Stop Press - Carno Adit

On September 26th, myself and Adrian Paniwnyk were invited on a digging trip into Carno Adit with Charles Bailey of Brynmawr Caving Club. Charles had been digging a choke in Car Crusher passage for a number of weeks, but due to the lengthy nature of the trip had had problems with raising volunteers. Just near the dig itself, a very narrow draughting slot approximated at about 20ft deep had been un-successfully attempted, and so Charles suggested that I might take a look. Pushing down the squeeze, I finally managed to drop into a rift passage heading away in two directions. Being by myself, I only undertook a limited exploration at the time, but the passage seemed to continue south over a large pit in the floor, and also northwards back up another climb to where I could hear the muffled sounds of the other two digging. Returning to the base of the tight slot, Adrian managed to finally join me and we then both struggled back up the squeeze.

The following weekend, both Adrian and myself dropped through the vertical squeeze ('Neil Moss'), climbed north, and located the other end of the squeeze ('Floyd Collins') where we could see Charles hammering. Despite several hours of work, we were still unable to get Charles through, and so we agreed that Adrian and myself should further examine the extension. The next two hours saw us explore over 250m of passage with the most promising lead being a walking size fossil canyon that appeared to be getting larger the further we proceeded. Deciding that it would be unfair on Charles to continue, we returned to him and exited after eight hours underground.

A tantalising delay of several weeks went by before we could continue exploration due ironically to the wettest October on record occurring. On the weekend of 23rd October, the three of us again pushed up 'Car Crusher North', having finally re-arranged 'Floyd Collins' so that Charles could get through. A further 250m of passage was added to that explored so far, but by the end of the nine hour trip no obvious leads were left, although there were small tubes, climbs and several minor inlets that warranted another look.

The day after the hugely enjoyable bonfire night and pig roast saw the three of us again (plus Hugh Jones) start knocking off the leads in Car Crusher North. A few more metres were added but as no going lead was located, an area named 'True Grit' was returned to at the very end of the main rift. This passage initially started quite small and ended in a small chamber containing an inlet and a flat out watery crawl. Pushing on up the crawl, a by-pass was found to the worst section and another 150m of passage was found. The current end is at two avens both of which have been climbed but finish in boulder chokes.

The estimated length of the new passages is thought to be around 600-700m and mostly trends north-north west. A full survey of the extension is now being undertaken.

Paul Stacey