Paul Pot Memorial Trip – Lost Johns
Saturday, 8 February 2014
I was feeling a bit under the weather, but for possibly the first time ever not hungover at all when I awoke on Saturday morning for a days caving. The walk to the chapel felt somewhat more pleasant than usual as I was able to absorb the peace of the morning sunshine. Everyone was present when I arrived except Ed, who had taken it upon himself to play the part I generally specialise in, namely annoying latecomer to the chapel. I had a nice snooze in Peacheys car when I wasnt being the left wing mirror or windscreen crack monitor before arriving at the thief and indulging myself in an especially energising afternoon breakfast.
We were underground by about 2. The cave had already been rigged, so going down was pleasantly carefree (many thanks to the invisible early risers who made this possible!). We split into two groups, one going down via Centipede and the other via Cathedral/Dome, myself being in the latter with Nathanael, Mike, John, Bex and Matilda. The streamway was flowing nicely heading into the mouth of the cave. There is a rope climb up to some loose mud and stones with half a water carrier attached to it and some pretty formations at the top ‘ this is not the way! I presume it is a dig of some kind, though in truth have no idea. The stream was then followed until it became too exciting to pursue further, after which a short climb finds you in a dry passage (New Roof traverse) with some nice straws and vein banding formations. I think this drier series marks a fall in the water table at some period in the past. What follows is a series of avens which can be rigged as a series of short descents between one ledge and the next, though these seemed perfectly free-climbable given the dry conditions. However, in a group with varying levels of caving experience I think it was for the best that all were rigged, facilitating quick and enjoyable progress.
The first large pitch, Cathedral, was then reached, a brief traverse before a brilliant free-hang about 30 metres in depth with a deviation on the right. Zooming down this was very rewarding. A narrow rift is then followed from the left of the pitch foot to the next descent. It is best to tackle this low rather than high, as it becomes narrow and awkward especially if carrying gear. The Dome pitch is really exciting, with a great 25m or so drop before swinging into a small window on your right. Be observant to ensure you dont end up bypassing this, as it is essentially a huge rebelay and going too low makes what should be a really fun swing very tedious. I would like to have a crack at rigging this, it looks to be a reet laff. From there the passage is followed until it meets up with the mud/centipede route, where we met the others. We then sat in a group shelter, ate chocolate and took it in turns to go down Battleaxe traverse and Valhalla to marvel at the torrent of water coming down to the right. The following passage to Leck Fell Mastercave was definitely too wet to explore! Prussiking back up was a jovial and enlightening experience in my PVC suit, where I realised cordura has its benefits and roasted myself to fuck.
Matilda, Bex and John then headed out via mud/centipede, leaving me, Mike and Nat to derig. At the start of Battleaxe Traverse, I forgot to tell Nat that Matilda and Bex had both pissed in a stagnant pool upstream earlier on (not recommended for numerous reasons), and only after he had a mouthful in his mouth did I choose to remember. Nat wasn’t very happy with me. Mike did Valhalla and Battleaxe traverse, Nat the following ascent back up to Mud, and myself Centipede and the final pitch back up to New Roof traverse. We exited at about half 8, to find that the weather was still shit but that Yuko, as ever, was prepared to be much too nice to everyone by providing many cakes and biscuits. We then got back to Leeds with minimal hassle, until we found that the chapel key was still in the Dales. A fun time was had watching John annoy and bully taxi drivers with his debonair approach to parking and speed in pedestrian zones, the kit dropped off at Warren’s and everyone home in bed by a rosy 11pm.
Many thanks to John for driving the minibus and putting up with yet another late night, to Mike and Peachey for leading and to Yuko for her biscuits.
“going too low makes what should be a really fun swing very tedious”; I found going low to be very exciting; especially when I let all of the slack out of my descender half way through. Also the Sunday caving that the few of us who’d stayed out was very good.
Sunday, 09 February 2014
Can’t believe you didn’t mention the bit when Nathanael drank Bex and Matilda’s Piss!
Friday, 28 February 2014
oh yes, so he did. Excellent addition Mike.
Monday, 03 March 2014