Depth through thought

OUCC News 26th May 1999

Volume 9, Number 12

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Blimey: no admin this week! All too taken up with preparations for the TGM no doubt. So, plenty or room for tales from the Dales and another excellent weekend by all accounts.

Sunset Hole, Saturday.

After everyone else had decided on trips and sorted out ropes and rigging gear, I decided to take Andrew Shann down his first Yorkshire cave and on his first ever SRT trip. Oh and my fist rigging trip! After going through all the ropes that were left, we grabbed a couple and trogged up behind Southerscales with Sandra, Steve and Katie showing us to the entrance. After Steve and Katie had emerged from their little jaunt in to the entrance, we set off. The first short climb we came to, we decided to put the ladder on, so I did. Then we went down it. I then decided it didn't need a ladder, so I went back up it and took it off and slid down the climb. On to the next climb which did need a ladder. Then another climb which I rigged so that Andrew could abseil down and get an idea of what he was doing, before the main pitch. After both of us descending the main pitch and then me demonstrating how Andrew was going to get up the pitch, I went up first. Andrew was on the rope and prussiking up with no problems. Then! "Simon, I'm stuck" Not what I wanted to here from Andrew. But after a little talk through of what was doing what and why, Andrew continued to the top with no Problems. And what a absolutely wonderful smell of curry as we approached Southerscales. Thanks Chris Vernon.
Simon Goddard

Competitive Caving?

It must be over two and a half years ago since, as secretary, I received the first mailshot from the sports council asking for the name of our women's captain (Chris D) and details of our varsity match. So, I was really pleased when my term card said 'varsity match' on it; and it was really going to happen this time. And so last Saturday night saw the usual Saturday night antics, but with a little extra edge. The CUCC squeeze machine was excellent and plenty of boooze fuelled the eager competitors. Jo was especially enthusiastic, a determined competitor, but also very keen for everyone else to drop their trousers. But in the end Lev was defeated by Becca at 5 and 7/8 inches!

Then came the table traversing - a draw - full circuits by Sam, Becca, Lev and Nobby. Ian Benson stole the show for the can walking, despite Bill's best efforts to crush them all, so it was left for the chairs game to decide. Tony got the ball rolling, followed by Sam's incredible 35 and I'm told Lev later managed 36 circuits. But I don't know if the scoring was cumulative or just for the highest single total. In fact I don't know who won the varsity match, but I had an excellent weekend. Thanks to all those who finally made it happen.
Fleur Loveridge

Classic caving

After fitting through Bye George Pot the previous weekend I quite fancied trying out Car Pot for size. I'd been to the start of Baptistry crawl several years ago and remembered having a bad time in the letter box. So, on Saturday morning Nobby, Lev and I started packing gear, only to discover a bad weather forecast. But the general consensus was that we would "probably get away with it", so off we went.

We were only in the shakehole when Lev's light - the Vernon LED contraption - failed, and proceeded to strobe. Fantastic if you want a disco, not so good for caving. But there were another three back up lights between us, so we continued. Baptistry pitch was nothing like what I remember, resulting in a progression feet first over the pitch head without a line. Once the ladder was rigged and we were down, I decided I'd had enough of feeling incompetent and so Nobby took the lead. The letterbox was fine this time, then came Bapistry crawl. We sent Nobby through with the end of the next rope, whilst Lev and I waited and listed and thought how it didn't sound very nice and was taking a long time and that we weren't feeding out the rope very quickly. But before long we were all through with out too much trouble.

The third pitch head provided some entertainment as Nobby tried to rig it down a very tight slot (would have been desperate) before we realised that you could traverse forward to a just very awkward head first over the abyss pitch head. Following this were some great pitches landing at the bottom in quite large space. We whizzed down to the pretties - not bad, a fantastic curtain in the roof and lots of stal. Then it was time to go out, after all we had only two proper lights and it was meant to be raining. The upward journey was uneventful, except for the awkward pitch head and Nobby killing a lizard at the top of Baptistry pitch. Then as I prussiked up the entrance pitch, all I could see below me was strobes and moving arms.....

Having done "the original tight deep hole" Nobby and I decided on another classic for Sunday - the 60m free hang classic descent into Alum Pot. Unbelievable this was somewhere that I had not been before, so I thoroughly enjoyed rigging into the chasm, talking to people on the ledge on the way down (who I though where William and co and turned out to be RRCPC) and generally soaking in the atmosphere. A quick jaunt to the sump and we were prussiking out again. This time it was William, Bill and Rich I exchanged abuse with on the ledge. Two excellent trips and the varsity match in one weekend.
Fleur Loveridge