Rumbling Hole – Dead Dobbin Series
Ian, Richard Bendall and Inglesports ‘A Team’.
Club website readers may recall RB’s newsflash from last year of his major new discovery in Rumbling and with explorations nearing maturity, Richard and Dave wanted a hand getting their fixed ropes out of the cave. A busy weekend saw me out with the WRPC moles on Saturday and stuffing myself at the YSS do on Saturday evening – meeting WRPC member Brian for the first time too! A very enjoyable club meet down Bull Pot on Sunday saw new members Chris and Phil looking solid and with gear just about dry, I was in Inglesport on Monday morning for the Rumbling trip.
Dave expressed reservations, wishing to get a rope from a wet aven that he believed might be impassable, but I was keen to get down the cave and Richard cast the vote for the trip to go ahead. Richard also drew a crude survey whilst we were drinking our tea, showing the 9 pitches down to the sump into old Rumbling, together with several other side passages – very impressive. The other team members, Emma and Becka, had also done the trip several times and knew each twist and turn by heart. Parking up, Richard realised he had no helmet and called for the late-arriving Dave to re-supply, whilst Emma and I headed off to rig the entrance. With my first view of the Rumbling shaft I was very impressed by the lushness of the damp walls and the fine cascade down the far side – almost like a Hawaiian mountainside in its misty greenness.
Emma rigged on the big fat mooring rope that Richard had brought and I struggled to force the thing through my Stop as I followed the zipline down to the traverse into the hole partway down the shaft. The rest of the team caught us up here and a bit of dusty crawling led us into the clean, but quite tight, ‘Reluctance Crawl’. Not too bad for someone of my bulk (or lack of it), but having some right angled bends and leading to the tightest pitch head of ‘Blasphemy Pitch’, which I managed to pass without any curses. The eponymous easy pitch followed, leading to the trickier ‘Profanity Pitch’. All very enjoyable stuff and relatively dry too. At this point, Richard directed me to the free-climbable bypass to pitches 4 and 5, consisting of a wet, but juggy climb down to a squeeze and an exposed traverse across another shaft to climb down its far side. I took my gloves off for this, requiring proper finger and toe work for the reach across to a big, booming flake hold – oops! You have been warned!
Meeting the rest of the team below, we continued down pitches 6 and 7 to view the fine waterfall down ‘Bruised Pilchard Aven’, complete with rope to be recovered hanging nicely in the spray, but a quick jaunt down the final 2 short pitches led to the sump pool, where I had a nice wallow to test its dimensions.
On the way out, as usual I was desperate to free-climb as much as possible, enjoying the juggy moves up pitches 8 and 9, before arriving back at the aven. Having plenty of neoprene on, I wasn’t worried about the water and was soon out of the worst at a rebelay. At the top of the rope, a couple of hangers were unscrewed and the rope rigged for the pull-down – all going smoothly.
The free-climb to bypass pitch 7 was also dispatched, as were quite a few of the holds, making sufficient noise for Mr Ramsey to question my health, but a bit of strenuous bridging saw me popping into the small tube at the top of the climb to ascend pitch 6 on the rope.
Another unpushed passage at the base of pitch 5 was investigated by Dave, who emerged spluttering from the mud wallow, presenting the most disgusting sight I’d seen since I saw Simon smearing udder cream on his buttocks to stop his wetsuit chafing! Needless to say, I had a go too, pushing on a few feet further through the thick, stinking stuff, before admitting defeat. Thoughts of reclimbing the bypass in my filthy state were abandoned, although ‘Easy Pitch’ was enjoyed without the rope.
Back at the tight crawl, Emma and I uncoiled the ropes to pull them through the nasty bits, whilst Richard de-rigged the aven near the entrance and we soon left with only the ropes above ground to negotiate in the chilly, windy darkness. Leaving Dave to do the final bit of de-rigging, we tramped back to the cars with our soggy loads after a very fine day out – a top team effort to shift such a lot of gear from this fine discovery!