Friday, 23 September 2016
After and excellent introductory talk and far too much boozing, we were all set for a very faffy day. Rob and I awoke to the realization that we had overslept and were meant to meet Carl at the chapel 5 mins ago. After rushing upstairs, we found George calmly sitting in the living room having not bothered to wake us up. We arranged to meet Carl in an hour, packed, ate and went to pick up Anna. We got lost on the way to Anna’s, picking her up much later than appreciated, and ended up at the chapel late to meet Carl again. Carl informed us that he had booked a laser in the uni and it was costing 100 quid an hour. Time well spent in chapel.
Having inconvenienced as many people as we could that morning, we set off for the dales. After a long 3 hours buried in the back of the car with a ridiculous amount of ladders at our feet we finally arrived at our destination. Absence makes the heart fonder, and I was surprisingly excited for my first cave in a year. Rob and I had are first domestic incident of the day arguing inanely about whether we would get changed by the car or the cave. We set off on our walk and had some trouble locating the vague public footpath. I then considered that we had entered at the wrong spot and it was in fact the valley over. Which created the second domestic of the day as Rob argued that there was not a valley on the other side of the hill. I supposed he thought there was an even bigger hill over which we couldn’t quite see. We went the way Rob suggested and he was right. The boys found a ‘Giant Shake Hole’ and insisted that the cave entrance was there. Anna and I suggested that it may actually be in another ‘Giant Shake Hole’ and were ridiculed. There was not an entrance at the bottom and after further inspection we found the correct ‘Giant Shake Hole’. Underground by 3:30, a successful and efficient morning!
Anna wasn’t impressed with the entrance squeeze, but we assured her that the description indicated that it was a leisurely cave and it would be much more pleasant further in. We arrived at the first pitch when we discovered we had left the spanner in the car. I was the told a maillon would be sufficient which made me assume I didn’t know what a spanner was. This started the fourth domestic as I was unfairly ridiculed for being Canadian. Anna and I went first down the pitch and continued squeezing on to try and speed up our journey. We got to a squeeze above a free climb with a handline where we waited for the boys to catch up and help us. When George arrived he informed me that I would have to descend first because changing order in the tight space would be more than inconvenient. I decided I would be brave and attempt the descent. Fear of slipping down too far if I went over the slightly larger space directly over the drop made me decide to try the smaller side crack because if I started slipping I knew I would be able to wedge myself in safe. That was a mistake. As I went through I slid my hips deeper and deeper in to the crack until I could not go further. I tried to reverse back the way I came and reattempt the squeeze only to realize that was no longer an option and I was stuck. When Rob arrived he was less than pleased that someone my size had managed to get stuck, which created the fifth domestic of the day. We cooled off and started planning and escape. We managed to wedge the tackle sacks under my torso allowing for less weight in the crack and a better place for my arms to push. With a big push from me and a yank upwards on my harness I was able to wiggle a bit higher. After 3 more minutes of strenuous wiggling I was free and we were able to continue. We were then forced in to a flat out wet crawl for 20 meters and then we finally arrived at a section we could stand with a few easy free climbs. There was a particular wet climb which poured water from my arm down to my wellies. This conveniently was located several steps from the second ladder pitch (fourth pitch in NFTFH) and I was given no time to warm up before the faffing. I very quickly started shivering but rigging the ladders was not a quick process. When we finally got to the bottom of the pitch and realized that rigging the next would result in a long rigging wait, Anna and I protested any continuation. We were far too cold to be hanging around any longer. We headed back up and were depressed by the lack of distance we had traveled. The exit was a much quicker operation, although slowed a bit by exhaustion. Needless to say Anna did not get the short leisurely trip we had promised her and I may have to think twice before being excited to go caving again. No more Black Book: Amy and I are planning to create a ‘For the Faint Hearted’ book containing only pleasant caves for pleasant people.
Boring caves for boring people
Monday, 26 September 2016
also worth noting that the cave was very dry when we went (though clearly had potential to flood). unsure about conditions that are required for flooding but I would say that settled assuredly dry weather after some rain would probably be ok conditions, at least up to Rakes Progress (waterlogged flatout crawl in stream). Rakes Progress could be miserable but likely would still be passable after a moderate amount of rain.
Monday, 26 September 2016