1964

Introduction

As no official Pegasus Club logs exist for 1964, the only extent records for that year are selected extracts taken from a personal diary, along with added recollections, provided by Ian Curphey.

Reason being, that Ian, who was an active ‘Founding’ member of the ‘Sale Caving Club’ based in Cheshire, applied and was accepted to join the Pegasus Caving Club’s first (1964) Expedition to the Gouffre Berger, France and as a consequence attended organised expedition training meets which were mostly held in Yorkshire (caves) and Snowdonia, Wales (climbing) and kept brief diary notes of these events.

All the diary extracts (below) are reproduced verbatim and it is conceivable that not all the events were actually Pegasus Club organised as it must be appreciated that it is 56 years since they took place and therefore rather ‘memory testing’.

I am most grateful to Ian for taking the time and trouble to put this information together and allowing it to be historically recorded here else otherwise it may be lost.

Cheg Chester, January 2022

Notes:-

(i)  ‘Nashy’ refers to Keith Nash, a ‘Sale Caving Club’ member who also joined the Pegasus.

(ii)  Text shown thus […….] are explanatory notes added by Cheg Chester 2022.

(iii)  Ian's diary does not contain his time as a member on the 1964 Pegasus Club first Expedition to the Gouffre Berger, but his separately written recollections of that event, with illustrations, can be seen in full   Here 

64 Ian Curphy.jpg

Ian Curphey 1964

Curphy Ian.jpg

Ian Curphey (more recent)

 
The Diary

16th Feb (1964) Easgill


Tackle required x 2 25ft wire tethers
Complicated system diligence required for route finding:  worse places
Eureka Junction:- Where stream goes under bedding plane take top dry passage leave cairn where stream is rejoined.

Turn right upstream for Easgill, stream again goes under. Take crawl passage out of cavern where stream sinks and rejoin stream in vertical stream passage. This crawl can be hard to find on return journey.
Proceed upstream to Holbreck Junction, drop through hole in the floor to stream turn upstream to tight boulder ruckle. Good Formations.
At end of near series Poetic Junction. Narrow crawl inside wall. Other passage is short way out.



 

23rd (Feb 1964)  Quaking Pot

Entrance small crawl on right hand side of shakehole. Direct entry via stream impassable.
Right hand shakehole contains 35ft (approx.) pitch with tight entrance blocked by boulders at the bottom. Care needed for descent due to loose top.
Location:- proceed off Ingleton – Hawes road up to farm at CRINA BOTTOMS. Follow valley on to top of lead Mine Moss shakeholes on the left.
A long tether (40ft) is ESSENTIAL for belay on 90ft pitch.

From information received:- 1st pitch = 30ft.  2nd pitch = 25ft.  3rd pitch (large) 90ft.  4th pitch = 25ft


 

1st March (1964)  Dowber Gill Passage – Providence Pot

Big John got struck in blasted crawl and trapped. Bill Morton C.R.O. called by Trog to get him out. Bad Do.
Traverse in Dowber Gill are the worst ever difficult to find and a damm site harder to do. After traversing at various levels a tight high level traverse gives access to the stream. Through the window and up to the Terrible Traverse. Towards the end of the Terrible Traverse it is necessary to crawl. A V Diff climb follows giving access to Gypsum Traverse followed by Hardy’s Horror a long swing onto a wooden stemple. Climb down and then up again to a hole in the floor. Tight wriggle down hand hold block and a 10ft drop into the stream. Through the duck (can be a syphon) and follow stream to Dow Cave. Follow water out of Dow.
Photograph taken at Stalagtite Corner.


Providence Pot.  In Valley about 1 mile away from Dow Cave.

Pot in River Bed with Iron Bar across the top. Drop down into small gravel floored chamber with stream in it. Turn left behind a flake into large passage. Follow passage until large boulder fall is encountered. Climb to the top of Boulder Fall into chamber. Blasted crawl can be recognised by the upward right hand turn near the beginning and also by pool of muddy water halfway through. Blasted crawl gives access to chambers take left hand crawl into small stream passage this gives access to Dowber Gill passage at Stalagmite Corner. (see previous page)

Photographs taken in Dowber Gill quite good. Expose in future as per instructions on Flash packet. Atlas Blue Bulbs Very good for underground photography.

 

Manchester Hole

 

If stream does not “go” from stream encounted on Sunday 15th. Try roof passage that Greenway tried.
Definitely Overgraded. Diff. at most.


 

Oxlow

 

Opened by BSA  3,000ft passage and 600ft deep. Oxlow Nettle Mountbattens closed by farmer except BSA  20-3-64  (Verified by Clive Pollot 24-3-64)

 

Berger Treasurer:-


Paid    R.M. DAKIN            £5
          16 ACTON RD.        £8
          ARNOLD                £8
          NOTTS                  £30


 

Dan-yr-Ogof


After the last of the 4 lakes climb up into a large passage and climb out of this where a large stalagmite is seen on the left. This leads into chamber with well decorated roof aven follow this chamber and climb up into the terminal boulder chamber. Passages radiate off in all directions with large chambers and good formations. When wading the lakes keep to the walls.

 

Idwal Slabs

 

Ordinary route goes up the widest crack. Well troged last pitch could be avoided. Holy Tree Wall is directly in line with the top of the slabs

Tryfan the “egg” on the ordinary can be avoided by climbing the pinnacle and dropping down above the “egg”



 

27 April     New Cave

[The following entry is reproduced here as it incorporates a map of sorts to indicate the whereabouts of the 'New Cave']

Curf New Pot jpeg 15.JPG 2.JPG

26th April     Disapointment Pot


Tight passage for about 800ft into small chamber. Low crawl over stones (the Portcullis) leads to short canal and a duck. Right passage similar to Crab Walk in Giants traversing sometimes easier the following the stream to 1st pitch belay to spike 25ft followed by 2nd 25ft belay round large flake pitch only 15ft but there was no belay further down. 3rd pitch 30ft with waterfall 4th pitch 25ft could be done on a rope to head of 5th pitch 50ft with waterfall leads into large chamber down through the boulders at the bottom into the main stream passage. Past the junction with Hensler’s onto the final sump. Very easy to find the way. The only difficulty lies in the rather awkward tight sections. Altogether a 1st class cave well worth a return trip.

1st 2 pitches shown on some surveys can be climbed ie pitches before the canal.


 

Weekend in Snowdonia leave Friday Night


SATURDAY  Llanberis Pass Flying Buttress. Hard Difficult (Classic Route) 300ft.


SUNDAY  Cwm Idwal   Hope (slabs Route) followed by Lazarus Very Difficult on Holy Tree Wall. ON continuation Wall The Arete V.Diff to the Upper Cliffs the Central Arete.
Hope 270’        The Arete 70’
Lazarus 70’      The Central Arete 300’

 


31st May     Eldon Hole


 Blasting. ½lb Dynamite was fired electrically from the main chamber. The size of the boulder was about 5ft square but the first blast did not remove it completely.

 

23rd June     Marble Steps. Gragarth S.P.


Situated in coppice on Hillside. Large entrance. Climb down to steep section fixed rope. (120ft) 1 section needs a ladder. at the bottom of the steps turn sharp corner into passage (don’t go down the scree) through into Chamber way on is at floor level on the left follow this until crabwalk type fissure is met. Holes in floor. Belay ladder to head of first fissure but go down the second 25ft into Aven rift. Down to 100ft pitch. Belay ladder round chockstone (long tether). After the 100ft down the rift into small chamber 35 foot ladder Belayed through eyehole through a flake. Last pitch could be done on rope or 25ft ladder. Low stream passage upstream just goes tight with an abundance of flood debris. Downstream leads to deep canal. This could be traversed but the passage ahead looks very restricted. A return line should be used on the 100ft pitch.

 

14th July     Trips to be relished upon returning from France

Lofthouse  Goyden & New Goyden
Dowber Gill (Prov through trip)
Flood Entrance   Stream Pass
Walking in Snowdonia
New West on Pillar Rock
Scotland (Christmas)


 

21st July     Requirements for Berger


2 Kit Bags
4lb Halfords Carbide
4 4½ Volt Batteries
Washing Equipment?
Pro Nylon Laces  (FA Morlium III)
Small Air Bed


 

29th July     2nd Pinnacle Rib Tryfan

 

A fairly good climb (Hard Difficult) one or two nice pitches Stances numerous everything is there. No sweat whatsoever Hardest moves are at the start of the pitches.

4th August

 

At last we are nearly ready for the off. I’m rearly ready for it now Its bloody murder hanging about waiting. I have had some aprhensions about this jaunt but now its here it’s a cert to go well.

[I assume this is a reference to The Gouffre Berger]

 

8th to 21st August     Berger

[As previously mentioned, Ian's diary does not contain his time as a member on the 1964 Pegasus Club first Expedition to the Gouffre Berger, but his written recollections of that event, with illustrations, can be seen in full   Here 

24th & 25th August     La Berade

Leave from La Berade on a path left of a river going upstream towards La Pilate glacier (Terminal). Past a refuge and along the valley. Turn right for refuge Ecrins. Up past it on a well defined track over a scree field to the bottom of the Temple Glacier. Traverse the glacier to the Col de la Temple easily recognised on the right of the twin peaks of the Pic Coolidge. From the col drop down about 500ft to the bivi hut. Next day climb back to the col and climb on rock and snow to the summit snowfields leave the axes and rock climb to the first summit. Rope required (advisable) for the final pitch. Return the same route to La Berade A Good Trip.

[Further information and photographs about this trip can be seen]  Here 
 

Berger tackle list.JPG

Berger Observations

Weight of equipment must be cut down ie lightweight pulleys Half weight rope. Carbide should be allocated to each man this would avoid wastage and carbide would be a personal carry.


Ladders should be rolled tightly and packed in the smallest possible bags for each pitch, it would be easier to carry 2 small bags than 1 large one.


Bags must be extremely strong (ie army “rocket” bags or small kit bags sacking is not sufficient.


Food supplies should be worked out very carefully and supplies with out being soul destroying be as light as possible.

Always bearing in mind that the more energy you expend taking your food in the more of your food you eat.

Food should be packed with great care (No breakages can be afforded if you are drastic with the amount of food you take in).


Petrol cookers should be used not parrafin less fuel would be required due to the higher heating value of petrol over paraffin. (NOT TRUE USE PARAFFIN)


Advance laddering parties should be small and highly efficient carrying only ladders ropes and a small amount of food / man as a safety factor.

Ordinary tents if used should be small, Bivouak sheets would suffice.


Heavy foodstuffs should be avoided as much as possible (ie tinned goods) but without destroying the desire to eat.

 

When the kit has been planned try living on it at home for a week and see how you feel.


Some luxurys should be taken but as a personal carry.


The smaller the amount of equipment the faster you move.


Parties entering or leaving the cave should be small 4 or 5 strong is plenty.


Photographic equipment should not be austentatious to the extent that it becomes a burden to use it (or carry it)


Foodstuffs like Porridge Pom Soup Powder etc Should be packed in strong lightweight containers (Not Polythene Bags which are useless.


With regards to half weight rope for lifelining use a karabiner or an abseil bar to increase the friction if you are cold or tired.

The Saving in weight, even on rope is well worth while.


Inginuity should be shown in the handling of ropes and ladders. All care should be taken to avoid a clag up which might take hours to untangle (Aldo’s 64 a right mess)


To work until you become exhausted is highly dangerous and you don’t recover to quickly. Its not worth it.


Belays in the Berger should be checked before and whilst they are being used. Some of them are mank. Ladder climbed by an average member to camp 1 (just past) = 3,000feet. This should be cut down with planning.

 

19th September     Simpsons Pot (proposed through trip)


1st 3 pitches do not require handline unless water is very bad. Aven pot is very wet lifeline essential. Slit pot could not be climbed unless water was very low (compared with 19th) An extra 30ft of ladder is required to do Swinstows last pitch. 11 ladders altogether 5 ropes would be useful.

26th Sept     Flood Entrance

 

2nd hole on the right of the path from Bar [Pot]
First pitch 75ft. 2nd pitch 50ft 3rd pitch 140 ft.
New Henslers turn right out of flood into the crawl take right passage out of junction. Turn left at T junction and then follow the obvious way to Henslers Passage. Disappointment pot.

11th Oct     Blayshaw Gill Pots

1st one on the left side of the bank looking upstream. Big one on the Right hand wall.
1st one requires 25ft ladder to get to the bottom. Small passages and tight grovels quite sporty. Top passage gained by traversing off the entrance ladder. Quite a long passage with a large silt filled chamber at the end. We have a promise of being able to visit the Big one in the near future.

 

1st November     Grange Rigg S.S.P.

Don Rod Mick Nashy Roy Self.
Went down at 12-15 and I assume the cave was in good condition (water wise) Short stream passage leads to 1st pitch 50ft. water can be stopped if you sit in the stream. Fairly easy going to the second pitch 25ft very restricted. follow the stream were possible, crawling traversing to the 3rd pitch 25ft 4th pitch follows immediately 40ft damp. Very tight fissure traversed at the widest point leads to small chambers and various boulder chokes. Way on obvious squirming through tight bolder ruckles into good passage with beautiful formations helictites stalagmites and straw. Last two pitches are after the boulder ruckles. 5th pitch 20ft can be climbed no tackle required. Last pitch 25ft into fissure passage with boulder choke at the end. Quite a sporting trip.  4 Hours


 

8th November     Oxlow new series

 

The passage starts on the right hand wall of the last chamber (fixed ladder) long crawl hands and knees with various smaller passages leading off probably oxbows. After N yards a large aven is reached with a small amount of water running. Passage continues under a flake where it widens out into a reasonable passage. Soon follows a 20ft pitch which in turn leads to a low passage containing water stream passage joined at this point. Upstream leads to  a waterfall which had been scaled and a ladder left in place, at the top crawl passages, quite long but eventually they become blocked.


Downstream passage leads into fairly spacious cavern with a very steep descent then levels out to the final sump. Shattered [passage over the sump may be worth attention.


Many holes in the roof and obvious tributary passages to be explored. A reasonable trip which would be more pleasant if knee pads were worn.

 

14th November     Jingling Cave & Rowten Cave


Very easy to find (near the Pots of the same name) A rope would be useful in the bottom section of Rowten due to the large amount of water.

15th November     Ireby Cavern

 

Roy Nashy Jeff Rod & Self
In large shakehole on Ireby Fell. Follow wall from Marble Steps cross wall at the end turn ½ left onto open moor.
Descend through boulders to 1st pitch Rawlbolt belay. 2nd pitch 30ft Rawlbolt belay. Go down the right hand side of the flake and round a corner to a 50ft pitch Stemple belay large passage with many formations leads to short pitch 15ft (rope) follow stream to top of 5th pitch ladder advisable 25ft (belay to stemple) Stream passage continues to large cavern and aven. Rope or ladder required to descend 15ft pot which leads to the final section of the cave. Very sporting trip. Best done in Bad weather (More Water)



 

28th November     Providence Pot – Dow Cave

 

Through trip No in Party 10
Tackle required 30ft old knotted rope.
Although I had done this trip before I missed my way quite a few times.
When in Prov ascend the boulders to a mank aven way on is under the aven.
Left hand passage from the chamber after the blasted crawl.
The passage way is complex. Take the most obvious line. Traverse as far as possible then drop into the stream. It could be dodgy if descent made too early.


Terrible traverse. When eventually it is necessary to crawl along the traverse watch for false floor that gives access to gypsum traverse. If you miss it you can get through by dropping into the stream and climbing straight up to the Gypsum Traverse. But its bloody hard. The drop through the roof after Hardy’s Horror should be taken carefully. There is another way through which may be worth finding. I believe it is easier. See Sunday 1st March Feb – March Notes.