Alum Pot 240 hang/ NW route
Sunday, 20 May 2007

Beardy and Helen were invited along as they had done many big ladder climbs before and so Beardy set about tying a web of rope between the trees to allow us to move ever closer to the edge of the pot. It was at this point I noticed and fellow who the others had noticed some time before who had jumped over the wall. He wondered along the steep grassy slopes to get a better view down the open pot. As he approached the edge on his stomach we all cringed in fear. After this inquisitive walker was on the other side of the wall, I set off down the ladder.

The last time I did this hang was some while ago as a nervous novice on a finger thickness of rope. The ladder hangs steeply over the tree roots to as far as the first ledge and below this is a free hanging pitch to the large wet ledge. The awesome nature of this splendid ladder hang provides one of those experiences that are fantastically enjoyable as a potholer. As you look down at the ladder reaching far below you, the spray refracts the light and creates short rainbows and clouds of mist making the pitch that bit more enjoyable.

Then on arriving at the ledge the heap of ladder was tossed down the last pitch and it was hoped that the lifeline would be long enough, which it was. A pleasant stroll to the sump provides some rest for the arms. The climb to level with the bridge was pleasantly sprinkled with water and climb to about 15m below the surface was comfortably cool and then the last 15m with sunlight streaming through the aromatic pine trees provided the warmth for the last part of the climb.

Then very sweaty and quite tired I reached the top and lay on the ground breathing hard. The key to climbing a long ladder is not to try to climb as fast as possible to reduce the discomfort of the life lining team tugging at your waist but to climb at your own pace, since the faster you climb the faster they will pull it in anyway.

A sociable team effort and you couldnt ask for finer weather. It was an excellent day out and a brilliant way to enjoy one of Yorkshires grander, more austere potholes.

Comments

A superb experience! The best way to do Alum Pot and much more satisfactory than on rope!

Cheers guys!

Mike Bottomley

Monday, 21 May 2007