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New finds in Valley Entrance


From the 'terminal' chamber of Cascade Inlet, as described in 'Northern Caves' (Whernside & Tragareth), two notable extensions have recently been discovered.  One of these, a continuation of the thirty foot climb to an inlet on the right hand side of the chamber, is adequately described in 'Descent' No 32.

The other starts off as a muddy and somewhat unstable route through the boulder choke from which the Main Water emerges.  After a short squeeze up through boulders to the right of the stream entry, one enters a small mucky cavern sloping steeply upwards and consisting partly of loose boulders.  Care is needed here, as anything dislodged will funnel straight down into the squeeze. A further climb up through boulders at the top left hand side of this chamber leads to a similar cavern with a mud and boulder strewn floor.  From here, the way on is forward and to the right, dropping down between the boulders into an impressive flat roofed tunnel which continues for a disappointingly short distance before becoming too low.  Tributary streams enter it from impenetrable fissures to the left and right.

The only exit from this tunnel is an obvious inlet on the right at the start of the larger passage. A thrutch over a rocking boulder marks the beginning of this fine meandering stream trench, which is about four feet high and has some large blocks at intervals which create some interesting crawls at roof level.  Finally, in a small sandy chamber, the roof dips sharply to tight bedding with two miniature rock arches creating an interesting tight duck for about three feet. Beyond this, a short tube followed by a squeeze leads to a high passage at right angles.  This continues under a high chamber with a washed out shale band containing many fine straws.  It then swings to the left and for a very short distance resumes the proportions of the earlier stream trench.

Here, the way forks. To the left, one enters an area of bedding and boulder chaos, the threshold of which is blocked by a magnificent static pool of crystal-clear water.  Reflected in this is a delightful array of straws.  No doubt, this will not be allowed to remain like it is for long.

The right fork of the passage is the main route consists of a rift, sloping steeply upwards through mud and over boulder obstacles until, after levelling out for a short way, the passage abruptly chokes.  At this point the stream is once again encountered, trickling down through pools in a high rift which joins the passage at right angles.  Traversing at different levels becomes increasingly difficult as the slippery walls of the rift begin to close in.  Eventually, it becomes too tight.

It would appear that this passage ends in a region somewhere near Thorny Pot and, apart from adding on a sizeable chunk to the already varied and extensive West Kingsdale system, it will be an inviting prospect for further exploration, with the possibility of pushing a route through to a top entrance, thus creating yet another through trip in the system.

Dave Metcalfe.