Bull Pot (Kingsdale)
Sunday, 30 April 2017
Almost 8 years exactly since last visit to Bull Pot, time for a return. Then I was learning the basics of SRT, receiving step by step instructions on how to pass a rebelay, getting confused and strung up, then realising it was actually a deviation. I like to think in the passing years that I’ve got better at hiding my incompetence.
As Ann was a little rusty, we treated the trip as a rigging refresher. An ex-army caving group were exiting as we arrived, they having rigged off the classic Dave Elliot spit bolted route, as the Eco P-bolts appeared to have been sawn off. We took the new IC bolt route, giving a straight hang and avoiding the high angle deviation.
I got a bit bored while waiting for the second pitch to be rigged, so investigated the tight passage that continues straight ahead, instead of taking the left to the 2nd pitch. This doubled back into 4m high aven, climbable with spread legs, but with a very committing last move to get into the blank narrow stream passage above. As I went for this last move my battery pack tapped the wall, and I was plunged into darkness. I reached for my backup around my neck, but felt only neck, and remembered I’d forgot to put it on. I tried some one handed light fettling while keeping hold with the other hand, but no success. Fortunately Ann was still within shouting distance, so came and lit my way back down. Maybe I’m not any better at hiding my incompetence.
Once reacquainted with my back up light, the rest of the trip went all too smoothly, with the cave cast in silence by the lack of flowing water. Once back on the surface I poked down the horizontal cave passage immediately up hill of Bull Pot entrance. This I now know to be Udder Pot, which after an easy climb connects to the climb I got benighted on, offering an alternative route avoiding the Bull Pot entrance pitch. I’d recommend a 5m hand line for lower climb.