After a bit of confusion over where to meet for this, we eventually gathered in a large layby between Selside and Horton in Ribblesdale, then followed the Pennine Bridleway up to the Allotment. Passing Hangman’s Hole along the way brought back some happy memories and we were soon at Thornber’s Entrance.
A short rift ended with the first pitch, descended via two deviations with in situ tat, fortunate really as none of us had remembered to bring a sling. The Traverse in the Gods soon followed and was surprisingly unexposed – a muddy crawl with an in situ traverse line.
There’s not much horizontal caving at all in this cave, but the main shaft is truly spectacular. At the end of the traverse, young Xaaaaaandah boldly rigged the exposed Y-hang and descended. After a while, we heard him shout, “Rope free” and he sounded a considerable distance below. Following him down, it soon became clear that he had not put in any re-belays. Very good thinking, as our 80m rope only just reached the bottom. There was no rope rub at all and adding the two Y-hang re-belays marked on the CNCC rigging guide would have left us short of reaching the bottom.
Conditions were pretty dry, so the bottom of the pitch was actually very pleasant. On the way back out, we had a bit more time to admire the waterfall dropping down the shaft. It was very impressive but I can imagine that in high water levels it may turn things a bit nasty.
An excellent, short, clean trip, including the biggest pitch I’ve done all year. Good to do these classic SRT trips every now and then.