Aug 122013

Hangglider Chamber, Constitution Hole

About the cave

Something different this week – caving without dive gear! The cave in question is Constitution Hole, a newly discovered entrance at the bottom of a hill in the Junee Florentine area of Tasmania. After a short walk through the rainforest, the cave starts with a muddy pitch, a narrow meander, a short pitch and a nasty wet traverse before reaching the top of the Hang-glider Chamber seen above.

About the trip

On this particular weekend we discovered a much easier shortcut back to Hang-glider as well as two new pitches in the lower area. Stopped by a shortage of rope we didn’t complete the descent but headed back up. While waiting for the photographer (again!) to ascend the three pitches to the top of this chamber, Alan and David headed out in a new direction to discover a series of large chambers.

Meander in Constitution Hole

This was my first visit to Constitution and I was a bit nervous about the photography beforehand. When exploration is still underway it can be very hard to convince everyone to take time for photography. It’s also much easier to pick the good spots to spend the photography time at when you’ve already done an overview trip.

The nerves turned out to be unfounded as Andreas, David, Alan and Ken were all happy to stop while I un-cased the camera and set up each time. I took a few shots in the narrow meanders up top and the first internal pitch. Once we got to the big pitch after that I knew that it would need some time for a set up shot, and we pencilled that in for the way out.

About the photo

After the excitement of the new pitches at the bottom and surveying the lower sections I headed up the three pitches to the top. You can see the final rope on the left of the frame. Andreas in the front of the shot is standing on the giant flowstone that chocks the middle of the chamber. Ken behind him is above the next pitch, and Alan and David are at the top of the third pitch. The chamber drops another 25m into the dark…hard to capture without the hang-glider it was named for.

The second shot here is nearer the entrance in the narrow meander. I grabbed this one while we were waiting for the squeeze to clear. Unlike the rest of the cave which is brown, brown and brown until you get to the very bottom, the small stals here were lovely and white. Not much strobe power is required for small white tunnels – a nice change from powering up for the big dark spaces.

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