Monday, 10 March 2014

Another trip down Titan

It's good to do Titan now and then to remind myself of how scary big pitches are. This time I had also claimed that I might be able to find my way through to Peak Cavern. The others on the trip (Kathryn, Matt and Sophie) didn't know the route so the potential was there for a bit of a stressful day!

The first challenge was finding Titan. Thick fog at the top of Cave Dale had reduced visibility somewhat, and finding a small manhole cover in one of the nondescript fields was going to be tricky. Luckily, a team was heading in ahead of us to go digging (they were also doing the rigging and derigging, which was useful) and I spotted them on the surface just as they were about to drop down the entrance shaft - great timing!

Unlike my last trip here, I was the first from our group down, which meant no waiting around at the top of Titan. This reduced the buttock-clenching terror I usually associate with big pitches to merely hair-raising discomfort. Titan swiftly dispatched, I settled myself at the bottom to wait for the others, and watched as pin pricks of light became visible on the Event Horizon and torch beams swivelled around the shaft as Sophie, then Matt, then Kathryn slid down the rope to join me.

The next section, from the bottom of Titan through to JH, was the bit I was least familiar with and most anxious to get through, especially with a team derigging Titan at some point later. Through a combination of vague recollections from previous trips, following the polish, and having looked at a survey earlier which suggested we should 'sort of bear right at some point, perhaps',  we found our way through the boulder choke, into the Far Sump extensions, Stemple Highway and eventually into the very scrotty crawl into JH. We only made two minor wrong turnings (although one of them involved an unnecessary duck).

Clambering down into the Speedwell stream, a side trip to Main Rising was made before we continued downstream. Water levels were much higher than on previous trips. We'd been here in September in wetsuits, only to find nothing deeper than our waists. Today, shivering in furries we found armpit deep water (for me) to wade through, and The Bung (a ladder down through a waterfall) gave us a thorough drenching. Even Colostomy crawl failed to warm us up - it was particularly damp and draughty today. We finally emerged through the showcave (which by now was shut for the day) after an excellent 6 hours underground.

1 comment:

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