Ian, The Viking and Brian (almost).
‘A fine hole with great variety in a relatively short distance’ – so says NC2 and I can’t disagree. I’d decided to get an early start to beat the walkers to the plum parking spots, with the result that the Viking and I were parked up at the unearthly hour of 9:15! With Brian due at ten we used our willpower to save a space next to the car for Brian, warding off a few attempts before a group of hikers pulled up at 10:15. With no Brian in sight, we changed and headed off at 10:30 armed with my Google Earth print to help find the Pot.
Remarkably enough, we walked straight to it and not being used to such occurrences, decided this was too easy and couldn’t be right, spending 10 minutes poking around before deciding that we’d got it after all. My only memory from the trip 2 years before was of the cobbly entrance crawl, the Black Dub pool and the fine big pitch, advising the Viking that he wouldn’t need kneepads, as there was no real crawling in the cave – mind you, seeing the cobbles and remembering my companion’s reconstructed knee, I handed him mine as I had a neoprene patch on my wetsuit knees anyway.
Whilst having a good reach for climbing, the Viking is a bit too lanky for some cave passage and I had a good lead to the first pitch, having it rigged by his arrival. With just enough water around to make the caving good clean fun, we were soon at the short pitch into Black Dub. With low water levels, I climbed down the pitch from the pool and then decided to rig it just in case we had a downpour, although the tight pitch head means a tricky squeeze that we avoided by plopping into the pool on the way out, making a squeeze to stand up, so both ways are a bit awkward.
Anyway, Black Shiver has one of the most spectacular pitches in Yorkshire in the form of the Black Rift, now fully re-bolted, with bolts in the roof leading down to a deviation to allow a landing next to the jammed blocks, which I guess are safe, where a new re-belay on the left wall and a deviation from a new bolt in the big block allow a free drop for the next 55m in magnificent surroundings – awesome stuff.
Having a wander round the base I found a rather nice bit of bolting kit, destined for return to its owner by the way – definitely not a bit of cave treasure!
Below the big pitch, a short wet section and a bit of sharp crawling – wished I’d had my kneepads back – leads to the fine vista from the window into North Chamber, again bearing new bolts and sporting a traverse rope and spits to the top of the alarming rubble pile, with some nice calcite visible in the distance, I resolved to investigate this option in the future. Some superb stream passage, with a brilliant little cascade climb, led to the crystal-clear sump pool – very nice indeed.
On the way out I had the entertainment of watching The Viking ascend the Black Rift, watching the steam rise towards me, together with a stream of curses and pleadings for the belay to arrive, where my companion’s relief was tempered by my request for him to haul the bag up!
Another fight for Mr long legs on the Black Dub pitch meant that the worst was over and we were soon out, where I waited at the entrance, listening to more curses and watching more steam clouds emerging!
Back at the car, a note from Brian explained he’d been late and couldn’t find the Pot!
Top day out and the beer in The Station was most enjoyable.