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Report - Catas, November 2010

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Bigjobs, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Bigjobs

    Bigjobs Official Smartarse
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    Write up by Skydiver, pictures by me.

    Sorry about the state of the pics, need a new body :s

    So – 5 nights under Paris!

    Before we set off we had a lot of weighing, unpacking and repacking of bags to do to get them both within the weight limit for the flight – 20kg allowance each, thankfully hand luggage was unlimited so we packed most of the heavy stuff there, and this was before the water!

    On arrival in France we made our way to the shops closest to access, Bigjobs waited with the bags, and started our last topside meal heating in the cans (hot cans; handy but heavy) while I went to buy what seemed like a ridiculously large amount of water – 24 litres, then we started another round of unpacking and repacking to fit what we could of the water in once the waders were out – 1 bottle stayed with the stashed bag, one was finished before we got in, and another few were stashed not far inside. There was just no way it was all going to fit in the bags, they were stupidly heavy. We worked out that Bigjob's bag was somewhere about 7 stone!

    We had been inside no longer than 5 minutes when I took the first (and last) wrong turn of the whole trip, unfortunately this was with the bags at their heaviest – we trudged back from the dead end and continued to the correct turning....

    There was one main aim of this trip, and with that in mind we headed directly for BAS room and gratefully dropped our bags, strung up the hammocks and drank a lot of water (both to rehydrate and to shed weight) after some R&R we started to assess the job in hand, to cut a (Very) long story short, the chess board was carved. It took approximately 8 solid hours of work over 2 days. The black squares were coloured with soot and while Bigjobs finished off, I attempted to carve some pieces. Tiredness and frustration took over after a while and the chess board turned briefly into a checkers board!
    With the board complete (sans pieces) we shouldered our bags again and headed for the North, on the way we stopped by the Castle room, belly crawled through to a hidden room, and then slept up in the North, the sleeping bags we’d bought for the trip were fantastic – total freedom of movement for your arms and you could open the bottom, poke your feel out and walk around :D no more getting cold when you need to pee in the middle of the night!

    The next day we headed back down South, it was Saturday Night, Bigjobs’ birthday, and we knew the South would be the place to be! On the way we stopped off at Philiberts tomb and at the Monks fountain – where nakedness occurred... when we got back to BAS room there were two guys in there already, carving chess pieces! We sat with them, smoked with them and carved with them, they showed us a really cool can stove and in the morning pointed out a few places of interest on the map, including one room they had been creating.

    After a bit of a lie in (I think we left at about 5pm) we set off back towards the North, we checked out the room these guys had been creating; the post room, and another couple of rooms we’d not seen before including a small room filled with smoking paraphernalia and a fantastic little room tucked away called the Nymph’s room, there were a collection of bras hanging from one wall (trophies I presume!) and a couple of skulls in really good shape, the best I’ve seen down here. Exploring the little network around here we found a number of notes and new rooms being created by the Raisin crew.

    We had one last stop at Montsouris room to photograph all the carvings in there before heading off on the trek to our sleeping spot for the night, we missed the hole in the wall we wanted and ended up somewhere off the East side of the map, and then suddenly there were candles, evidence of recent digs and a little further on, voices. We sat with the two people we met here and had a beer and a smoke, like everyone we met underground they were amazed at the length of time we were spending without going back topside, they gave us some more useful information and walked back with us to the hole we needed to squeeze through. From here we went through the most complicated network I have ever encountered, the map doesn’t show it accurately and I’m amazed we managed to navigate it with no mistakes, especially given that this must have been the early hours of the morning and we were exhausted.

    We slept here, the last night underground, left a gift and after the bare minimum of photographs we started the long walk out. We'd originally planned on dong the whole 6 days underground, but in the end, being very low on water, we’d been rationing since the previous day and we had just one bottle to share till we got to the stash by the exit. Despite the lighter bags we were exhausted and aching; we picked the straightest route out and just put our heads down and marched.

    Once out, booked a hotel room for the last night.

    Huge thanks to OT, without the first trip down a month before, wouldn't have thoughtto do it, then the map, without which we would've literally been fucked. lol.

    CHess board
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    And afterwards with pieces.
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    And the some more in no particular order
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    #1 Bigjobs, Jan 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

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