Juniper Gulf

F.Croll, K.Lewis, P Saville, A.Smith, G.Leach.

As I am a fairly early riser, Paul had asked me to wake :him when I got up; and after the initial shock of rising at 7.30 he was mad keen to be on the road. We left at 8.30 and due to his keenness we arrived at Bernie’s ten .minutes before opening time where we met up with Andy. Much and slow driving got us to Crummack by 10.

The weather was looking very mean by the time Frank and Keith arrived. Most of us knew where Juniper Gulf was and we had a gentle stroll across the fell via Rift Pot, Long Kin East, Marble Pot, Simons Fell and the shooting box (not necessarily in that order).

The daylight entrance shaft is a fine free hang, and after a brief encounter with a group about to pirate the hole we were on our way. By this time the weather was now being kind to us and visions of being washed away soon evaporated. The transition to darkness very gradual as we traversed along to the second and third pitches, both done with one fifty foot ladder. While Keith was negotiating the “bad step” the rest of us were sitting on conveniently sculpted seats part way along the preceding traverse.
The dynamic duo at the front re-belayed the rope from the traverse down the next pitch and Paul descended to find the rope too short. He managed to get onto a ledge and off the rope so that Keith could reduce the secondary belays from fifteen to nine and thus lengthen the rope enough to reach the bottom. The pitch is a big surprise: after a few feet of narrow rift the walls recede to give an airy descent.     

Further traversing and scrambling over blocks brought us to the top of the 200ft pitch. The rope was duly belayed to every bolt and rock in sight. Paul abseiled over the edge (without the bolting kit) to put another bolt in. Eventually the rope was considered satisfactory and we all took our turns to go down. Andy, Paul and myself visited the uri1p separately.

I waited for Frank at the top of the big pitch. De-tackling had begun. The fourth pitch and subsequent traverse line were not easily de-rigged as they were one and the same rope. As I removed the ladder on the two short pitches which were un-lifelined, I thought what a great contrast to the amount of protection one has whilst on a rope.

At this point I managed to get a tackle-bag stuck in the rift, so I slid down the rift to un-jam it and succeeded in jamming myself. Frank came to the rescue and pulled me out.

I was the last of the party to prussik the entrance pitch. Keith was somewhat surprised to see I had taken a rack as well as a new super ‘Lewis-lets-you-down lock off’ with me. The latter found most satisfactory and will be leaving my rack at home in future.

Grahame Leach.

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