RCA6

Alternate Names: GA22

Includes:T91 Lower White House Mine -RCA6 - Boulderosa - T105 Italianos - T144 Rosario - FT39 Pozo del Compromisso - FT40

LOCATION, ENTRANCE, DESCRIPTION, SURVEYS, REFERENCES


CO-ORDINATES: 30 T - 0360872, 4786012

ALTITUDE: 1717m
LENGTH: 730m (2300m including all Sistema Ramazosa)
DEPTH:


LOCATION:

The Lake Depression (Pozo de Andara) is flanked to the south by a steep, flat-topped slope of spoil. From the top of the spoil slope, a steep, snow-blocked gully leads straight up the side of the impending ridge.  From the northern side of the valley this gulley can be seen to be a major fault line continuing beyond the mine workings on the ridge-top, and over the next ridge. Where the fault-gulley meets the spoil slope lies an elongate, steep sided doline blocked by a snow—plug (even in mid-July). A traverse around the north-eastern wall of the snow-plug ends at a mine entrance 1.5 metres square and part-blocked by rock falls from the gulley above.

Picture: Location


ENTRANCE:

Picture: Entrance


DESCRIPTION:

Inside, 15m of horizontal mine passage leads to a hole in the timber and rubble false floor. Two bolt belays allow descent of this first 6m pitch. A short passage leads to a second pitch impressively decorated with a rickety snow slope suspended from the snow plug of the entrance doline.

Pitch 2 begins with a 2m drop onto a flat ice flow supported on gravel and boulders, and bisected by a water channel. The ice flow bends into a curtain leading, after a further 2m drop, to a rotten snow platform. The pitch continues for 12m past a very loose boulder slope, and ends in a snow pit.

The mined rift passage continues across a frozen pool to the head of a pitch. Across the pitch is an impressive eroded ice formation, the Ice Palace.

Pitch 3 begins with a loose boulder-slope which soon gives way to a fine 20m free hang which can be climbed for the first 6m. Below, a short boulder slope leads to a 2m drop into a draughty mine passage.  

To the south-east, a series of progressively more interesting ‘aerial walkways’ lead to a collapsed section which may be crossed on a dubious timber ‘tightrope’ above an unpleasantly large drop (approx. 40m). This passage follows the fault line, passing an impressive 18 metre natural shaft (undescended) and terminates in a partially explored vertical maze of ladders, walkways and passages. The maze would well repay careful exploration, as several small natural passages are intersected. 

Moving north-west from the bottom of pitch 3, a short traverse around a 13m pitch leads to a downward sloping passage filled with the roar of water. 2 short climbs, followed by a duck under a waterfall lands back into the fault rift. A short fourth pitch (4m) leads to a wet, tight rift pitch. Fortunately a traverse can be made to a rickety miner’s platform from which a pleasantly dry free-hanging 22m pitch is descended.  A rush back through the spray leads into another mine passage which, by following the water and/or draught leads to the impressive natural Spiral Staircase aven.  This aven is about 38m high and developed largely in white-veined black marble. The floor is littered with miner's debris; rusting rail trucks, pipes, timbers and spoil. The Spiral Staircase connects at the top to the T91 Lower White House Mine level. 

To the north the aven closes down to a narrow rift widened by mining, which eventually becomes too tight. Halfway along the rift, a short climb on the east side leads to a second impressive natural aven. Unfortunately, this too is choked with spoil .


SURVEYS:


REFERENCES