Thursday 2nd August (edited version)
Present: Alex and Rob
Another mideek trip to the ominous sounding Hell Hole in the environs of Stump Cross. This has been on the agenda for a while since I first walked past the entrance with my now wife about 12 years ago. Alex has always fancied a trip here too.
You can park very close to the cave (it’s about 250 metres away) and finding the entrance is obvious in a newly planted copse in a depression.
Knowing that there are 2 pitches, we packed 2 x 30 metre ropes as we couldn’t find a topo anywhere so we reverted to the information from NC1. I think Alex might draw one for the first pitch at some point.
An easy descent down the impressive entrance leads to a short but large passage. Soon after, it descends to a crawl quickly leading to the first pitch. The first section is a 3 metre climb and is constructed at the top. But you rig from here from 2 p-bolts shortly followed by a re-belay 2 metres down, round the right corner. The main pitch requires 2 deviations (if dry) and 3 if it’s wet – there are in situ ropes for these. The pitch is very impressive and deep, especially when you’re not expecting it and lands in a decent size chamber.
The stream flows into a sump in one corner and there are 3 ways on round to the right. We headed into the left hand passage – a short crawl and then a drop down. The way on (we assumed) is then a crawl round an awkward double bend leading to a body sized tube, slightly uphill. I looked, and having a heavier tackle sack, sent Alex to give it a proper recce. He reccied and then quickly started thrutching forth. This passage was not easy (grade 5 at least) and I decided not to follow, which most people would agree with me on if they had seen it! Alex carried on, round an awkward bend to the right and then to the left. He said he then met a T-junction where we both agreed he should try and come back. I don’t know exactly how he managed it but manage it he did, wriggling around and eventually turning around to get the hell (hole) out of there. I named this hell passage. I actually only got 2 or 3 metres into the first section to relieve Alex of his tackle sack and that was enough for me. Thankfully after some thrashing about, Alex was out and not too knackered as he could have been easily after that little jaunt.
We then headed back and tried another passage. This was a mud fest and went nowhere. So we went into the third option. This heads through an unusual rock eye before a tube-like crawl then a T-shaped passage. I couldn’t see a way on but, after consulting NC1 afterwards, there is a way on through a tight squeeze to the second (fabled) pitch. Apparently very few people have been to it so we were a bit miffed we never managed to locate this.
After this we headed out and then went for a stroll down towards Trollers Gill but not getting there, instead popping into a mine located on the right bank of the dry valley before Trollers.
We went to the Craven Arms in Appletreewick for a pint, surely one of the best pubs in the dales.
P.S. I forgot to mention, my light failed (I think it had been left on) so I had to retreat early in the cave to find some more batteries before rejoining Alex.
[Admin] Deleted your old post Rob.
The mine deserves a bit more of a mention. To say it was large is an understatement. It was all following a high vertical vain, most of which was 60-70ft high.
A long slope led down to sumped passage, however this could be bypassed by a dodgy ladder on the right leading into yet more big passage.
Apparently the mine is home to some natural caves, however some very deep, black water blocked our progress into this.
We also noticed many bats make this place their home as quite a few were making their exit and entry far above us as they went out for their evening hunt.
If Rob bottled it…don’t think I’l ever be paying a visit!