Tuesday, June 19, 2007

From the Breakdown Maze

JR climbing up after reading compass and clino on the edge of Jericho Pit (station #JC6), Fern Cave.

This past Saturday I joined JR and Steve for a little surveying jaunt into the belly of Fern Cave. Last month we finished the major trunk passage of the Lower North that encompassed 13 months of trips. So now we are moving on to close a loop between the West room and the Morgue area. Steve estimated that it would take (I think) 4-5 trips or so, since it will consist of little short shots. Travel time is the big time factor here; We went in the Johnston entrance, down the Blowing hole to the Gold (Eeek! I hate this first part) level canyon, past Helectite Heaven, into the Northwest, through Myrick's Room, and into the West Room - average at 2-1/2 hours of travel time one way. We picked up the survey there in the West Room and set stations across Jericho Pit and into the first part of the Breakdown maze.

I haven't brought my camera on a survey trip in a while. My On Rope 1 pack is so maxed out by the time I shove in the extra Chilli Heads shirts for warmth, extra water and food, my survey notebook, all my vertical gear, along with batteries, an extra light and some small misc items that there's no room to even buckle the darn thing closed. I can only cinch up the drawstring and let the top part hang out like some sort of green bloated creature. Which brings me back to fact I haven't had a camera down in Fern on a survey in some time - so I took advantage of the fact that JR had carried his - and snapped a couple pics and a short video of his first foray into surveying.

A fuzzy picture of Steve holding the blue LED on station #JC8 - heading into the Breakdown Maze area. I was sitting on station #JC7 because it was the flattest most comfortable rock and a good place to sketch the area.

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