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Hallowe'en Rift, Mendip Hills

Excursions [and other notes] involved in the exploration of Hallowe'en Rift; a cave, so far, formed within Triassic Dolomitic Conglomerate.

The exploration of Hallowe'en Rift was started in 1982 by Trevor Hughes with other members of the Bristol Exploration Club, then during the early 1990's Vince Simmonds and other, mostly, local diggers were active at a number of locations within the cave, including the start of the dig to the 'east' side of the entrance, leading to An Unexpected Development in August 2018, with Graham Johnson in December 1991. The current phase of exploration was commenced in 2009, with the majority of the early work being carried out by Vince Simmonds and Alex Gee, now the regular team also includes Rob 'Tav' Taviner, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Nick Hawkes, Jonathon Riley, Paul 'Brockers' Brock, Roz Simmonds, Duncan Price, Mike Moxon and Matt Tuck. There has been occasional help from others including Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, and several appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasey.

There have been visits from some notable experts in their various fields including: Charlie Self, Andy Farrant, Christopher Smith, Derek Ford, Joyce Lundberg, Don MacFarlane, Marc Luetscher and Gina Moseley. All have added to a better understanding of Hallowe'en Rift.

24th December 2019

digging 2019 Posted on Tue, December 24, 2019 21:25:36


The holes that had been drilled and filled along the rift had been effective and had carved some sizeable slabs of rock from the cave wall. They needed a bit of effort to remove them, i.e. they required some reduction in size. Before this could be done the “bridged” constriction needed some attention. Some hammering, chiselling and levering with the bar the constriction was gone (mostly). Once the bulk of material had been cleared, I managed a couple of metres of forward progress to gain a better look ahead. The upshot…still more work required! At least another 2m or so of passage to be widened, not really a surprise. The narrow rift ahead is covered with calcite flowstone and there’s further evidence for the effects of frost and/or ice freeze/thaw processes. This needs a photographic record.

Did as much clearing as I thought necessary then had a look around to plan the next phase of action. After some consideration maybe it’s time for consolidation and expansion rather than struggling to push too far ahead in the restricted rift. All sorted, time to leave and go to the pub for some lunch.

23rd December 2019

digging 2019 Posted on Tue, December 24, 2019 06:36:47


Back to the Cold Gnarly North for the next application of IRS (Induced Rapid Speleogenesis). Holes drilled and filled in the constriction and along the narrow rift that leads north west beyond the aven. It was a slow process today mostly due to awkward drilling and variable rock; it goes like that sometimes. The late afternoon/evening’s task brought to a satisfactory conclusion with a loud bang and the clatter of mobile rock.

The lake wasn’t quite as deep as it was on Saturday but still deep enough for a soaking. Planning to return tomorrow and clear ready for the next phase. Didn’t stop at the Hunter’s, wanted to get home and sort out kit ready for the next session.