It hadn’t rained for weeks, the trip must be on. Rationing myself to a gallon in the King’s Head was just too much, so I sunk another couple while no one was looking.
We were up at six the next morning. I hate to admit it, but this was my idea so we’d be back out for a couple of jars in the evening. I also hope it’s a long time before I see six in the morning again. I was that awake that I put my thumb in the van door and shut it. Much cursing followed. Thanks go to Steve Round for providing his blow torch to cook breakfast on, the only useful thing he did all day.
Arriving at the hole after a long, hot walk from Kettlewell car park, saw eager bodies straining themselves into wet-suits. I had acquired one from a ‘friend’. I use the word loosely as he had neglected to inform me of the massive hole in the crutch - more cursing followed.
Down the entrance pitch into 600ft of cold crawling, Craven Crawl. And unless you’re a three foot midget, there’s no chance of walking any of the next 2000ft of ‘stooping and walking’. Steve and myself stood up twice. Thankfully, Hammerdale Dub loomed up to give some respite. The worst of the trip was over, at least until on the way back out. Easy going now to a dry crawl, which seems a piece of cake to what you’ve already gone through. Then it was into the glorious Langstrothdale Chase. Just above Nemesis, proving true to form, Steve and I had our helmets off de to a couple of tight bits (if you’re our size, anyway)
The top of Nemesis is a little loose and great care is needed, especially when choosing a belay. The two lads from NUSS had rigged the pitch to a loose boulder which moved when Steve was abbing down. Hasty re-rigging took place. Two 2 ton boulders jammed in the floor were used — a much better job, even though I do say it myself. The second boulder choke is at the bottom of Nemesis and is a huge, unstable and quite complex mass. The whole thing seems to be held up by skyhooks and mud. Not for the faint hearted. Derek Crossland once said, ‘If it’s defying gravity it must be held up by a considerable force.’ Too true, blue.
After all this hard work, we went to the wrong sump, Poseidon Sump. Although not the end of the system, it’s we1l worth a look. The two NUSS lads did reach Dementor Sump, the known end of the system.
On the return I nearly
dropped a boulder on Marchelle’s head in the second boulder choke. Great care
really is needed. Even the solid bits are loose. (I imagine this will jog a few memories, eh
Back to the surface the crawls seeming one hell of a lot further than on the way in, and finally back up the surface pitch, totally knackered but contented. A truly greet hole. Down to the pub to destroy another couple of million brain cells.
Moose, Bear (NUSS), Steve Round, Stewart Johnson, Marchelle, Yours Truly,
P.S. Another trip is being planned before too
long, so anyone interested give me a ring on 0937 63233.
Nothing technical, it’s just a long way. You need to be fit technical, it’s just a long way. You need to be fit. (what about those boulder chokes? Ed.)