SUSS Exped Training weekend
Friday, 11 March 2016

Arriving at TSG Friday night Rachel and I were greeted by a strange man with short hair, turns out this was actually Sam Allshorn who had made the right decision to cut off his dreadlocks. The rest of suss arrived the next morning. Jack handed me a copy of the 2008 SUSS naked calendar, I was extremely impressed by the quality, it was way better than the 2007 version and there was little hope I would be able to match its greatness.

With naked calendar envy looming over me we set off to stony Middleton for some surveying and pitch dropping practice. The first thing I witnessed upon arriving at the stony Middleton carpark was Liam – one of SUSSs fresher’s, get out of a car then for no apparent reason jump onto Cregs back and strip completely naked, all while not touching the ground, I was impressed and decided this was my new favourite SUSS fresher.

Carlswalk was a good choice of cave for surveying practice, there were two short loops making a figure of eight shaped survey, this allowed us to calculate our error back at the hut and find out how good our surveying skills were. The main lesson learnt was: Do not break the disto!

After surveying we swapped groups and learnt some minimalist pitch dropping methods (ladder + belay only) with Tom S. I was surprised at what you could get away with in terms of dropping short pitches with little kit. Although I became most confused when Tom posed a scenario where the person dropping the pitch had fallen off the ladder and was hanging in free space on the rope, I assumed it was the case we were lowering them in to a bottomless abyss and our only option was to cut the rope, turns out this should not be done under any circumstances when using this pitch dropping method and the rope should have been long enough to reach the floor with a good margin for error, the correct response was to lower them to relative safety.

We finished quickly and headed back to the cars, turns out the other group was still surveying so we left their kit in and around Pedro and headed back to Castleton. Back at the hut nobody knew the code so we went the pub instead to wait for the other group to get back. Several pints and some Beef Guinness crisps later the other group turned up, we returned to the hut to type up our surveys, some groups were good – less than a 1% error, others not so good – an error of over 15% was quoted at one point.

Dinner was made by Helen and Co. a really nice curry and naan bread. Dinner finished and the SUSS war cry was heard ‘pup!… PUB!’ and so we went for some very early drinks at the cheddar cheese. Back at the hut for no reason Liam and Sam Allshorn were topless in the kitchen, tommy had decided to do the Sam Allshorne, followed shortly by me and Jethro, at this point topless critical mass was reached and one by one the rest of SUSS began taking their tops off.

Some members were more willing than others, Mark Holcroft being one of the last to follow suit, unfortunately he did not retain his modestly for long as the rest of the pack turned on him and forcefully stripped him of his clothes. Bearing in mind this all happened before 11pm it was quite a strange night, shortly after everyone took their tops off we began a contest to see who could wear Tommy’s expensive leather belt the tightest, some people have a terrifyingly good ability to compress their waists, and then of course we began slapping each other leaving some vivid hand marks on some peoples backs.

Towards the tail end of the night (1pm) there was a bazar contrast between horrifically drunk and completely sober individuals, as I set off to bed I walked past the remaining awake suss raving to the prodigy on the TSG’s very quiet speakers with Leo’s earthworm flashing in the background.

The next day I joined Tom Gamble and a hungover Rachel Rix on a derigging trip down JH, unfortunately a few weeks earlier I had lost my descender and was trying frantically to borrow one off somebody, until Jack explained that SUSS coincidentally had found a descender a few weeks later. He took me into the TSG changing area and lo behold my simple was hanging on one of the racks, thanks SUSS 🙂

Getting tired of writing now: the derigging trip down JH was pleasant other than the crawl through ‘cow arse worms’, it was also nice to see Tom G again. After a short and efficient trip, we set off back home, thanks to suss for a great weekend and Rachel for being my personal chauffeur, hopefully the expo goes well!