Having decided on doing Simpsons during the drive down the night before to the ULSA dinnermeet weekend with Chris, Adam and Hannah, I was hoping that Saturday morning would be relatively faff free. I’m sure that you will all be shocked to hear that this was not the case. There was the inevitable scrabble for rigging guides and route descriptions, dilly dallying of what trips were going to happen, counting of what rope the club had actually bought with us and repeated attempts to round up everyone going on the trip. Eventually, we managed to get all of our necessary gear together, albeit tackle sack-less (I’m still bitter), acquired Sam and headed out for the cave.
Upon arrival, Adam went ahead to rig Valley Entrance whilst me, Sam, Chris and Hannah kitted up and then we commenced the trek up the side of the valley towards the cave entrance. In terms of distance, the climb wasn’t far at all, however, by the time I reached the top death by over exertion definitely didn’t seem an unrealistic prospect. We found the cave entrance without too much hassle and Chris lead the way with myself and Hannah following close behind. It began with a wet crawly section that was succeeded by a short series of free climbs down the Five Steps. After that, the initial few pitches until Stake Pot were hard rigged and once we had thoroughly checked the condition of the ropes, we sailed through without any problem. Chris showed Hannah how to rig a pull through at the top of Stake Pot and on the next pitch she successfully rigged one herself. Following this, we all alternated rigging so we could leap frog each other and hence increase efficiency.
When it came to the duck, I don’t think I had mentally prepared myself for how cold the water was. Due to our lack of tackle sacks, I had a rope wrapped around my body and was subsequently nervous about fitting through the entrance to the duck. I overcompensated by pushing myself through with an unnecessary amount of force and plunged head first into the water. Needless to say, what followed was a stream of swearing and copious amounts of swallowed cave water. We proceeded though the next set of pitches fairly quickly to keep our body temperatures up and had reached Slit Pot within no time at all. Adam went first to show us the optimum way for squeezing through the narrow slit at the pitch head and then it was my turn. I was not at all surprised when it was my chest that got stuck, but luckily Hannah was on hand to give me a helpful push through. Descending the pitch appeared to be too much for my right wellie which fell off my foot halfway down, but fortunately everyone and everything else made it down fine. The final pull through was down a waterfall and then all that remained was the ascent up Valley Entrance and the walk out. The walk out involved a lot more stooping and crawling than I would have preferred but after what felt like an eternity to my burning back muscles, we made it to the end and back out into the sunlight. Overall, it was an excellent trip that involved a lot of fun SRT and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.