Since the previous post I have had the chance to follow up on some of the ideas expressed.
First, I looked for the surface spot overlying the end of BR59 Nearby Cave. I expected at least to find a depression or collapse doline, but nothing! However, I’ve since done more careful work on the coordinates, and see that I could have been up to 15m out of position. That doesn’t sound much, but in the Bats Ridge bush density it could mean missing a feature altogether. So I’ll have another look sometime.
While Doug and I were in BR59 last weekend, we could hardly believe how quickly we got to the end and back, with only one point where we hesitated about the route. It’s funny how caves shrink …..
Also on BR59, I looked at a small lead off Hut Cave near the BR80 entrance. It points towards Nearby, as expected, but is hardly a digging prospect. That is a pity, since a Hut-Nearby connection would be really good!
A notable event on last week’s trip was that we went right through Chimney Cave: entered at BR1, passed below the Chimney, and went on to BR56 and 57 entrances. Previously this well-known route has appeared to be blocked, but now it’s obvious and easy. It looks rather like someone has recently re-excavated the connection squeeze.
The final issue to report is my failed attempt to connect BR28 into the River Cave system. As I had long planned, I dangled a rope, with bright pink flagging tape, down BR28’s shaft. While this shaft is, unfortunately, just too small to descend, it can be seen to reach the general base level of the caves. On the following day, at the southern end of BR26 River Cave, I tried excavating through the rubble in an effort to see the hanging rope, which I knew to be less than ten metres away. Unfortunately, after a while, it was roof-supporting blocks that needed to be moved, and that is very unsafe when up-close! Perhaps a gently rope-pull from the other side of the chamber would do the trick, but I have concluded that it is not quite worth the effort: since BR28’s shaft is too tight, a human-trafficable through-trip will not result.
My next target will be BR27. That cave also comes VERY close to BR26, and is worth a serious check-out with a view to connection. I have been in it, but with more knowledge now of both the BR26 and BR27 layouts I will better know where to look.
If anyone has any news or views on such opportunities at Bats Ridge, please write here.