Fergus and his girlfriend Sarah wanted to come caving so we arranged to meet at the BPC on Saturday evening. After sampling the delights of Large Pot the day before we decided that a high-level traverse of Easegill Caverns would be a suitable way to introduce Sarah to caving, and meet her requested trip criteria of 1) not wet, 2) not too much crawling and 3) not too miserable. After the previous nights antics, which had included mushrooms on toast, children in need and late-night stacks, the evening was rather uneventful probably because stackmaster Olly had to return to Sheffield at 10pm, though he did have time to produce a real showstopper stack for me before he departed.
Sunday morning also seemed a lot more tame than Saturday morning, largely thanks to an absence of Dr Donk and The Real Thing keeping things hardcore during breakfast time. Again, its generally necassary for Olly to help facilitate these antics. One positive of the morning was that Nathan Walkers navigational wisdom was recruited for the trip, which ensured things would run as smooothly as possible.
Arrived at the farm and kitted up after chatting to Ray and Avelina, who Ray had cajoled into doing some shit-sounding surveying. Strange to see so few other people at the Farm. GUPA were there but had already headed off to BPOTW. Soon heading across the fell in pleasant conditions to Lancaster entrance. I rigged the pitch very poorly but Sarah still managed to learn SRT straight off the bat, very good. Soon all down and SRT kits left at the bottom, except for mine which was at the top ready for derigging later on. We headed on past Fall Pot to Stake Pot, where we decided we were all too hot and headed down to the Main Drain, which was quite dry but full enough for Sarah to get a full soaking when she slipped over. Back out at Oxbow Corner having avoided all the prettiness of Bobs Boss and Painters Palette, we stomped onwards making good time. After catching our breath just before the Minarets, Nathan set a blistering pace along the two straights meaning that no one got time to actually sample the delights of these passages. Selfish. A short while later we were at the junction just before the ladder down into Stop Pot, where Nathan, Fergus and I almost tricked Nadia et al into missing the turn completely.
Once at the bottom, Nathan suggested that we could possibly try to reverse a variation on the Wretched Rabbit exit that he had done in the opposite direction previously, via the Depot, Flashbang Crawl and Aaahhhh Chamber. I agreed that this sounded fun and we pressed on through a couple of low crawls over blocks until we reached the first climb up, a slightly awkward chimney/corner around 3m high. My belt and Nathans footloop (which he had been using as a belt) provided a useful climbing aid for the rest of the party and we continued to the next climb which had a fixed rope on it. Flashbang Crawl followed closely after and has a few slightly small and awkward triangular bits but is mainly a fun wriggle and slither. The end of Flashbang Crawl involves a climb up into Aaahhhh Chamber, whereupon Typhons arms gave up on him and he stood on Fergus to get up. ‘This is bloody embarassing!’ After Aaahhhh Chamber, a quick slide down a rift lands you just before the step across a hole in the floor in the traditional route out of Wretched, just before the 2 small climbs in the streaamway. The exit came swiftly after this and we arrived to a beautiful early evening sun which was illuminating the fell splendidly. A excellent variation upon a classic trip, which really has a bit of everything and so many possible variations that I can’t imagine ever getting bored with it, thanks to Nathan for the route0finding tekkers and to all the others for coming along.