Waiting for Don to write the trip up – He’s got more time than me LOL
Me?!!! Ok, I’ll write up something later tonight.
Large Pot to Rift Pot
Members Present: Chris Kelly, Don, Mike, Sharman
Snow. Icy roads. Freezing temperatures. These are the preliminary physical challenges Team Tiger had to face. And that was just to get to Inglesport, before we’d even started caving. After meeting up, a brief discussion was had and two trip choices were suggested by Mike – Low Douk to Rift Pot (with a trip through some lesser visited areas of Rift), or Large Pot to Rift Pot (to the Mousetrap). Given that the Low Douk trip is relatively short, we opted instead for the longer trip – Large to Rift.
After a somewhat icy drive up to Masongill, we got changed, packed the gear (rather Mike did) and headed off up to Large. While we were getting changed, however, something rather odd happened. A car with tinted windows pulled up near where we were all parked, turned around and sat there with the engine running. As we walked up Masongill Lane, Mike and I debated whether or not the person in the car was waiting for us to leave so he could break into our cars (as everyone knows, only men break into cars). Much to our surprise, however, he turned out to be a she, a very sexy she who had decided to put on spandex and go for a run on the fell. This is something that I had never seen before on any previous cave trip, and made for an excellent start to the day. But I digress…
The opening to Large was quickly found and Mike set about rigging the first two pitches. He led the way, followed by Sharman, then myself, and finally Chris K. Once below the Entrance Pitch, Chris K and I waited patiently for Mike and Sharman to make their way through the short, snuggish descending crawl to the restricted head of the Second Pitch.
Chris K: ‘Mike, are you through yet?’
Mike: ‘Don’t come through yet!’
Then we waited some more.
Chris K then called out to Sharman: ‘Is it safe to come through now?’
Chris K (shouting a bit more loudly): ‘Is it safe to come through now?’
Chris K (shouting very loudly): ‘Is it ok to come through now?!’
Sharman: ‘No, it’s not ok to come through yet.’
This exchange went on for a while until Chris K and I were finally given the ok to make our way through. After some wriggling and awkward manoeuvres, Chris K and I made our way down the Second Pitch, and then continued on down the Third Pitch where we joined Mike and Sharman in Thornton Hall.
Having been in Large Pot once before, on a trip through the Red Herring Series, I was expecting the route to Colossus Pitch to be nice and roomy. This was not the case, however. We took the passage to the left out of Thornton Hall and after a short bit of walking entered Secret Seven Passage. Apart from the 5m climb down into ‘The Pit’ and the 5m climb back up (in-situ handline in place), the remainder of the journey to Colossus was in a narrow rift, with forward movement alternating between either a thrutchy sideways crawl at floor level, or else a sideways upright shuffle. Most of the crawling took place in muddy pools of water interspersed with several straightforward squeezes along the way. The most difficult part about this section of the cave though wasn’t the crawling or the water – it was trying to get through the tackle bag which contained a 60m rope, a job left to me and Chris K, not to mention my SRT kit, which I’d taken off and dragged along. It wasn’t all bad though – at several intervals along the way were small chambers which offered some respite from the crawling.
After what seemed like an hour of crawling, we finally popped out into a large roomy chamber at the head of Colossus Pitch. At this point we were completely covered in mud and took advantage of a pool of water well back from the pitch head to clean our SRT gear. I had just started cleaning my gear, sitting next to Chris K nonetheless, when I noticed Sharman standing above us with a strange look on his face, a kind of weird smile. Then, all of a sudden, urine appeared out of nowhere (well, not out of nowhere, as we all know where it comes from) and narrowly missed me and Chris K. Chris K, unperturbed, just kept washing his gear. Disgusted I took my gear and headed upstream to wash it, only to be told by a laughing Sharman that Mike had already pissed in the water up there, so there was nowhere safe to wash anything. Sigh…
Next Mike set about rigging Colossus, which already had two sets of ropes. Rather than heading down though these ropes both disappeared upwards. It would take a very brave man to ascend one of those ropes. God only knows what, if anything, they’re tied into. Mike was the first down the pitch, followed by Sharman, then Chris K, with me in last place. The pitch itself is very straightforward except for a deviation located roughly 2m or so below the rebelay bolt. This was a complete bitch to clip and unclip going down, at least it was for me, and I got stuck here for several minutes trying to get past it (though no one else seems to have had any problems). Once at the bottom, we fanned out in search of the Mousehole. After 30 minutes or so of searching, however, we failed to find it. On the other hand, we did find an interesting passage near the bottom of Colossus (essentially located just around the corner and behind it. The passage consists of a flat-out crawl leading to a narrow rift. Below the rift is a descending flat-out crawl which ends in a duck with a small airspace. It was difficult to tell how long the duck is as the passage turns a corner after what appears to be roughly 8m or 9m. It doesn’t look particularly hard, but would require a full dunking, not something any of us wanted as we still had to make our way back out of the cave and to the cars in the freezing cold.
At this point we decided to call it a day. Mike was first up Colossus Pitch, followed by Sharman, then me, with Chris K derigging. After reconvening at the top, Chris K and I headed out while Sharman and Mike were left to haul out the tackle bag. The trip back to Thornton Hall was uneventful and seemed much quicker than on the way in. Surprisingly we met a group of several young cavers (part of a uni club?) halfway along the crawl. Fortunately we were near a small chamber so it was easy to pass them. Once back at Thornton Hall, the others made their way to the bottom of the Second Pitch while I derigged the Third Pitch.
At this point time seemed to stop. Chris K went up the Second Pitch, followed by Sharman. It was at this point that Mike realised that neither of them had bothered to take any of the tackle bags with them (there were three in total, if I remember correctly). After a lot of kerfuffle and a hell of a lot of yelling, we finally managed to get the tackle bags up the Second Pitch and through the constricted crawl, though it took a LONG time. Here’s a sample of what the conversation was like.
Mike: ‘Sharman, you forgot to take any of the tackle bags with you.’
Mike (shouting this time): ‘You forgot to take any tackle bags with you!’
Mike (cursing under his breath): ‘You two forgot to take any tackle bags with you! How do you expect us to get them out?!’
Sharman: ‘Oh, right.’
Chris K was silent the entire time, no doubt emotionally upset and ashamed at how badly he had treated Mike and me. He knew though that the real punishment was yet to come – he still had to drive Mike back home.
After an easy jaunt up the Entrance Pitch we exited the cave to find that it was snowing… and very dark. We all hurried to the cars, got changed, and then made our way to Whoop Hall. While sat around the fire drinking our respective beverages, a sexy Milf in roughly her early fifties, and all alone, chatted us up. What an unbelievable day! A sexy woman in her early thirties jogged by us in spandex in the morning on our way to the cave, and a sexy unattached Milf talked to us in Whoop Hall. It doesn’t get much better than that! Well, actually it does, but this isn’t the appropriate forum for THAT kind of discussion.
Time Underground: 6 hours
Good trip report, entertaining.
Eh?, Eh? – You do say that a lot Sharman ;). You got to come up with a different word for variety I think. Try a “what”, or even “pardon”?
You should have pushed that duck, that’s the new stuff some 800m of walking passage and big decorated chambers, its well worth a visit, even if there is 20m of low canal passage after the duck.
Good write up Don – just a few points to clarify:
The fell runner ran up from the bottom – the car was still there when we left so I reckon it must have been one of the other group (had a long wait too by my reckoning lol).
The route to the Mousehole was up through some scaffolding but Chris Sharman and I couldn’t be arsed with crawling through a muddy pool LOL)
Chris K (minus a bag . . . ) was almost at the top of the 2nd pitch before you and I had got out of Thornton Hall.
Chris Sharman took a rope up to the Y hang on the 2nd, hauled 2 bags up and clipped them into one of the anchors – then, for reasons unknown, (probably viral induced lethargy and concerns re the pitch head LOL) decided to leave the hauling rope with the bags. Thats when I decided to use the other rope and derig our to use as the hauling rope – a good idea if those exiting ahead had derigged the top of the pitch as requested – it certainly became a comedy of errors towards the end LOL.
Apologies to anyone if I was in “rant” mode – frustration with the spaghetti of ropes and no malicious intend directed at anyone LOL
Alex – the intent is to return to the new extensions in the summer (if we get one this year) probably going in via Low Douk – should make a nice long trip!!!
Yes, deaf as a post for a good week or so, and, as Mike says, viral induced lethargy.
Plus I was much more intimidated by that pitch head than I needed to be – perhaps because I’d tried the wrong way down it 3 times in full SRT kit before I got through.
Good report Don.
It was definitely an enjoyable trip. One of my favourites so far. I wouldn’t have minded pushing the duck if a) I was wearing a neo-fleece, b) it wasn’t the middle of winter with snow everywhere, which would have made for an even colder walk back to the car, and c) we had known just how long the canal passage/duck was as it seemed to go on forever. I’m pretty sure the others felt the same way about the above points. Maybe so, maybe not.
I should point out that I wasn’t *trying* to make Mike look like an asshole in the above report. He curses all the time anyway (or cusses, as people say where I grew up), so cursing at, or rather in the general direction of, Chris K and Sharman was nothing out of the ordinary. And we were all very tired by the time we got to the Second Pitch. If I was Chris K and Sharman I would have just left Mike and me with the bags and taken off. Fortunately they’re more considerate than that.
When I read that trip report I had to keep looking over my shoulder to check Sharman wasn’t there.
You described him so well.
perhaps because I’d tried the wrong way down it 3 times in full SRT kit before I got through.
You weren’t trying it head first were you? I had to rescue someone who became stuck on a YSS trip doing that. (Was quite serious).
no, not completely stupid (usually) – tried to follow the rope down the narrow bit, rather than traversing over to the wide bit.