Depth through thought

OUCC News 19th February 2003

Volume 13, Number 6

DTT Main Index

OUCC Home Page

Editor: Anette Becher,


Last DTT for three weeks, while I am off to Vietnam. Don't feel you have to stop sending me articles - it'll all be stored for later use...

A weekend at Greenclose

Rich Gerrish

After a desperate week at work I was desperate to get to the Dales for some desperate caving. The last time I stayed at Greenclose was over three years ago, if my memory serves me correctly. Hils and I speculated about what we had been up to. Seems that it had been the weekend of my trip down Quaking, well it would take some trip to top that one. As people arrived in dribs and drabs, and as the cider and whiskey began to work their magic a plan was formulated, and I awoke with splitting headache to the realisation that I was off down Crescent Pot. A perfect weekend was in the offing with physical, mental and chemical abuse all in the bargain. After wandering round the fell on a rare, spectacularly stunning day, the four of us, Gavin, Hils, Gareth and myself committed ourselves to the darkness. The cave was already rigged. In fact it was already rigged with what looked suspiciously like Oxford gear. In fact it was rigged with what looked suspiciously like 10 year old and totally knackered Oxford gear! Anyone care to admit this oversight??? [see next DTT]

Rigging next to the tattered remnants of Bluewater and other odds and sods, including the odd wire tether clearly stamped with our moniker, we made our way into the depths. At the bottom of the first two pitches came some large steps of boulders shored up with rotting timber, gently does it. A short section of crawling and awkward rift with large and heavy bag brings on the sweat. Then on through a squeeze and down to the bigger pitches where stretching out in space to reach a desperate deviation has my legs trembling like Elvis Presley, I knew the whiskey was a bad idea. Then the misery really begins. First there is a shortish section of crawling that takes ages. The passage is totally the wrong shape making rhythm impossible, struggling along wouldn't have been so bad, if the floor wasn't characterised by vicious scalloping rising up into blades of rock designed to render all but the most substantial kneepads ineffective. This torture dragged on, and the slow pace allowed the body to cool... just in time for the duck! By the time I arrived, Gavin was long gone and pride kicked me in the knackers and told me to get on with it. Lowering my chest into the icy waters I controlled my breathing by panting forcefully. On it went, on it went, and on it went. The airspace increased, sure, but my chest was still gripped by the cold water. Finally it eased and I was able to relax. The guide book description couldn't have been more wrong. It claimed the duck was very awkward, I say it is dead easy only rather longer than expected.

No rest for those this cold though and on down the final pitch to the Coup de Gras. From this point there is 800m of crawling to the megatick that is the miserable bedding plane sump.

No turning back and once again we are on all fours and wincing with each kneefall. After 366m we pass the inlet that leads to the 'Unspeakable Passage Of Outer Slime'. (Which out of interest was apparently a dig at one time of Neil Pacey and Pete Hall). At this point, the hands and knees crawling degenerates into flat out wallowing in frothy water. At this obstacle the team finally has enthusiasm failure. 400m of that in a furry to see a sump, only to have to turn around and do it 400m back? You have got to be effing joking! To the resounding shouts of "Jack!" and "Pub!" we turn tail and crawl back the way we came.

Hils and I get derigging duty and what starts out as a pleasant, if slightly tired exit from the cave mutates into the beast of all mistakes. Obviously not happy with having failed to visit the sump we miss the obvious way out and head up another inlet to see more of this pleasant little cave. Even with the feeling of knowing we had made a mistake rising inside me, desperation pushes me on until finally after another duck (yes, we were so tired we didn't even twig we had gone wrong when the water was up to our ears) we couldn't go on any longer. We turned back, now even more tired than ever and finally got to the surface to find that Gavin and Gareth had been shivering in the cold night air for almost an hour. Respect guys, but your selfless act was too much, I'd have left you to the Crescent and buggered off to the pub long ago.

As well as Crescent, there were also trips down Bull Pot, Simpson's, Ireby Fell and Marble Steps, all of which were excellent trips according to the reports I heard. I thought the weekend was a fantastic success and I am extremely pleased to see such enthusiastic and capable newcomers to the sport getting stuck in and having a good time.

Everyday should be a holiday!

Rich Gerrish

In case you didn't know I am planning on going to Northern Spain at Easter to do some caving in Matienzo. I will more than likely be out there from Saturday 12th to Friday 25th of April and will be flying from Gatwick to Bilbao. I still have a spare ticket for this flight and I am still looking for enthusiastic amigos to join me. If you can't make those dates but still fancy a week or two drinking Vino Tinto and doing exploration caving then get in touch as tickets to Bilbao are mega cheap. It would provide a great warm up for those intending on going to Spain in the Summer and more importantly would be an excellent craic. If you want to come but don't have the kit then still get in touch as we can definitely sort something out if you are keen enough.

Adios, Rich.

Go caving in eastern Europe (No.2)

I would like to offer caving in the Crimea. The region is rich with historical events. The Crimea is the new and right place for caving. Here are about 1200 caves, some of them with lakes and rivers; subterranean grottos are suitable for diving. In general, in the Ukraine there are two main speleo regions: near to the town of Ternopol, where are the longest labyrinths in gypsum (165 000 m) and here in the Crimea, where we also have rather a long cave - 20 000 m, but in limestone! It might be a nice journey! The prices here for transport, food, accommodation in huts are cheap. I offer also to climb, hike and visit the main places of interest on my website (in English and French, as well as guiding)

The itinerary is to think of and may be changed as desired.
Yours sincerely,
Sergey Sorokin, 380677939100

Speleo Car for Sale

Anyone in OUCC looking for a car for about £300.00? Citroen ZX, 140,000 on clock, but generally runs well, at about 7-8p/mile for petrol.
Paul Mann:


Rich Gerrish

Last week's offering:

"Salt in my eyes, stinging the brain It's been forty-odd days since we've been clean.
Crawl in the cave, looking for light But the ceiling descends, and still it's dark...
Hey, there, don't despair, get in the cave!"

Usual pint for a correct answer, available next time I go caving! Sad indie trainspotters only need apply..... Rich??? Nobby

"The Past That Suits You Best" by 'the delgados' off one of the most underrated albums of all time "The Great Eastern".

In order to pass on the pint try this one for an homage to caving in Yorkshire...

"Outside the rain, fell dark and slow, whilst I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime".

???  Rich.