Jean Pot
Thursday, 20 July 2006

Awesome trip down Jean Pot, which the guidebook describes as being “an awkward hole, full of character.” This intriguing line was, in itself, enough to convince me that a trip down this little-visited cave was an excellent idea.

After collecting some ropes from Horton, met up with Tom at Ingleton chippy where the usual sausage, chips and curry sauce was consumed to help prepare the body for the long walk up to the entrance (curry sauce might not have been the best idea this time).

We were soon on our way up Long Lane though, sweating profusely in the heat and cursing my calf muscles, which were a bit stiff after running down Skiddaw the previous evening. After about 40mins or so, arrived at the entrance, which is not that far from other pots including Car Pot and P5.

Soon down the pleasant entrance pitch, which isn’t tight as the guidebook describes. This drops into a nice rift which continues until a narrower bit of rift and then the ‘Hard Times’ crawl, which is a straightforward crawl which you end up doing pretty much flat-out as isn’t high enough for hands and knees. This ends at an easy climb down and the 2nd pitch, where an easy traverse leads up to a single spit, which thankfully, was good as there wasn’t much else to rig off.

Soon down the short second and third pitches (there is a spit at the top of third, but isn’t very good. Could do with another one). A good spike and decent spit saw us down the fourth pitch, with the tacklebag being a excellent rope protector. The top of the 4th pitch is a bit constricted, but soon opens out into a nice pitch which lands in the ‘chamber of false promises,’ which is fairly big.
The way on is down to the right (when facing the 4th pitch), and a short climb down through boulders leads into a large rift. After some bends, the ‘UGC’ crawl leads on, and is a little bit more awkward than the ‘hard times’ crawl with a tacklebag, but is still fairly easy. This ends in the ‘head-dive’ which I chose to do feet-first as there was room to turn around. Bit more passage ends at the ‘dangerous’
traverse over the blind pit, where there are some excellent formations in the roof.

A decent spit and an in-situ hanger allowed a traverse to be rigged across the top of the 8m pit. GREAT CARE is needed here to avoid damaging the formations, and a rope is definitely needed as the traverse is slippy and fairly wide. Soon at the far end, and then a easy crawl led to an acute bend, similar to something out of Peterson Pot and a larger passage which led to the 5th pitch. Just before this, there are some more fine formations (couple of straws around 1m in length)!

5th pitch was rigged using a good spit and large boulder. This short pitch ended at the larger ‘balcony’ pitch, which still has an old CPC rope ladder on it. Just to the left of the pitch head are some more superb formations (a little grotto). A y-hang off two old, dubious looking ring hangers saw us down the large shaft, and then a short climb led to the final pitch, which is fairly narrow at the top. A crawl then leads to a choke at the bottom.

Then back out! However, the journey out does require a mention as I decided this would be a good opportunity to baffle a few Craven members by removing as much of the old CPC digging gear as we could and dumping it in the CPC cottage. A small group had tried to remove the gear last year, but dumped it at the top of the second pitch.

And so, upon arrival at the top of the second pitch, four large and bulky rope ladders were coiled, and transported along ‘hard times’ crawl along with two large tacklebags of rope and another ladder from the bottom pitch. Fairly arduous going, with plenty of swearing, soon saw us back at the bottom of the entrance pitch where all the gear was hauled up, and the cave vacated at around 12.30am, just over 4.5hrs after going underground.

Quickly packed rucksacks and tacklebags with the old ladders, and set off back down the hill to the cars.
Excellent trip! Cheers Tom for a very fine trip, in a very interesting little cave and for helping me move all that gear out of the cave. I shall be dumping it at the cottage this weekend!!

Top stuff!