Dachstein, Austria 2000
My introductory trip down G5 was a portering session down as far as we wanted to go. So Tangent and Peter Hübner and myself were to carry a load of kit down to Insane Worms and Gheckos. Peter was carrying a monster sized "Hirlatz" bag, which somehow managed to make its way all the way down to the camp despite its size. He called it a day in the entrance series leaving Tangent "The Mendip Numpty" and myself to carry on without him. This trip proved to be a relatively straightforward carry despite the strange canvas bag, nicknamed "The Slug" and normally resident at the Belfry, that I was portering the kit in. The highlight of the trip turned out to be the dramatic thunderstorm that chased us back to the Wiesberghaus.
We had to bound across the sharp limestone and 'bunda' with only a fading Mightylight to guide us. Apparently a group of cavers were hit by ground lightning in the same area a few years ago. Very reassuring!
My second trip was cut short by the high water levels. Lev Bishop, Rich Gerrish, Tangent and myself were scheduled to do a two day camp and pushing trip. The weather didn't look too good when we set off from the hut and we were soon sopping wet. Tangent bloused straight away at the entrance after having compared the normally dry entrance passage to the sound of the Swildon's streamway. The rest of us pressed on to below the big 47m pitch, Action Reaction, but thoroughly soaked and miserable we decided to dump the kit and head out.
And so to camp...So finally on my third effort it was off to the sharp end. This time I teamed up with Joel to make an 'old duffers' trip. The plan was to cave in over the evening to arrive at camp in time for supper. Things went more or less to plan and despite the hype the caving to be had in G5 is all rather pleasant. Basically its lots of pitches broken up by Mendippy bits. For those not used to such Somerset delicacies, such as the West End, the awkward bits and in particular "Fit For Insane Worms and Gheckos" proved to be most troublesome. As I hadn't been in the cave very far it was fun to hear Joel reel off the names of various sections: Sweaty Betty, Fabada Run, Charlie Don't Surf, The Numpty Trap, Oi Oi Wobble Wobble Thrutch Thrutch etc. My favourite pitch was High Flyers, a fine bit of old fossil passage.
It took about 4hrs to reach camp, which is located on the only flat bit of ground in the cave. A small area of rocks behind a huge boulder had been levelled off in a chamber called the Hall of the Mountain Numpty. It was quite a home from home. As soon as we arrived at camp we came across the detritus of previous residents. Whilst clearing up and looking for something to dump the rubbish in I looked rather too closely at an innocent looking BDH. We soon had everything washed up and had a meal on the go just as the culprits, Lev and Rich, came back from a pushing trip. A delightful supper for 4 was created and so to bed. Well almost except for when Joel managed to roll a large rock onto Lev's leg - it took three of us to lift it off him. Fortunately he only had bruising but Joel cut his hand in the rescue attempt.
Mendip Caving Group. UK Charity Number 270088. The object of the Group is, for the benefit of the public, the furtherance of all aspects of the exploration, scientific study and conservation of caves and related features. Membership shall be open to anyone over the age of 18 years with an interest in the objects of the Group.