Jim Lister and team have been working beyond Ink Sump for the last sixteen years. Using a substantial amount of scaffolding in the vertical boulder choke in the roof of Dooms Retreat, Jim has been creating a safe route through it, with the aim of breaking into new ground.
The breakthrough finally came during the autumn of 2016 when Jim spotted a small chamber through a small gap but after breaking through it was found to be a large void, the far wall being created by a fallen boulder the size of a small house. The void, which is called “Endeavour” is 30 meters long, 3 meters wide and 5 meters high. It runs East to West with the North wall being solid. At the Eastern end a steep ramp leads up via a corkscrew climb to a ladder pitch (electron ladder in place) at the head of which several routes lead off. The routes to the East and the middle route are blind. The remaining route over a boulder has been enlarged to enable access into a muddy crawl named “Hippo Heaven”. Just before the end of Hippo Heaven further engineering work has enabled access to a chest height climb between boulders which opens out into “Clean Washed Chamber”, a large void measuring 10 meters by 5 meters. This chamber is thought to be vertically above Endeavour, sharing the same solid North wall. At the time of writing no easy way on from Clean Washed Chamber has been found although several routes have been explored.
There are a few very promising places throughout the boulder chock for a way on but they all require heavy engineering which is not a problem. Before any future work is carried out on these leads the team must consolidate the work that has already been undertaken, primarily the enlarging and strengthening of the shaft from Doom’s Retreat to Endeavour.
The biggest challenge of the project is not the 200-meter dive or the engineering but the logistics of supply. We have a very long supply line for digging materials and limited time available. Many thanks must go to the Peak Cavern owners, plus staff past and present for their support as well as all our fellow cavers who have transported the tones of materials in over the years.