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Rowten Pot - an exchange between Big Gully route and Eye Hole route - 2nd Jan 2011

Sunday January 2nd 2011

Members present: Andy Tricklebank,  Caitlin Brumby,  Ellie Jones,  Mark Sims,  Max Spicer,  Mike Rippon,  Steve Gilbert,  Toby Buxton

Report by Caitlin Brumby

Going down was fairly efficient - and needless to say very impressive as Rowten seems to always be.
I wasn't massively enthusiastic about the trip but probably because I forgot how massive it was, and how awesome the rock bridge at the bottom of the first pitch. I agree with Mike when he said 'It's like something about Lord of the Rings.' The SRT is very fun - and going into the rift at the top of the main pitch is definitely better then remember - looking down into nothing whilst trying to shove yourself through the rift was also more exhilarating than I remembered. And coming down the main pitch I abseiled past Steve rigging - hehe! Actually all the way down the route we could see the other team coming down the Big Gully route darting around below, to the side and above us - great fun!! It also made me very excited to go up that new route!!

Both teams go to the bottom at a similar time - our team got to the bottom first - just!! We went down a bit from the bottom pitch to see the Big Gully guys traversing over the little waterfall at the end - definitely what all caving should be about :P

Anyway - we quickly headed up (trying to get out at a similar time). Me and Mark headed out and then waited for tackle sacks at what is the bottom of the main pitch for both routes! The pitch in the Big Gully route is a bit bonkers, it goes around the wall of the main pitch - rebelay after rebelay plus a deviation in there for good measure. You then end up under the rift of the main pitch of the old route by the waterfall, traversing over it. There's definitely more cave to Rowten than we first thought. I carried on with my wet heavy tackle sack to the bottom of the first pitch - so basically waited outside and watched it go dark next to the beautiful waterfalls/cascades and ice formations. Turns out I was waiting because Toby couldn't pack an 83m rope into a tackle sack and had to then coil in mid pitch - silly Toby :P
Anyway once Mark got back (to a very worried Caitlin) I headed out, Steve's rigging was shall we say - a bit interesting - a hanging traverse going upwards! Eeeek! As Mike said 'It's like prussicing up a pitch without a chest jammer.'
We were a bit later out than the other team - but the Gully route I think is a bit longer (- I think we only got to the bottom at a similar time because Steve is a bit of a rigging machine :P)

An amazing route -which I think its far more entertaining than the old route - and it full of technical SRT - yay :)
We all think it will become a classic exchange trip, and quite rightly.