I once heard a story about a guy who failed to find the way back to the surface on a big cave dive somewhere and had to sit it out in a small airpocket deep underground. He was found months later with a couple of weeks of facial hair growth and messages to his wife and mother scrawled on the walls. His headtorch would have run out of power in a few hours.
Probrably untrue but quite chilling nontheless.
I saw a documentary on cave diving. One guy told of searching for his mate, who'd got lost. With the air tanks, they work on a "one third in, one third out, one third for emergencies" rule. His mate had been down for just over half his air-time. He found his mate, and started to lead him back - but had to keep his distance, because he knew that best mate or not, the guy would fight him for his air when his own ran out...
In reply to Lizard:
Being claustrophobic I find all caving stories horrible!
The flashing blade08 Sep 2004
In reply to Lizard: I was once exploring the depths of JCT's Hole, in South Yorkshire . It's a deep system and very wet. I found the drummer from a formerly well-known 80's Scottish pop band, wedged in a side crevice, completely mummified. The poor lad must have been inexperienced, and simply went in too deep.
Footnote: JCT's Hole has since been closed to access, both to clubs and individuals. I understand that pirate entries are discouraged by a wild-haired keeper with a big gun.
Likewise. When I was a kid in Hayfield I remember reading a chilling account in the High Peak Reporter of a lad who was trapped at the hips in a passage. Rescuers could reach him & tried everything for about 3 days or more. He eventually died & the pot was sealed.
Even the names are scary - 'Dead Man's Handshake' etc
Didn't they gas him? or was that a myth i'm sure theres a case where one lad was definately a goner so the doctors poisoned him to save him the grief then concreted up the passage
Pan Ron08 Sep 2004
In reply to KeithW:
Similar story, and I only have a rough memory of it, but the crux was: diver and buddy on a scooter head into a cave but the scooter dies on them, followed by the second scooter. At this point they sensibly decide to abandon the dive and start swimming back. From what can be made out, due to the increased exertion of now having to swim one air bottle was used and they proceeded to buddy breath....not much further up masks, flippers and torn bits of wetsuit were found and one of the bodies had scratches to the face. Not much further up the second body was found. Apparently they had fought for the last remaining air, but were still 8 minutes from their left full tank.
On another note, there was cave diving story I read once where rain flooded the cave and the 3 divers stirred up silt and couldn't find their way out. Ended up in a dead end that gradually flooded. Light ran out, breathing became difficult and they knew they would die. The description of their panic and mental state at the time was pretty horrifying. Fortunately they were rescued pretty much in the nick of time, but as far as they were concerned, they were simply waiting to drown.
In reply to trolly:
I think maybe you're thinking of the Neil Moss incident?
Nim08 Sep 2004
In reply to BrianT: The one where the lad was trapped was at Peak Cavern. Neil Moss slid down an s-shaped gulley but couldn't get out as one arm was by his side, the other was above his head, so when ropes were dropped to him, he couldn't tie himself on. Carbon monoxide built up in the tunnel and he eventually died. He's still sealed in there. A google pulls up basic details but the full story is in a book called The Cave Explorers by Jim Eyre. Worth a read, even if you aren't a caver. I know all the best caving disaster stories as my father (was a keen caver) has a scrapbook of disasters. Morbid but interesting.
In reply to Lizard:
This lists lots of accidents, in an overall history of UK caving. No graphic details, but the imagination is enough..."walker falls down Gaping Gill and killed". <shudder> anyone who's looked down it can only imagine the horror of slipping into that black chasm.
> anyone who's looked down it can only imagine the horror of slipping into that black chasm.
Or thinking you have 1 long rope in your rope bag and it turning out to be 2 shorter ones... And finding this out by feeling the loose end of the rope in your hand as you're abbing in... (AND there being no knot tied into the end. Eeek!)
A favourite one of the cavers in our club is when a new hole was being opened up and they were lowering someone down. Hearing what sounded like a shout to pull him up, they struggled to finally winch him out. Turned out he had lowered through the carcass of a peutrifying cow, then been wrenched back through on the way up.
> (In reply to Clare)
> They go down we go up.
> Its the most primal sporting hatred that goes back to dawn of human origins.
> Oh hang on didn't we evolve because we came down from the trees not back up them...oh shit i think i've just released the notion that climbers are indeed more primative than cavers
Naah, they'er the ones trying to find a way back into the primeval ooze.
We sent Chromlech down a deep bell shaped cavern in Beddgelert. He had to wriggle through a marsh stream to get under the grid and took a big swing as the belay point was half way across the grid.
When he got down to the bottom, his feet went up to his ankles in what we thought was mud. It turned out that he was standing in a mound of carcasses in the middle of a sealed pool of dead creatures.
They had built up over the hundred or so years as a new one fell throgh the opening above. There were, rabbits, rats, mice and thousands of frogs trapped in there, and the stench was bad. He had to prussik up completely covered in kak and smelling very bad.
Just as a matter of interest... there are a lot of tragedies being discussed in detail here, with nothing but morbid curiosity.
Yet whenever there is a climbing related tragedy and someone asks for details, it's the same old conversation that starts up, either that the matter shouldn't be discussed or that it's needed to highlight the problem.
As far as I can see, there is none of that concern here- and particularly relating to the Neil Moss tragedy- does anyone even have the vaguest idea what Neil, his family and the multitude of heroic rescuers went through during that time?
Muz is an ex-caver (he got too big for his wetsuit - LOL!) and he said the cavers used to mock climbers because they always tried to find the most difficult way up stuff, whereas cavers always tried to find the easiest way down. I don't think the lycra helped their cause either...
one of my friends was trying to convince me to try caving, telling me about all the amazing spaces under the dales, but I'm a bit claustrophobic and it just seems terrifying. (not so) fond memories of going into big 'tourist' caves as a kiddy on school trips...
I thought it'd be nasty, but it really isn't. The most worrying thing is some of the stuff you climb on wearing wellies that you wouldn't DARE if you could only see it... Oh, and the oversuits that make you look like a tellytubby!
Muz broke a cave once...
And stood in a dead sheep (good job he was wearing wellies, I guess)
And his brother got stuck in a squeeze once too - it was a bit like trying to push a cork into a bottle..
Hmmm, I don't suppose any of that helped, did it? Sorry!
The Voice of Reason08 Sep 2004
In reply to psd: That's hilarious, please can we have some russian school siege gags as quick as you can!
Nim08 Sep 2004
In reply to Arboretum: Read Jim Eyre's book and it'll give you a pretty fair indication of what everyone went through. I'm not sure I would call those particular rescuers heroic as they weren't in any danger themselves. Don't get me wrong, I think cave rescue, like fell rescue, is a marvellous thing and have nothing but respect for the people who do it - but there are incidents where "heroic" would be better applied (eg getting people out of flooded caves where the rescuers are risking their own lives to help).
A bit of blubber is a good thing when you're sitting up to your ears in black ooze. During my formative years some cavers emerged from that cave near Om at Stoney Middleton that smells like a cow's arse. It was a nice summer's day - shorts and T-shirts - and they were simply stinking. Put me off that game for life.
'The Darkness Beckons' by Martin Farr (which has just been republished) is a must read for an insight into the life of the definitive complete loons - the cave diver. Sort of like abseiling at night in a blizzard on 5mm rope
Arboretum08 Sep 2004
In reply to Nim: Not in any danger themselves? That's a riciculous thing to say. Have you also read the account in 'Life and Death Underground by James Lovelock? I think the 2 attempts by Ron Peters to enter the tube himself and attach a rope to Neil Moss only to himself suffer the ill effects of carbon dioxide were pretty heroic.
> (In reply to Lizard)
> Just as a matter of interest... there are a lot of tragedies being discussed in detail here, with nothing but morbid curiosity.
This is very true and I apologise for the shallow nature of the post. Many caving stories I've heard are such campfire scare stories that you almost presume them to be at best, a bad case of chinese whispers and at worst completely made up. You don't really take a compassionate response which is really bad.
Is the infection you get in your lungs common in the UK? In South Africa there is apparently a mould or fungus that grows on bat shit that gets into your lungs and starts to grow. Apparently you need a good dose of antibiotics to get rid of it first time, but are ok after that.