Sunday, 30 January 2011

Giant's Hole

Our caving gear was very muddy from our last trip down Lancaster Hole. In order to clean it, and because Richard was visiting, we decided to head down Giant's Hole and try and get to the bottom.

The three of us made good time through the entrance series, down Garland's Pot and through the Crabwalk. The next section was new for us all and was a confusing mess of small passages which didn't seem to make much sense, but we somehow emerged in the stream once more, having bypassed the sump. The 'bad step' traverse, Geology Pot and the two short pitches below were all rigged already so it didn't take us long to get down. The Far Curtain duck was a 'one wet ear' job which would be fine were it not for that fact that the water was hideously cold. We got thoroughly drenched again at the Spout Chamber climb. Given the water temperature, we decided that swimming in East Canal would be far too unpleasant without wetsuits, thank you very much. So out we headed to complete the round trip and eat cake in Castleton.

Estimated Time Underground: 3.5 hours

Monday, 17 January 2011

A Damp Weekend at Bull Pot Farm

It rained. A lot. Even Lancaster Hole was impassable on Saturday so we settled for a quick look at Bull Pot of the Witches but didn't really get out of daylight.

Bull Pot of the Witches

Caves attempted:

Lancaster Hole

Estimated time underground:
  • Kathryn
  • Olly
  • Adrian
  • Serena
  • Matt
  • Alex
By Sunday morning, although it was still raining, water levels had dropped sufficiently for Lancaster Hole's entrance pitch to no longer have a waterfall entering part way down. We thought we'd see how far towards Cape Kennedy and the 88 ft pitch (the route to Link Pot) we could get before turning back. Despite intending to turn back every few minutes, we kept deciding to go just a little bit further and ended up going all the way, which is very satisfying as it's a crucial bit of route finding for some of the longer Easegill through trips.

Fall Pot was very muddy and slippery, and things weren't any better towards Stake Pot on the high level route. By the time I'd crossed Stake Pot, Olly and Serena had found the start of the passage towards Cape Kennedy. We followed our collection of surveys and descriptions along a rifty stream passage and up Canuck Climb - a 5m iron ladder, attached at the top by not very much. Next we followed the (mainly obvious) route through a series of low chambers and crawls - the Earby Series. A couple of downward slithers brought us to a traversing section in a rift with another stream raging away a few metres below. Finally, after a climb down we found the top of the 88ft pitch.

The crystal pool
 Carrying on above the pitch, we almost found Cape Kennedy. I'd gotten as far as the crystal pool which my description mentioned as being very close to the chamber we were looking for. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to put the description in a plastic wallet and by now it was in several soggy pieces and unreadable, so I missed the climb up and we headed quite a way down Maple Leaf Passage by mistake. We decided it was time to turn round at this point so as not to miss our call out. On the way back, Olly spotted the climb up that I'd missed, so at least we know how to get to Cape Kennedy for next time. Olly, Matt and Adrian headed out ahead of the rest of us to make sure somebody got out before our 7pm call out. This was a good move as there was a bit of traffic at the entrance pitch and it has well past 7:30 by the time everybody was on the surface.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

A Bit of Messing Around at Christmas Time

A couple of quick trips round Christmas time

Caves attempted:

Haytime Hole

Estimated time underground:
  • Kathryn
Kathryn and I decided to stop off in Yorkshire very briefly for a quick trip on the way from her parents to mine. Haytime Hole is a quick and easy cave, although the climb down below the first pitch is collapsing quite badly. After another rifty pitch.climb there's a pleasant enough streamway, a couple of larger chambers and an oxbow enabling a little round trip to be done.

Coniston Copper Mines

Estimated time underground:
  • Kathryn
  • Kim
Another visit to Coniston, this time to the 'Back Strings' entrance: the upper entrance from which the through trip begins. We couldn't get very far though because we didn't have the right gear and it was all a bit on the rickety side. Some of the copper deposits were nice though.