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Link Pot - 15th May 2010

Saturday May 15th 2010

Members present: Debbie Flowers,  Max Spicer,  Nicola Gover,  Simon Herrod

Report by Nicola Gover

Faff level of 3 was all deliberate faff. Still left before the rescue people despite trying our hardest :-p

Really nice trip. All pretty easy, and mostly walking passages (nice ones). Need to go back and do the pitches when not tired/hungover.

We started off by popping over to Echo Aven to rig for the top sink-pippikin team, only to find the fixed rope had been replaced and is probably fine to use for a good while now (also better placed now to avoid an awkward climb up). Rigged anyway as they wouldnt know that from below. Si rigged quickly, and we left their food bag and headed back to Hilton Hall.

Taking pybus bypass, which is 6m downstream from the entrance in the left wall, and is an upward squeeze, we headed straight on the Squid Junction, where the way to pippikin goes off on the left and we go right. This leads to Black Hole chamber, and the way on is a small hole to the left and a short flat out bit. Immediately after this a turning on the left goes to Arrow passage which we didnt look at, we went straight on/right, turning left at the next junction where Missed Passage goes off ahead. This leads to a step over a canyon and to China Dog Chamber, after which the canyon starts.

Thankfully this has now been rigged with a traverse line as some of the bold steps are pretty bold, especially for the shorter of us! The traverse line leads straight to Tigers Inlet, with a chain to help you climb up. The line also splits here to lead to a way down the canyon, which we did on the way out. The canyon is really cool, very tall and canyony! Tigers inlet is pretty nice too, proper stream passage, with no stooping or sideways walking needed! A short way in you get to a boulder pile and a junction. The description is a bit misleading here, describing a passage that we couldnt find and wasnt on the survey! Climbing onto the boulders you can see a passage to the right-this leads via a low crawl to Handpump hall which is quite pretty. To the left is the continuation of Tigers inlet. Another way into Handpump hall is a climb up on the right just after the start of this, with a tight slot up into it. Straight on leads to a junction, where left goes to whisper aven (dangerous apparently) and right (signposted by a penis cairn!) leads to Cairn Junction.

Three large passages lead off, the right-most of these being the way on via death row stals, and the middle one being molten mars bar crawl (which goes to the same place but is less pleasant). Theres another passage on the right of death row, which is obscure and we didnt look for. The next bit is the least pleasant of the cave, but still ok as mainly crawling on mud not cobbles! Once it gets low and holes appear to the left, go through one of these (described as a squeeze but isnt) and continue straight on, ignoring a junction on the left that goes to molten mars bar. Not long after you pop out at Serendipity. A big chamber with a waterfall (fairly puny when we were there).

The pitch (~6 m) can be rigged from a thread by where the crawl enters or can be avoided by traversing round and climbing down by the water. This leads to the next pitch (~20 m) then another. We didnt bring rope for these, but apparently the second two have been P-bolted. These lead to easy street which is supposed to be pretty nice. Must go back! We traversed round and continued in the streamway for a bit, which is quite pretty, then headed back out. Had a lovely sit down and a chat at cairn junction, and a mars bar stop at handpump hall on the way out.

Back at the chain to Tigers inlet, we took the other branch of the traverse line, which finishes pretty quickly after the bold step, and climbed down into the canyon by the stal (easier than it looks). Upstream leads to Panic aven which is unstable (avoidable by another route but we didnt bother), so we went downstream as far as we could go, eventually reaching The Ramp where the water disappears into cobbles. We followed the oxbows all the way, which were quite pretty in places. This is the only muddy bit of the cave! On the way out Si climbed up much earlier and avoided much/all of the traverse.

When we got back to Hilton Hall we found 4 lovely tacklesacks waiting for us, meaning the top sink-pippikin people had come past (we just missed them apparently), so we hauled them up after getting up the pitch (not as awkward when not tired!) and kindly carried them back :-)

Back in plenty of time, we proceeded to cook lots of thai green curry.

A really fun little trip, nothing demanding and the only hard bit being the traverse steps if you dont like that sort of thing. Ideal sunday/hungover trip. Must go back and do the pitches!