Triumph! After being washed out of this cave on my first 2 visits, we found conditions to be totally benign and managed to get to the bottom in leisurely style.
Meeting team Dudman in Kingsdale, we got changed and ready to walk up the hill, when I realised that we were parked up under Rowten and re-embarked to drive a bit further along the valley. That’s what happens without having a Navigator or Surveyman along!
Striking up the hillside, we managed to hit the sink bang on and I was immediately impressed by the sound of silence – barely a drop was falling down the shaft and with the novelty of club ropes and bags (didn’t fancy the maillons though – prefer ‘biners myself), we were soon at the head of the final pitch, which was in total contrast to the foaming sheet we’d experienced last time. Curiously, the rigging guide suggests that few cavers venture down this pitch due its awkward traverse and lack of much of worth below – I guess one could make the extrapolation and not bother going caving at all!
The final pitch does have a nice traverse – quite tight, before dropping down to the final chamber. I must admit to being surprised as to how such a large cave can end in a tiny wet slot – not an inviting sump at all.
While Matt de-rigged the last pitch, I had a look at the passages above, passing the pool and catching Emma on the fourth pitch, we climbed up to the platform to inspect a line of very old pegs in the weakness up to an aven that are normally obscured by the spray.
I couldn’t resist the array of bracket holds in the entrance shaft and with a self-belay climbed up – the last bit was a bit nasty though and Matt followed suit.
Clean and dry – what a fun trip.