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Edmund's Chamber~ Wookey - Further Notes

By John Cordingley (CPC/CDG)

Pete Glanvill wrote a superb article in the February 1998 Belfry Bulletin giving information about various high level possibilities available for further work by cave divers. On page 10 he briefly describes some passages reached by a long climb above Edmund's Chamber.  The ascent to the water surface here is one of the most impressive bits of diving in Britain and the huge aven soaring above is certainly very inviting.  However - a word of caution wouldn't go amiss.  Andy Goddard, Russell Carter and I went there in 1989 and I got "volunteered" to de-kit and go and have a look at the high level dry stuff (see C.D.G. Newsletter No 93, page 35).  I free climbed most of it next to the in situ rope but had to put a jammer on it to protect the final overhanging moves up to the passage.  On arrival at the top the rope was found to be fastened to a single 8mm bolt which was finger tight and would only go in two and a half turns.

Pete had invited us to go and take a look at this area of Wookey and I passed a boulder restriction at the previous limit to explore about another 9m of crawl in a small sloping bedding plane to where it got too low.  It's almost certainly a bang job and there was nothing obvious to aim for and no really convincing draught.  All that remained was to get back down safely which was slightly problematic in that I'd been assured that I could abseil back to water level.  There was no way I was going to trust that bolt and so free climbing back was the only option.  This was eventually managed after several worrying moments but was far from easy. I don't know if anyone has been and sorted out this rope but if not, the next visitors to this particular section would be well advised to ignore the existing rope and re-climb the aven from scratch.  If you rely on the rope and that bolt fails you could fall almost 30m.  There - my conscience is clear ... !