Cavers: Chris Scaife and Carolina Smith de la Fuente
As we walked up to Hardrawkin we had to be careful where we put our feet, so as not to damage any of the numerous frog orchids. After climbing down the entrance I had a look at the description to see where the handline was advised, then realised we had already passed it, so ditched one tackle sack and followed the stream underground. I had been in this cave twice before, but both times must have been after dry spells, because I didn’t remember it being a wet cave. It was wet and clean and sporting this evening.
The first pitch has a bit of a reach for the Y-hang, which no doubt kept us a little dry, but I was soon approaching the waterfall looking for flakes to use for deviations. Below a ledge, on the right wall, I looped a sling around a large spike, then put another deviation in using a smaller spike not far below. It was still a bit soggy, but without the deviations we’d have been gasping for air.
The cascades leading to the next pitch followed immediately and then at the pitch head I remembered my car keys were still in my pocket. Ah well, too late to intervene. Carol set off up the big pitch without bothering to descend the second one, so I had the sump to myself. On the way out, we prusiked at a rate of knots, the unavoidable water cascading on to us from above, especially after passing the higher deviation.
We were back in the World after a mere hour and a half of darkness and my car keys had survived, so we went for a meal at the Wheatsheaf to celebrate.