Logbook entry: final Warren survey trip (2009-12-19) at Warren Cave

About happenings on Dec. 19, 2009, Aaron Curtis wrote:

After a morning of posing and strutting around for the BBC in Hut Cave, Nial & Aaron set off to finally finish Warren cave, after several days of planning to do so.

[SPOILER ALERT!] Miraculously, they did! [SPOILER ALERT!]

The snow bridge at the entrance had accumulated several feet of snow in just a few of days, so that it was nearly touching the roof of the cave and at first entry looked impossible. The handline that had been used in the past for traversing the snow bridge when it was less precarious had been completely buried. Nial kicked away some snow and made the near vertical snow descent between the two deep voids looks easy. Aaron followed with trepidation.

Soon, car battery (hacked to 6V with drill and tap) in hand, they were at the datalogger at Vent 1. The plan was to replace the battery for the Telaire CO2 sensor attached to the HOBO logger. Unfortunately, the barrel connector rigged to the battery didn't power the sensor. Condition possibly related to steppage on (and subsequent repair) by Bill M the night before.

On to the pushing front, where the tripod and transit were waiting. The transit box had grown ~1cm hoarfrost crystals, but looked fine inside. The tripod, however, had been left under a drift and one leg was encased in an impressive icicle. The remaining part of this icicle was dubbed the Tripod Icicle, AKA the Tricycle.

The main passage curved back to the true left and then uphill and connected back to itself by the datalogger as expected. The remaining passage at the previous lowest point turned into a series of cold chambers filled with mounds of hoarfrost apparently fallen from the ceiling. Nial & Aaron became jaded with the neverending procession of enormous A and C-axis crystals which constantly blocked their path and the area was duly named the Hoar House.

After the Hoar House was a larger chamber which connected back to the day's pushing front.

A couple of long legs to the true left twin of the main passage killed it. Near the end was a prodigious hot gas vent, warmer and faster than any Nial or Aaron had seen on any Erebus cave so far. Nial checked CO2, but it maxed out the yellow CO2 meter (1% by volume). A couple more legs were shot and N & A beat a quick retreat for the entrance pitch.

Nial whinged on the way up. Aaron commiserated, because Nial's sorry excuse for a string kit, cobbled together from BFC gear, was very poor indeed.

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