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St. Cuthbert’s Practice Rescue: -

Coral Chamber – Boulder chamber – April 21st 1968.

The second of three practice rescues planned for this year took place on April 21st.

Coral chamber – often visited by tourist parties has seven entrances; all are constricted or menaced by dangerous boulders.  The route for the practice was from the ‘Hole in the Roof’ area in Coral Chamber to the boulders leading to rocky Boulder Chamber.  From rocky Boulder Chamber a rift to the east off the chamber was rigged for hauling to a small boulder chamber below the northwest corner of Boulder Chamber.  A 15ft.pitch was rigged to allow the subject (Keith Franklin) to be hauled up into the Boulder Chamber.

The carry went well until a bank of brittle stalagmites gave way as the team was lowering the ‘subject’ down to the lower part of the chamber.  The remainder of the party remained at the head of the first pitch. A little difficulty was experienced in the boulders near Rocky Boulder Chamber.  Further snags were met when

feeding the ‘subject’ into the small hole at the top of the first pitch.  The haul up the second pitch to the Boulder Chamber presented no problems except a watchful eye was kept on the boulders at the top of this pitch. A few minutes before there had been a small collapse of boulders from the top of the pitch.  The time to carry from Coral Chamber to Boulder Chamber was just over 1½ hours – more experienced party would reduce this time considerably.

Several observations should be mentioned: m-

1.                  Most of the people taking part had not been on either a real or practice rescue before – this is extremely  useful. At some time in the future most if not all will be involved in a rescue of some form.

2.                  Slight modification of the rigging of the first pitch will help reduce the difficulty in feeding the subject through the hole at the top.  A rawlbolt and a pulley would be very useful at this point.

3.                  The top pitch needs ‘gardening’ before hauling.

4.                  The rawlbolts are not a permanent feature of the head of the second pitch.  The bolts will be found in the MRO locker at the Belfry should the occasion arise when they are required.

Dave Irwin

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Quote: -

“You should take up caving professionally Dave.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d pay you to stay underground”

(from MCG Nlt. No.54)