Friday 17 March 2023

Yom Tov and Quarry cave - Trip report

 Saturday, 11th March 2023

Yom Tov and Quarry Cave

Trip report

Trip leader: James
Members: Kyle, Dane, Josh
Visitors: Anna, Robert, Wesley, Billy-Jean, Paul, Michelle


Yom Tov

It began as any other day. Except it was different. Today was the expedition that would surpass all frontiers of human knowledge and exploration. An expedition so ambitious, so daring that few would even venture, and even fewer come back intact. The disposable-nappy-filled entrance of Yom Tov cave had claimed many an adventurer. The sheer sight of such turbulent passage has been known to drive men mad. But not this day. We were cavers, we were already quite mad.

We arrived on the property, gear was sorted and the new property owner’s slight surprise of a caving expedition arriving on their back lawn was elucidated. With the newfound blessing, we set forth.

The cave entrance lay as it had for millennia, with a copse of trees and bushes hiding the path to the depths. The ground rapidly changing it’s point of perspective. Ignoring reasoning and rationalism. Once again, we climbed down into the earth.

The nappies were squishy beneath foot. Dirt and probably mud collected on top. The excitement of the cave overcoming the horrors beneath. The strewn disposable slope guided the path to the throat. Don’t worry, it was assured, it gets wider past the squeeze. This is followed by a rapid descent to the mesa above the canyon. A gentle bump on my helmet informs me that I should now change my head position. The rope is tied around an awkward rock edging off the side opposite to the climb, John’s instructional words from a previous trip are wisely remembered - as long as we don’t play with the rope too much it won’t come off. One by one we start climbing down to the running level of the cave. Tall passages are to be found here, we do find them. We also find water. I investigate how much water by walking into it. It is concluded that the cave is flooded.

After a quick review of the options, we agree to relocate to an alternative cave. Quarry cave it is. Kyle volunteers to go fetch the ladders while the rest of us exit and go to Quarry.


We arrive at Quarry cave where we climb the chimney entrance and enter at once into a large chamber. The light around the entrance having a parish-like feel. A scree slope leads to the base of the chamber. From here the formations that have spread on the high walls are to be found. Milky flowing stone lit upon through the lighted dust. The shadows in the formation beckon us to explore deeper.

Ladder 1.

“Does anyone have a multi-tool?” 

“I have a spanner in my car.”

“Can try my Gerber.”


The ladder being fastened, the tactical descent approach is explained. Yes, you can put your feet in the rungs or you can view the ladder in a more handline existential sense. The rungs are there but they don’t really exist. We all descend down the mud, occasional jutting rock, slope. Each of us displaying the techniques that make the human race such a well-ranged and balanced species.


A short journey through the second chamber is followed by the main feature of the chamber. The massive mud slope going up and beyond the other side. In preparation for the ascent, Kyle revises some laws of physics and at the top of the slope ties a rope for the rest of us to climb. Our summit has a lovely mudslide on the other side, no need for gravitational revision. We arrive in a large chamber, formations and dunes. The stalagmites are pristine white. Water drips from the ceiling, the steam rises off of us confirming the humidity is as high as it feels. The back of the chamber is an archway of crystals, becoming a winter passage, it leads to a rim pool nestled in the rock. The water is clear and still.

We sit in the fourth chamber, lights off for a moment in the dark.
Someone interrupts the chain of thought by turning their headlamp back on, no doubt having reached some sort of profound conclusion.

Gully overhang (Ladder 2,3)

The second set of ladders is more technical. A steep ascent up a mud wall using the first ladder of the set followed by a gully overhang. The wire ladder is designed to be as light and portable as possible., this is traded off for stability and joy.

The gully overhang consists of a rock bridge going over a sloped gully. The gully passes beneath the bridge.

The ladder hangs off the top of the bridge and drops down to the slope of the gully. Once resting on the slope of the gully, the ladder follows the gully beneath the bridge, to the bottom of the slope where the cave levels out again.

We descend the ladder one by one at a time, climbing off the rock bridge onto a ledge just below and then climbing onto the ladder. The wire ladder pushing off by your feet in a direction opposite to your will lets you know that you are good to go. It’s a climb down from there to the sloped plate of the gully. Here we rest our backs against the slope and slide down in a highly controlled manner using the ladder. We reach the bottom having found a new sense of joy.

The last sections of the cave are reached. A section of passages that have a selection of small climbs and crawls. The group sets off for individual exploration. The discovery of a loop allows for the prospect of infinite fun. Some of the sections have rock that appears to have iron ore in, a compass is used to test the hypothesis and creates a new theory that suggests that South might be North. Another trip may have to be organised to confirm this.

Having explored and reached the end of the cave it’s time to turn around. We return the way we came, and now we get to do everything again. The thought of rest invigorates us and so we set off for the outside.

The passage out seems quicker, and climbing out of the cave, the sun always brighter.

Thanks to everyone for making this an awesome trip. And special thanks to Kyle for helping to set up the rigging.



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