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Rowten Pot

Saturday November 26th 2011

Members present: Adam Walmsley,  Caitlin Brumby,  Sophie Hentschel

Report by Caitlin Brumby

The three of us YUCPC guys headed down the eyehole route after SUSS (I think it was, Tom, Chris, little Peachy and two more freshers?!) expecting a quick-ish trip. I was treating the trip as some good experience for Sophie and a bit of classic Kingsdale fun.

Things started to get amusing when Walmsers said ‘ Caitlin, I don’t think I remember how to use my gear’. I wasn’t too sure what to say to him at that point, so I think I just giggled – luckily (after I reminded him he needed to put on his chest tape) lots of SRT knowledge came flooding back (:P).

After I re-tied out the rope rub at the top (eeek!) we headed down, Sophie was getting used to using her new gear so it put a nice bit of distance between us and the SUSS guys. Nothing particularly eventful happened on the way down really, apart from me falling more in love with my light and a few excited squeals from Sophie – I couldn’t tell if they were because her cowstails weren’t the right length or because she was loving it! I was hoping for the second.
The water levels were high on the way down, we knew that but as Rowten is usually ‘OK’ in the wet, we weren’t worried. The high water on the way down sort of made it a lot more exciting.

We got to the bottom in good time, after I chuckled at the deviation that was just a snapgate through a P-bolt of the last pitch.... although I was noticing a lot of water where I didn’t really remember water being from my previous trips.
At the bottom we poked our heads round the corner – I was expecting to tootle off a bit further and look at the sumps, however I only looked round the corner and my face was wet from the waterfall absolutely chucking down water in the middle on the passage! Wow!

It soon became apparent that water levels were getting higher on the way up – the forcast rain has clearly started on the surface. Once we were getting ready to start prussicing up the second to last pitch – the good one that ends you up in the rift, I was getting VERY wet, and a little concerned. I made an effort to keep my cool as it was a little sad to see Sophie not enjoying herself, and being scared of water I’m not surprised. I do like a 'sporting' amount of water, but this was something else. The waterfall heading down this pitch had filled up to the ledge you stand on with bolts above the false floor, I’m not even sure I know how to describe it. You couldn’t really hear the person next to you, so rope free calls were a bit of a joke . Seeing how strong the water was coming down (-mainly in our faces) I thought it was best to tie of the rope tight (sorry for whoever in MUSC had to de-rig), so we didn’t swing in the water when letting ourselves of the ledge, I wouldn’t be surprised if it would involve in something broken/severve inhalation of water if one of us got too close.

Giving Chris (SUSS) enough time to get out I got on the rope and really hoped he was off by then! Prussicing up as fast as I could so Sophie could get out sharpish I managed to get a pool of water in my oversuit, on my back just above where my harness goes.. didn't think that'd be possible! Now I was debating if we should be there – I think this gave me more energy to run out! I got to the top and flashed my light lots below hoping they’d realise this meant rope free – Walmsers twigged and flashed me back ;)

I carried on out knowing Sophie would be following me pretty close behind. On auto-pilot I stormed out and got to the top (half wanting to tell SUSS we were ok- but I think we’d been waiting at the bottom of the second pitch quite a long time because we didn’t hear any rope free shouts, so they’d already gone back to the car – it wasn’t really the place to be waiting around in in all fairness) – unsurprisingly it was pretty rainy! Anyway, I soon heard Sophie screaming, so I headed back down to the bottom of the first pitch again – when I get there I wasn’t too sure what to do. I couldn’t make out what Sophie was doing – she sounded in trouble – but I was pretty sure by the rope movement and light movement that she was ok – and I knew the rope wasn’t in the waterfall. I headed over the lip back into the rift, and saw her light closer now – she was coming, and seemed fine, so sat for a while and then headed back out. Turns out Sophie ditched the willies to get out.. interesting tactic – but it seemed to work for her. I reckon it was just because she didn’t like the colour of her wellies ;)

When I got back onto the surface for a second time, I saw lights coming across – knowing it must have been the YUCPC guys that were in Jingling, I went over to have a chat. Sounds like Jingling was a bit more dangerous and dodgy because of the water (again… eeeek!). I think the amount + strength of the water in Rowten was massively more, but I’m glad I wasn’t down jingling! Jonny kindly waited with me at the top till Sophie and Adam were out – then we headed down to the cars.

A very wet trip – I don’t really want to go back when there’s anywhere near that much water in rowten. But it’s a credit to whoever bolted the cave – very sensible and well thought out.
In hindsight – it was sporting but fun :P