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Coniston Slate Mine

Present: Phil, Denis

Snow-capped peaks making for a chocolate box setting. Parked at top car park, Coniston. 

Itinerary – to bolt top level pitch for coming WRPC trip, and also to check lower adit for connection with upper levels. Steady walk up through snow fields saw us arrive at lower adit level. Phil sat it out while I had a look. 40m in the adit opened out into a split chamber with rising floors to huge loose boulders. I returned to Phil to continue up Coniston Old Man to middle level. Phil entered at this adit. I continued to top level with scaffold pole which proved to be too short. 

Looking down from my vantage point at Phil across the huge chamber 50 metres lower was atmospheric to say the least.

This must have taken a lot of time and effort to quarry in those times. Cables as thick as your arms and huge pulleys, not too mention the rail tracks, all half way up a mountain. I rappelled down using some old floor pins over the edge into a free hang to level below Phil. He set up a nylon road to his level with a length of climbing confidence line. On reaching anchors I noticed one which I had left 6 years previous. Reason, I was on a solo pull-through trip and the Petzl half twist was too tight to chance hence the sacrifice. I started to unlock the safety collar, to my amazement it turned, not problem. Also the locking bar hinge ran freely. 

What a tribute to this piece of equipment. We then had a climb up the great rubble heap to next level for tea and crumpets in candle-light: all electric off. I am an old romantic. 

Exiting out into bright Lakeland sunshine. We had some fun on the snow slope. Great day.

Trip Date: 11th February 2017
Added: 25th May 2017
Reviewer: Denis Bushell
Hits: 709


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