deviated daylight (wheres_my_pen) wrote in aus_outdoors,
deviated daylight

Caving at bungonia

10 hours of last weekend for me was spent in a cave at Bungonia (near Goulburn). Interesting activity to undertake, seeing as it had been raining for about a week straight. We didnt expect to meet a river!!!

The first abseil took us down 150ft, shortly followed by another 30ft pitch which we trailed hand ladders down. At the 100ft mark the water started dripping on us from the roof so we were almost drenched from the start. I got to see a solitary bentwing bat, which satisfied my intention of the cave in the first place, although i really did have to try very hard to stop myself from prying it off the wall and squeezing it! So very cute! After the first chamber we met the river. It wasnt very powerful, but possessed the ability to make the ensuing hours very uncomfortable. The squeeze was my favourite, though i cheated and used kneepads :) I find claustrophobia is so much easier to deal with if you know that the narrow parts eventually open up.

A few more abseils and we were as far as we could go without submerging ourselves into the last wet squeeze. By this time i realised it was about 6:00pm and it would be getting mighty cold soon. I wasn't really dressed for dying of hypothermia (a drenched cotton hoodie CAN in fact kill you). So as we made our way back it became evident to me that getting out of the cave would not be pleasant. The first ascent back was about 10m, which we used ascenders for (i dont know their real name, something like Dugong?). I had never used them before, which added ot the difficulty of climbing back up a waterfall!!! Then we decided to do a nice underground climb up the next pitch (another waterfall, very refreshing!). I spent an hour or so sitting at the bottom of the epic pitch of 150ft, looking straight up at the ladder that disappeared into the black, watching the experienced team members climb it with difficulty. I realised it must have been raining outside as there was a dribble coming down the ladder over the rock. That climb took soooo much out of me. So much that my arms still hurt, 4 days later. I got out of the cave into the (very) fresh air, and waited for the second to come up the last stretch of ladder. I was ordered to go back to the car before i died but i wasnt allowed to get in it because the dude wanted to protect his upholstery and i was covered in mud blah blah blah...
I got back to the car, took all my clothes off and sat i the emergency blanket with the heater on full blast til my feet almost burned. Then everyone came back and we all sat in the car, half clothed, and drank green ginger wine and ate chips for an hour :) most fun caving trip ever! I didnt have it in me to do another cave the next day tho, i really would've loved to, but i had to go to work all munted from such a great trip!
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