Volume 37 Number 2 Article 7
The Bradford Bypass
BPC Gaping Gill Winch Meet
Stream Passage Pot to Dihedral
Monday 29 May 2000
"Easy Life" Cavers: Duncan Jones, Pete Dale
As Spring Bank Holiday approached the Bradford Pothole Club took over Gaping Gill and set up the winch and rigged all the other entrances into the system. Pete had phoned me and suggested an easy caving trip for the bank holiday Monday -no bag carrying, no rigging, (soft buggers your thinking!). Neither of us had been down Disappointment Pot, so we opted for that. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas a lot of rain had fallen during the week and when Pete went on the Saturday to Stream Passage Pot, he described it as being very wet! So we thought that Disappointment would still be sumped and a change of plan was called for. Stream Passage to Flood/Bar; (the intention being to go up Flood big pitch, along the crawl to the top of Bar big pitch and then out of Bar).
Having got our tags from the BPC tent, I set about scraping a layer of skin off my head just to get the damn thing on; a bigger loop might have helped! After that bit of fun we strolled over to Stream Passage Pot and began our descent. Pete said that it was considerably drier than the Saturday. We got down in reasonable time without any problems and set off for the Main Chamber. (It's just not the same when the water is diverted and the floodlights are on.) On arriving at the Main Chamber we saw a BPC member prussiking up the Dihedral route. Pete looked at me and said "I wonder if they'll let us up that way?". We decided the worst they could do was say no; (well actually they could have said a lot worse but we won't go into that.) Pete approached the BPC guy stood controlling the winch and asked if he would be so kind as to let us up that way. Hell, he even got down on his knees! (Is this desperate or what.) The BPC guy thought about it, ummed a bit and said "well really only BPC members should go up there, but go on then; if anyone asks I didn't see you'".... YES! result. ("Didn't see you"? how the hell would you not see two yellow TSA'd cavers bouncing up a rope right behind you!!!
Pete set off first and I followed and enjoyed the view. This was my first time going up here, apart from on the winch. We both stopped on the ledge about half way up and relaxed, took in the view and watched the tourists whizzing up and down. Some of them looked terrified, some of them probably thought we were mad, but they don't know what fun there missing out on!! Pete resumed the ascent after a lovely swing out into the main shaft. Soon after I followed and enjoyed the lovely swing out and after a bit of effort, which I admit wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, I made it to the top where Pete had waited for me. Just one thing left to do get out without anyone seeing us. We used a small hole on the left of the usual entrance and tried to get out without being spotted by anyone we made it out and no one saw us!!
We returned to the car afterwards. I proceeded to get changed; Pete stayed in his caving gear because he had plans to abseil down Trow Gill. I wasn't interested in that so I became the porter. We walked over to Trow Gill and Pete pointed out the hangers he'd seen there on the Saturday. (He had big plans for rebelays like he does everywhere else or was that deviations?) We clambered up the slope and onto the top of Trow Gill and made our way along the ledge. Having found the right spot to descend, Pete soon realised there wasn't much in the way of belays. We eventually decided that a tree a few metres back from the edge was the backup and a tree that overhangs Trow Gill would be the main belay.
After a quick bit of knot tying, Pete was hanging over the edge doing a lot of complaining. I didn't know what all the fuss was about; he had just prussiked up over 300ft and he was worried about this small drop. The descent was rather rapid, for reasons unknown, but it gave Pete some rope burns! Pete didn't bother with any rebelays; he just did a straight descent. (I think it was because he couldn't be bothered to prusik back up and take them out.) A small audience had gathered at the bottom to watch Pete playing around on the rope. I think he was hoping for some "nice young women" to impress, (sad isn't it!) Pete decided that he would abseil down again, slower this time, but he did just as much whinging and I would be left at the top to de-rig it. I was left with a sling to go round my waist and a krab for an Italian hitch. Personally I would have preferred something more substantial than that, especially when I was leaning over the edge trying to undo the krab. It was a basic safety measure but at least it worked.
On returning to the car, we walked past Ingleborough Cave and I made a suggestion to Pete to see if he could get a club trip organised in there, possibly by the Foxholes entrance. Hopefully this will have been sorted out by the time you read this and another club trip will be added to the long list. All we need is people to turn up on the trip and it will be successful. (Yes, that was a hint.)