JH - Backburner Choke/New Rake Inlet Passage - Phil Wolstenholme
Present: Wayne Sheldon, Phil Wolstenholme
Wayne and I visited the Backburner Choke dig yesterday to retrieve some tools before they rotted into obscurity. Whilst we were there, we had another trip up New Rake Inlet Passage, partly to see exactly what's going on up there, and to see if it's diggable. I also wanted to try out my lovely new 56m piece of Gleistein GeoStatic on something worth the effort, so Bitch Pitch was the perfect test. The tool-retrieval went off without incident, until I managed to neatly poke Wayne in the eye with one end of a five-metre piece of flexible plastic tubing; there was a squelch and a scream, so I stopped pushing at that point. Luckily for both of us it was only a slight graze...
After that we had a crawl up the passage, which is mined along its length, but was possibly originally driven following an existing, but tiny natural passage, as water runs along the right-hand (north wall) at floor-level throughout. A quick inspection under the floor-gap revealed a clay wayboard, which is the one controlling the pipe mineralisation in the Workshop, and presumably helped develop Leviathan further down. At this stage the water is running alongside it, so there's probably another one directly below which runs out just before Bitch Pitch, as the water drops down into Leviathan there.
The end of the passage is the usual choke of deads from above, though not a massively difficult dig to get started, as there's stacking room and a solid roof to hide under. Clearly if blocked from above, then there are stopes above, but finding another entry-point would require some thought. Looking at the survey, it seems the most likely route is the shaft heading down immediately after 'Luna's Chamber' below the cartgate level - this has a question-mark next to it, and as far as I know, it hasn't been checked. Anyone know different? And if not, anyone fancy a look? Would only need a couple of bolts placing.
Coming back up Bitch Pitch was lovely on the new rope - Wayne hauled some tools whilst I de-rigged and took the lump-hammer, so fairly even in loads. I really like Bitch Pitch coming up, despite its reputation - it's possibly my favourite upward pitch. With a Pantin and some nice rope, it's not even tiring, and very fast. After that, the rest of the trip was a breeze, and nice to be cleaner exiting than entering for once.