Depth through thought

OUCC News 4th March 2009

Volume 19, Number 6

DTT volume 19 (2009)

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Editor: Andrew Morgan

Trips this term:

The British Caving Audio Archives

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Sunset Hole

Philip Leichauer [Philip, Dave and Deborah]

A Sunday trip was desired - Sunset hole, cave or pot was mentioned (no idea which...) and described as easy and a good place to take the one beginner on the trip.

So we headed off with two bits of useful info:

  1. "Half way between the double stile and Mere - on a small bit of [limestone] pavement"
  2. "The 2 entrances are about yay (seemed to indicate 10 to 15 feet telepathically) far apart. One's wet and the through trip can be undertaken without a light and a baby under one arm"

Naturally that led to giving it a go... No baby but armed with a tackle sack I soon found that leaving my light outside was slightly foolhardy; especially as it was attached to my helmet. I'm sure it can easily be done without a light, but not so easily on the first attempt. There's about 10m of stream to crawl through where you have no light whatsoever.

Anyway the cave had been found. The wet entrance takes a small stream into the hill. So the cave is probably prone to flooding. If heading there, taking 3 long slings would enable all the short climbs to be handlined. They would be ever so difficult to get back up if there was much more water.

On the way down this point was recognised. We'd only taken one 5m rope for what was expected to be the larger of the two climbs, and so as soon as the first p-bolt was found, we rigged the short waterfall. Upon finding a second that was slightly larger we splashed back to the first, derigged it and rigged the second. Then did exactly the same for the third short climb!

Zooming straight passed the usual place to rig the final pitch (and down climb 4 which is interesting but damp) Dave found a good and solid lump of rock to rig the pitch to the base of the large(ish) chamber. This cunningly left the rope landing right through a 10m waterfall. This might make it sound like this was Dave's fault - it wasn't at all. In the mean time I'd climbed back up to what we later decided was the sensible place to rig a pitch and decided that as all the stuff was already further down the cave, I'd let Dave rig it from there. On the other hand, on the way home, Dave stole the minibus keys... So he can have all the blame... Bad Dave... Double tackle-sack to the face...

Anyhow, Deborah had her first go at SRT in a cave in somewhat cold and damp conditions so we decided to turn round immediately upon reaching the bottom of the rope - free climbing all the waterfalls.

Hats off to those who can keep smiling when their first climb up a rope is through a Yorkshire waterfall.