Swan Dike Pot (30 March 2019)

Swan Dike Pot (30 March 2019)

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Don 6 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #7531

    Don
    Participant

    Members Present: Don, Sharman

    Sharman and I finally, and successfully, managed to bottom Swan Dike this past weekend. No real issues. We quickly made our way to the bottom of the first pitch, managing to keep fairly dry along the way. We each pulled a bag behind us as we went through The Trick, which we entered feet first, with Sharman leading the way.

    Parallel Lines, the passage that follows, was cold and wet, and it felt like it took forever to get to Nasty Weather 1 pitch. This was easily rigged from a knob of rock at the pitch head which didn’t look very secure. This pitch is described as free-climbable or a hand-lined climb in NFTFH, but I think you’d have to be pretty suicidal to do so as it’s incredibly exposed.

    Nasty Weather 2 follows almost immediately. This was rigged with two slings around two different rocks and drops down an aven. At the bottom a short traverse/crawl along the right-hand side of a large open rift leads to a short muddy, flat-out crawl ending at a short drop down a body-sized hole into a very small chamber. The only thing we could find to rig from was a jammed block which you unfortunately have to sit on while rigging, which made getting on the rope a bit awkward, but not too bad.

    The pitch lands in a large aven with lots of water. A very low crawl at the base of the pitch, leading back under, is the way on. This was very low and wet. The crawl is also the most painful section of passage that I have ever been through in a cave and involves 15-20 minutes of mainly flat out crawling over a scalloped passage with lots of sharp, protruding rocks. According to NFTFH the passage improves and gains in height downstream, but this is a lie. The passage doesn’t improve in size until about 15 feet before the final pitch. This was rigged from a very small protrusion of rock. At the bottom of the pitch the water flows into a hands and knees crawl in a rift for 6m or so before ending at a free-climbable pitch, at the bottom of which is a sump.

    The trip out was uneventful. On the return through The Trick Sharman went through first and took a rope with him (or rather two ropes tied together as we didn’t have a rope long enough) which he carried in his hand. We then pulled through the two tackle bags separately, with Sharman’s harness travelling alone on the third and final pull through. I would highly recommend to anyone going through this crawl that you undo all of the straps on the bags, otherwise they will almost certainly get caught on something.

    Nothing else to note on the trip out apart from the fact that the entrance climb was very loose, something I hadn’t noticed on the way in. There are a lot of big rocks that move anytime you put any weight on them. We found it safest to try and stay on the scaffolding as much as possible when climbing.

    The total trip time was 5 hours, which is kind of surprising as the cave doesn’t seem that long (apart from Parallel Lines). Then again, having just checked the survey the cave is in fact 810m long. This is a good trip if you’re looking for a challenging two man trip that doesn’t take a lot of gear.

    It’s nice to have finally bottomed a cave with Sharman, or anyone for that matter. Having just checked the record I keep of all the cave trips I’ve done, this is the first trip out of a total of 16 that I’ve done with Sharman since January 2018 that we’ve actually finished. :good:

    #7533

    ChrisSh
    Participant

    Yes, it was really sharp in the bottom section. Not 15-20 minutes though – just felt long because it never really got to hands and knees.
    If I were ever to do it again (which I won’t) a ladder would be nice for the bottom, to save taking srt gear through the miserable crawl.

    Still, quite a nice trip, in parts.

    I’m surprised our fail rate is that high Don – is that just the two of us?

    #7536

    Don
    Participant

    Here’s an abbreviated list of aborted trips involving just the two of us and their dates:

    Yockenthwaite Pot – top of fourth pitch (6/01/2018). We turned around at the top of the fourth pitch because of the amount of water going down the pitch.

    Cow Pot to ‘too tight’ rift in Aardvark Series (20/03/2018). The rift was tight and committing and we didn’t know the correct way through so we headed back out.

    Sylvester Pot to bottom of climb into Rocky Horror Show crawl (24/03/2018). We turned around because we couldn’t find a way up into the crawl.

    Langstroth Pot to top of second pitch (19/05/2018). We headed back out because the pitch head was very tight.

    Lords Top Hole (26/05/2018). We made it as far as the very low crawl at the bottom of the entrance climb, but had to head out because the crawl was silted up.

    Broken Finger Pot (26/05/2018). We made it partway through the T-shaped entrance rift, but then turned around because we didn’t know how difficult it would be to rig the first pitch.

    Spectacle Pot (26/05/2018). We made it as far as the start of Splutter Crawl, then headed back out.

    Crystal Cave – Dog Hole – Monsoon Chamber (23/06/2018). We turned back because we couldn’t find the correct way on.

    Cupcake to top of 2nd pitch (22/09/2018). We thought the pitches would be rigged… but they weren’t.

    Swan Dike Pot – top of Nasty Weather 1 (29/09/2018). We turned around at the top of Nasty Weather 1 because we couldn’t find a suitable way to drag the tackle through The Trick.

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    Taking all of this into consideration – and this is only a partial list of aborted trips – I really think that we deserve to be proud of our achievement. When the two of us cave with others, our success rate increases, but only slightly. (Need I remind you of the trip in Brown Hill with Alex and Chris Kelly back in January?)

    #7538

    Xandar
    Moderator

    Sylvester Pot to bottom of climb into Rocky Horror Show crawl:
    I thought there was a lot of us on that trip, or did you have just one with Sharman?

    Lords Top Hole:
    Was that with me or are you saying just two people?

    But yes, you guys are the aborters. I am sure my list is almost as bad but I don’t have the list here.

    However me and Shaman did finish Barbon pot, even if I did have almost drag Sharman (Not literally) kicking and screaming through one or two of the squeezes.

    #7540

    Don
    Participant

    Sylvester Pot to bottom of climb into Rocky Horror Show crawl:
    I thought there was a lot of us on that trip, or did you have just one with Sharman?

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    Sharman and I attempted this trip about two months before you, Scaife and I did. You and Scaife didn’t believe us when we told you that the climb was, well, unclimbable.

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    Lords Top Hole:
    Was that with me or are you saying just two people?

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    You and I attempted this trip a year before Sharman and I did. Sharman and I made it as far as you and I did. Well, actually a bit further, by maybe ten feet. The low crawl at the bottom of the entrance climb is unpassable without excavation. I think it would take quite a while to dig it out as a) from what one can see of the low crawl ahead, it doesn’t improve in size, and b) there isn’t really anywhere convenient to dump the excavated soil.

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