Volume 39 Number 1 Article 4
Black Shiver Pot
18 November 2001
Present : Paul 'Beardy' Swire, Johnny 'Braindead' Baker
Well, Beardy was up for one of his Scout trips on Saturday, and when I asked what he was doing on Sunday, he said 'Black Shiver, you're welcome to join us'. My eyes lit up! I'd never bottomed it, (at least, if I had, it was a long long time ago and I'd forgotten it.) Sunday morning came, and an early get-up, (tea and biscuits in bed), and off to Bernies to get a team from the ULSA lot, having had no takers at the Farm. But still no-one wanted to join us, so off we two headed to Chapel-le-Dale.
On the walk up, we swapped stories of hours spent searching for the entrance, but we walked straight to it, as I'd had several aborted trips down BS, (twice having gone to the entrance without actually going in!!)
I went in first, while Beardy kitted up. I chose not to wear SRT kit through the bedding crawl, so the fun began. (I use the word fun, because that was what the trip was!) I could remember from my last visit that some/most of the spits were knackered, and sure enough, rigging was a slow process, using the spits that still had a thread and making full use of naturals.
'Do you mind a bit of dodgy rigging Beardy?'
'As long as we're not going to die!'
The only really awkward bit is rigging at the top of the third pitch, and then the Black Dub beckons, a rather atmospheric, and non-too inviting crawl in water.
Got to The Eagle's Nest without any problems, and enjoying the trip, but then whilst searching for spits, leaning out above the Black Rift, the adrenaline started pumping!
'Er... Beardy... I might take a bit longer to rig this... er... properly'
Eventually found a suitable number of belay points, and nervously set off into the blackness.
Got down to the jammed boulders, and rigged a Y hang from a spit and a couple of slings wrapped over the big boulder. I was a bit concerned that Beardy would make a sarcastic comment about my rigging, so called him down. Upon seeing the rig, he expressed concern about the precarious way in which the boulder was perched, and within a minute had spotted the spits in the wall three metres above us. We did still need to use a deviation from the boulder. Somehow that didn't feel so unsafe, though a ten ton boulder dragging a krab down the rope onto you would probably be a bit, well, terminal.
From the spray-lashed floor, (poetic licence! - I doubt it's ever much drier than it was then), we progressed through the 'duck'. These 5 or 10 minutes were the only ones I didn't enjoy; I have to admit that I don't like being cold and wet, while crawling on hands and knees along a sharply scalloped stream bed. We had a 'team effort' rig on the last pitch, (again due to lack of spits with threads), and down to the sump.
As Beardy said, the whole trip was a good rigging exercise because you had to think, rather than just whizz down clipping into 'P' anchors.
On the way out, I sent Beardy off ahead, while I de-rigged the bottom pitch. The idea being, that as I was going slow in the crawl, he'd be up the big pitch by the time I got to the bottom. When I got to the duck, I decided to wait another few minutes to be sure, rather than be stood freshly soaked at the bottom of a rather draughty pitch. This worked perfectly, because just as I emerged through the duck I heard 'Rope free'.
We met another team coming down, so had to put their bolts in for them. So, from the Eagle's Nest, while I hauled up and packed the rope, Beardy set off with the full tackle sack, and de-rigged our rope, rigging theirs, while I brought up the rear, collecting ropes on the way. What a team! I caught Beardy up on the first pitch re-belay, because as he rigged the other rope, it stripped the thread on the spit, so a very tight top rope was rigged. On the exit, my technique of rolling the sack seemed to cause less swearing than the conventional dragging, and the trip took a little over the five hours Beardy had suggested.
Excellent trip! Thanks Beardy!!! Just a pity that the Hill Inn wasn't open for our well-earned pint!