Ogof Igam-Ogam - History Of Exploration

From the Godre Pentre Log Book

1st April 1988

On a walk along the bed of the Little Neath River I entered a hole in the western bank about 1/4 mile down from Cwm Pwll y Rhyd. After a tortuous crawl across some very clean crystal pools, approximately 200ft of stream passage was explored to a small sump/duck. This might possibly be passable in dry weather.

Adrian Paniwnyk

7th May 1988

Visited Paniwnyk's hole with a large quantity of garden hose with which to syphon it. A very nice cave but extremely aquatic. This one probably needs a diver.

Paul Stacey, Adrian Paniwnyk

10th May 1988

Inspired by descriptions of brand new cave passage and undived sumps I came up with Hugh Penny with intentions of looking at and possibly diving sump in Paniwnyk's Cave . . . . Prolonged sharp cold 9rovel to end proved difficult but did not dive due to advancing hour. Portered in a full 45 (cuft air bottle) which I have left in main chamber with intention of returning to dive in next fortnight. An excellent cave if very sharp - seems to drop a considerable vertical distance before hitting sump. I am not very optimistic of dry passage easily obtainable beyond.

Malcolm Stewart

12th May 1988

Assisted by Pete Bolt I solo dived the terminal sump to find passage continues much as before only underwater of course) and contrary to expectations did not descend steeply. Progressing cautiously feet first in variable viz. (1ft-0ft) passed two air bells - the first a long breathable one, the second low and round - just before a 9ft pot with a slight squeeze at the bottom. After 55ft (tagged line) surfaced feet first in small pool and wriggled out into narrow (in diving kit) rift continuing on downwards dry. Whole sump is perched/hanging. Will it be possible to siphon it down the s far end? . . . . Watch this space! - Sumps to be called "Waters of Lethe'.

Malcolm Stewart

17th May 1988

Returned to sump with assistants, Hugh Penny and Pete Bolt . . . . Rift rapidly descends 6ft vertically and then develops horizontally for 25ft. (This drop means that it would probably be possible to siphon out most of the Waters of Lethe.) Predictably the passage ended at Sump 2 . . .

Entered feet first with both line reel and bottle hand held. Sump 2 roomier than sump 1 and holds a straighter line. 30ft dive to rift air bell and short duck lead to end of sump pool - 40ft line laid in total. Left kit and continued down stooping and very nicely carved clean washed passage. After about 40ft this terminated at Sump 3. Free-diving suggested an airspace not far ahead but this was not reached. Retreated up cave making appropriate measurements. From the bottom end of Sump 2 to the start (upstream end) of Waters of Lathe seems all to lie N/S. The cave seems to swing slightly West beyond the end of Bump 2. Pete dived Sump 1 to view Sump 2 and was also impressed. The cave does look very promising at this time. Pete and Hugh took many photo's. Changed by 12:10 am.

Malcolm Stewart

21st May 1988

A surveying and exploratory dive trip, also a trial syphoning of first sump . . ..Dived into Swap 3 head first in excellent viz, and surfaced almost immediately (~8ft?) in a continuation of the crawlway . Immediately the passage starts cutting down narrow and rifty with frequent corners trending West. Climbing down 40ft(?) brings one out through the roof/wall of a large chamber in very shattered quartz veined rock, unlike that of the previous passage. Shape very irregular perhaps 25ft wide max. by 30ft high. Eventually followed water dribble to base of chamber amongst loose rock to find unpromising crawl only way on. Now going North and West this developed into a more promising passage for 50ft(?) entering a larger passage at a corner. Left went roughly square sectioned 6ft high by 8ft wide and 45ft to a mud bank and corner to left. Corner guarded by some large stalactites 3ft long with passage visible beyond - the "Flying Pickets". Did not push this as would like to get some photos of mud floor in pristine condition. Returned to junction and went right. This passage, although large for 20ft, quickly goes very low and wide; squeezing and wriggling and crawling on a wet mud floor. Passage line seems to be almost due North; gave up after 150ft at a lower wetter looking, section. Paul Stacey, Adrian Paniwnyk, Carl Gibbs and Hugh Penny did a survey approaching BCRA grade 5 of cave up to Sump 1. Some photo's also taken. Sump 1 had dropped 5" after 3 hours siphoning. Entire perched swap series 1, 2 & 3 to be known as Waters of Lathe. Sump 3 is an easy free dive, could also be easily totally syphoned. Attempt will be made to remove the Waters of Lathe for a period to allow surveying and exploration. Guesstimate of total explored passage now 630ft.

Malcolm Stewart

25th May 1988

Solo trip in with 50ft of hosepipe to replace 30ft in Sump 1. Despite rain in last few days previous siphon had considerably lowered water levels in this - a duck now reaches the long rift airbell and a step down to the top of "the pot". At the far end of the sump the water level has been dropped by about 5ft. Took the 50ft hose through Sump 1 and attempted to start new siphon but could not get it to work. Took 30ft hose through Sump 2 and started to siphon this but this will not do much good as there is a shallow bit in Sump 2 and hosepipe is too short . . . . A pump, generator and cable is being investigated for forthcoming weekend.

Malcolm Stewart

27th/28th May 1988

Diving with Pete Bolt …. All gour pools throughout the cave full to overflowing but Sump 1 still surprisingly low . . Pete took some photo's at far end of Sump 2 . . Sump 3 IS an excellent free dive. At breakdown chamber definitely a small flow of water entering amongst boulders and a pool at the squeeze at the bottom of the chamber. Went left at T-junction into larger passage to "Flying Pickets". More photo's of boots going into Virgin mud. Pushed in behind "Flying Pickets" to where passage seems to bifurcate around mud banks. Very muddy inlet still going and needing to be pushed . . returned and pushed long, low, wide passage going North through some tight and very unpleasant sections with revolting mud. THIS LOWER SECTION OBVIOUSLY SUMPS TO THE ROOF AND GREAT CARE WILL HAVE TO TAKEN. Beyond passage enlarged and went to big walking size with large formations but everything totally mud coated. More photo's. Pete predicted a swap just around the corner and was proved correct. The area around the swap is large with deep aquamud. Inserted self into sump . . I think I could feel a foot-sized airspace . . I will eventually dive this if necessary. There are some roof tubes in the area and these ~ give a way over/past the Bump. New passage pushed since 21st 200ft(??). Survey desperately needed as major disagreement as to direction and position of final sump. Back in Breakdown Chamber Pete found another passage 50ft long taking water in SE direction. Exited at 2:00 am, knackered. Cave probably totals 900ft BUT MUST BE 50-60ft BELOW THE BED OF THE RIVER.

Malcolm Stewart

28th May 1988

Mega-pump and generator hired and transported to Porth-yr-Ogof for testing.

29th May 1988

Generator, pump and l00m of cable were transferred to the cave in very bad weather. Pump placed at foot of pot in Swap 1. 130 minutes pumping emptied the swap to a small puddle and Paul Stacey was the first non-diver through . . All diving and photographic gear left in place…

Present/Involved:- Malcolm Stewart, Paul Stacey, Adrian Paniwnyk, Hugh Penny, James Longbottom, Pete Bolt, Chris Crowley, George Pankiewicz and Bernard Charlesworth

30th June 1988

Weather still dreadful. Returned to cave to retrieve pumping gear, diving bottles etc. . . . . Although the level in the swap was rising again due to continuing rain Malcolm (who had paid the deposit on the pump etc.) thanked God when all the gear was out of the cave.

Heroes of the day:- Malcolm Stewart, Paul Stacey, Adrian Paniwnyk, Hugh Penny, Bee, James Longbottom, Pete Bolt and Bernard Charlesworth

4th June 1988

Returned to see if Swap 1 still drained after a week of rain. It wasn't! Will try again when weather is drier.

Adrian Paniwnyk, Paul Stacey, Malcolm Stewart

10th June 1988

Cable laid to Swap 1 from entrance by Phil Brooks and Paul Stacey in less time than it took me to get down with a bottle Swap 1 totally full. Dived on single kit in surprisingly good visibility 4ft) but bloody freezing. Retrieved 50ft hose from Sump 2 which had diminished to just a puddle!!! Inserted hose into Sump 1, reversing out to check its action before returning to entrance series after 15 minutes. Pump and hose brought in by Adrian Paniwnyk waiting to be put into water of what will hopefully be a much reduced Swap 1 tomorrow morning.

Malcolm Stewart

11th June 1988

Bumps pumped and Grade 5 survey to ends of Waters of Lathe (Hugh Penny & Paul Stacey). Adrian Paniwnyk found interesting dig behind Flying Pickets - Hugh Penny and Paul Stacey pushed a further 200ft here. Knackering day but good team effort leading to major increase in known cave in S. Wales explored by dry cavers. Excellent!

People involved:- Malcolm Stewart, Paul Stacey, Hugh Penny, Adrian Paniwnyk, Charlie Peacock, Phil Brooks, James Longbottom, Chris Crowley and Simon Davies.

12th June 1988

Weather excellent. River hyper-low. Team into cave about 11:00 am. Surveyors Paul Stacey, Phil Brooks and Jim Longbottom started at yesterdays finishing point at end of Swap 3 . . down to Suzuki Chamber, up into Snorer's Annex (wide low bedding from the chamber) and down to beyond the "Flying Pickets" and start of low muddy crawl towards Sump 4. I took photo's using Adrian Paniwnyk as the model in the Waters of Lathe area. Exited at 3:00 pm. Length, surveyed 600ft, estimated 400ft more!

Malcolm Stewart

14th June 1988

Phil Brooks, Hugh Penny, Jenny and Simon Richards in for a looksee. Weather still superb and river lower then previously. Swap 1 filling slowly and only 6" air space in part before the pot. Took two diving bottles in. Could not find a way on at the end of the bedding plane but found a new hole in the Snorers Annex. Left hand corner along the large flat wall goes into another smaller chamber which is following the water up. Lots of flood debis. Going up loose boulders follow the dip; no obvious holes further up but may be worth a poke.

Phil Brooks

18th June 1988

With sumps still open after a week of superb weather, it was hoped to have a major surveying, climbing and diving blitz on the cave beyond the Waters of Lathe. Climbers Pete Bolt and lain Houghton (Morgannwg CC) lead in, followed by diver Malcolm Stewart; pushers Adrian Paniwnyk, Jon Young, Chris Crowley and surveyors Paul Stacey and Martyn Pickering. First discovery was that Swap 1 had about 2" air space at foot of pot and two perched ducks previous to pot were both full to overflowing. All ducked/dived through with a short spell being spent bailing with BDH containers - slow. At Suzuki Chamber the party split, whilst Pete and lain started bolting up the wall at the top of Mud Slope the bottles bought in by Speleo Cardydd on 14/6/88 were collected and a team of four headed for Swap 4. Water levels in whole cave low with no duck at foot of Suzuki Chamber and negligible water flow across at the Flying Pickets. Grovel to Bump 4 as unpleasant as usual. At Swap 4 kitted up with considerable difficulty . . entered swap feet first . . progress backwards extremely difficult, everything catching and snagging. Very hard finding passable route through wide bedding plane sump in ABSOLUTELY ZERO VISIBILITY. At 25ft in (depth 2ft) and no sign of air whatever had a flake of some sort fall on my legs. Totally turned of f. Exited sump with considerable difficulty. I will not be going back in there - anyone else is welcome to it. Poked around under walls at swap pool but could find no other route on. Adrian and I then climbed the aven just before the stalactite boss before the swap pool but the crawlway at the top looked too tight. Paul and Martyn were met in low crawls surveying in. Climbing operations in Suzuki Chamber had moved to the main aven as the route at the top of Mud Slope had closed to solid roof. Tight squeeze beyond Flying Pickets previously passed by Paul Stacey was hammered out and passages beyond surveyed and explored. Adrian started a dig at the foot of Flying Pickets where water sinks. Eventually all passage surveyed (l600ft total) and all gear removed from cave except for rope left on aven as this has not yet reached a conclusion: The top appears to close in but calcited boulders draught and there are a lot of snail shells. Also, there is definitely a lead in the wall opposite the aven which needs bolts to reach it. All exited in good order without panicking or pushing.

Malcolm Stewart

25th June 1988

Went down with intention of finishing aven climb and doing climb to inlet on opposite wall. However scorching weather during week had not prevented the pot in Bump 1 filling to 4ft depth so wimped out at this point. Took some photo's on way out

Pete Bolt & Malcolm Stewart