Knotlow Cavern Chocolate bunny challenge
Saturday April 7th 2012
Members present: Andy Hurlbatt, Sophie Hentschel
Report by Sophie Hentschel
On Saturday we changed our plans from going to Oxlow to going to Knotlow instead, trying to get into Hillocks Mine via Meccano Passage as suggested by Tom and Dave (SUSS). Driving to Knotlow took an hour instead of the promised 20 minutes, partly because the Sat Nav was not very precise with the directions it gave. A further complication was the equally imprecise description of how to find the entrance to Climbing Shaft provided by our friends from SUSS, “just go straight from where you park the car and go over two fields”. At last we found the entrance grid and it was Kristian’s turn for rigging practice again. However, he did look slightly nervous sitting on top of the shaft, and tried to disguise his insecurity with more random babbling. His hands were trembling a little bit and gave him away – or was it the cold? Andrew helped him dressing the knots a bit better. Before we entered the mine, I gave a mini chocolate bunny to each one in the group and challenged them to bring them back intact to the surface. Finally Kristian and John were satisfied with the rigging and Kristian disappeared into the darkness. I was the last to go. Andrew rigged the next bit which included a traverse and a deviation, the latter being quite easy as one could just sit on a ledge. When I arrived at the bottom, it was my turn again with leading and rigging and a few easy climbs later we could hear the sound of the inlet. We all inspected the hanging traverse to the last pitch wondering how on Earth the Y hang was supposed to be rigged, because there was a P-hanger on the opposite wall and that would have resulted in quite a difficult situation on the way back up. In addition the rigging plan did not help too much either, because it did not precise which hangers were to be used. And as it was nearly turnaround time, we decided not to rig the pitch and make our way back to the surface. Also I had urgent needs. When everybody was back out of Knotlow it turned out that Kristian’s watch was still on some awkward time zone (was it Tokyo or Paris???) and that it was not even turnaround time :S. However, as Ruth and Kristian wanted to drive home to Leeds the same evening and preferred not being too exhausted, we dismissed the tempting idea of going into Hillocks for a short trip. Three of us still had intact chocolate bunnies and these were donated to a very hungry John. We drove back to the hut for some late afternoon lunch and faffing, and later joined the SUSS guys in the pub. An excellent rigging practice trip!
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