P. Seddon & M. Woodhouse.
Poor Paul was only able to
manage a midweek trip owing to the pressure of work i.e. Flying to Germany, France
again - how boring. So I had to develop a mysterious stomach bug for a day. The
day started very civilised
indeed with a brew in the Fountains Cafe, then we both drove up to Crummack to get changed. It took us about an hour to get up
on to the Allotment and find the hole, by which time the weather was looking
distinctly off putting with the mist descending and a light drizzle falling.
Brushing aside thoughts of heavy rain, we abseiled the entrance pitch, laddered
the two 25’s & began the traverses, which incidentally had flood debris
liberally scattered about them. We reached the “bad step” which we had
needlessly brought a line for, as we had no trouble at all on it. The 90ft.
pitch was rigged off a block about 3 feet down the pitch, with a cows tail going up onto a superb belay point in the roof. The
abseil down this was superb, right down the middle of the shaft, landing just to the side of the
very wet ledge. More traversing, until after a climb up and over some blocks we
reached the last alternative pitch - 200ft. & free hanging apart from the
top three or four foot. Paul swore that the drop was no greater than 80ft., but
having abseiled it he soon changed his mind. Again we double belayed the rope,
primarily to a large projection/ledge about five feet down the actual pitch &
backed this up to a block in the main chamber. This was fine until I came to
change over from the cows tail to the main rope - after a great deal of messing
about I finished by jamming myself over the pitch between the belay point and the
wall behind am & taking off all safety devices in order to get myself
sorted out. This is a good pitch for those who have constipation troubles.
After a seemingly endless time abseiling through the tenebrous void (this is
not one of Hugh’s), I landed next to Paul & we set off for the sump, which
must hack up a great deal during flood, judging by the debris lying about.
I ascended the 200ft. first and again had trouble changing from the main rope
to the back up, not because of gear, grip up etc., but because my foot inadvertently
unhooked the main belay from its anchor, &
I only noticed it when Paul got on the rope & I saw the secondary
belay go taut. This would not have been a very good prussik for Paul as the
rope ran over several sharp lips (or for
the rope. ed.), so after much screaming down the shaft Paul got off the
rope. Apparently not because he heard what I was shouting,
more because he sensed a certain urgency in my voice. I then had to
abseil down the cows tail & do my balancing act
again to get the belay back on.
Paul went up the 90 first
& I had an awful ascent on this as the rope.(Joanny) spun & bounced for the first 50 feet, making me
feel very uncomfortable (you will remember I was off work with an upset
stomach) . At the top of the
ladder pitches, Paul gallantly took the 280ft. rope off me, as by this time I
was knackered through carrying it all the way in & out - however he was
kind enough to leave me his bag to carry. Up the entrance pitch and out into a
great day - sunny but windy, after a steady 5 hour trip.
P.S. Paul devised a great method of hauling the tackle bags up the pitches
using the SRT rope, a couple of CMI ascenders & a sling. It makes it so
effortless & quick and worth bearing in mind on big stuff.