilst transferring it from one bag to anther. A schoolboy error on my part but hey, what did you expect from a trip on the 13th?
PS. And yes, of course we had several cups of tea.