Rowten Pot – Gully Route. January 4, 2015 by Denis Bushell
Leader Ian Cummins, with Denis and Fay
We met at Curlew Crafts Café, Ingleton, for usual chat and brief on trip. All looking forward, we set off to Kingsdale and kitting up. Ian was up and running first as usual, Fay a close second, myself still cobbling my SRT together due to a full strip down after a muddy solo trip to Derbyshire Hall, Nettle Pot the week before.
Starting on way up to Rowten I could hear a voice, it was Fay concerned that I was OK knowing I had a heavy cold and was on anti-biotics. I assured her I was on my way, I had the rope for the last traverse and pitch. The broken gully pitch has many re-belays and would allow me time to catch up. I enjoyed the descent being accompanied by the noisy excited stream till the re-belays took me into a zone of silence on reaching the pitch bottom. I passed Fay to assist Ian on the final traverse and pitch.
All down we removed excess gear to ease the our traverse to final sump via a deep large well-watered pool which it is possible to traverse round. Ian and Fay set off to negotiate the pool while I visited a rarely seen chamber in the opposite direction with flowstone walls and crystal clear pool. On reaching Ian and Faye at sump we all decided it would be a good dive. Water visibility good, lines in A1 condition.
Our opinions made we set off back, Ian leading pool crossing with little effort, his climbing skills showing. I followed and promptly fell in to my chagrin causing a chuckle from Ian and Faye which gave us all a good boost. Fay crossed successfully and we all geared up for the trip out. Ian would de-rig with myself as aid. Fay was to exit with first full tackle sack which she dutifully did after three attempts on the awkward chimney climb prior to the gully pitch. I kept Ian in view as he de-rigged. Ian topped the gully pitch where I relieved him of the tackle sack and set off out. Once up the pitch to the traverse line I clipped tackle sack on and followed it along. Passing the last hanger to my horror the sack plunged down into the main gully stream with its powerful flow and jammed under a large boulder. I realised the final part of the traverse was a hand line to the final pitch re-belays out into daylight once again. I have nominated myself for Nob-of-the-Year Award, WRPC. I shimmied down to the tackle sack now well wedged and weighing six million tones. My feeble attempts to pull it free were futile. Ian rushed to my aid as I slipped lower down into the jaws of the yarning chasm. Advice was all he could offer being to far away. Brain started to click in. If I went upstream and pulled on the hand-line traverse it would become taught causing the tackle sack to rise and release itself with less effort which was the answer. Job accomplished I said to Ian I would haul the next pitch as the effort in the stream had drained my energy. He OK-ed it. I opt for not replacing the deviation making progress up easier for myself and tackle final pitch re-belays, tackle sack dutifully hanging between my legs. I struggled wearily out reminiscent of Jim Peters classic 1954 marathon to the cries of Fay now half-frozen to death, “Well done, Denis”. She must have watched my minor epic in the streamway. On Ian exiting, checking we were OK and tackle accounted for, the intrepid team set off to Curlew Café for a welcome brew.