Lost Johns

Party;- K. Lewis & M. Woodhouse.


The best thing about a two-man trip is the fact that you can usually make unhampered progress & don’t get all the tack1e tangled up. (e.g. Out Sleets Beck plus Andy, Sept I978.)

Keith wanted to go as far as Centipede pitch to take photos of his gear in use and I was all for it. (but only after he had been down Lost Johns.) A speedy descent was made to the top of Mud Pot, where I went first so that I photograph Keith abseiling. However, my flashgun wouldn’t function properly,      ( I seem to have written this in quite a few reports, perhaps a new flashgun is called for.) & the feeble attempt was abandoned.  So it was all up to me - Centipede was rigged with a rope & I put an Keith’s new descender. Below the lip of the pitch I let go & posed for a few photos while attached to the rope protector, then on down another six foot or so and another stop. Its a good job that Centipede is one of my favorite pitches because my next manoeuvre was slightly unnerving, and no amount of “You’ll be all right,” & other cajo1ements form Keith could make me feel anything but dubious. Down the rope to about 30 feet & then at the correct moment push myself off the shaft wall and out into open space & bounce back again - all with no hands. Well, needs hands?  It’s easy doing it off a 20 foot bridge in Longridge, but when somebody asks you to do it part way down a big, black hole underground, it’s a bit different. Next came a changeover but instead I went to the bottom of the shaft and prussiked up.

Getting into a suitable position for Keith to photograph his shoulder roller was made difficult by inconsiderate little me having fully-floating Gibbs which I insisted on popping into the camera viewer. Keith proceeded to tell me what he thought of Gibbs & my hand had to be carefully placed to cover the ascender up.

More shots of  prussiking on Mud Pot, another superb pitch in my opinion, (I might pluck up courage to do the hole on ladders yet.) & soon we were back in the entrance streamway. Here the straps, on Alec’s tackle bag decided to undo themselves, and the bag deposited itself, noisily into the stream. Luckily we had put the cameras into the far superior Troll “bottomless pit”. Round the corner we met Pete & Philip on their way to do some photographing up Quicksand’s Passage or someplace. Pete’s new method of camera carrying underground is something else - lots of towels & a p1atic bag for protection. And thus back to the farm to hear of Jim & Peter’s still abortive attempts to descend Gale Garth.  

M.Woodhouse.

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