Sunday April 28th 2013
Members present: Adam Walmsley, Mark Sims, Toby Buxton
A 7:30 meet at the container in the sun was followed by some irritating rope packing with the usual wire-like ropes (will we ever get a water supply?!). This was made slightly worse by the fact that we'd gone for 3 slimline bags, largely for this T-piece traverse thing that all the trip reports seemed to mention. Eventually we'd just about got the ropes in the bags and we were off to the Dales. Admittedly after a detour to my house when I remembered that I'd got far too used to 18 degree caving, and that King may warrant a thermal to compensate.
Around Harrogate we very much lost the sun, and it drizzled all the way to Ingleton. The standard Yorkshire pud, sausage, chips and gravy went down a treat, as always, and we were soon sat in the cars by Braida Garth Farm waiting in vain for the rain to stop. Obviously this didn't happen until after we'd got outside and changed, but at least it happened before most of the walk up.
Once up the side of East Kingsdale I did briefly entertain the idea of Vespers/Spectacle on several knot passes as we blindly wandered around the bog in the mist, but thankfully after about 10 minutes we found the entrance. There seemed to be a unanimous vote to send me in first, so I clambered down into the very wet-sounding entrance rift. The first section was pretty plain sailing, and it was enjoyable to be somewhere new and a little challenging. Before long we were in the traverse, which wasn't in the slightest bit what I was expecting. Pleasingly it was a lot shorter & less strenuous than I'd assumed, although I did manage to get fairly stuck at the end as I optimistically opted for a nice worn way that was somewhat smaller than me (although Toby made it look simple on the way back...). The nice stompy section that followed was also a nice surprise - I somehow had an image of King being largely horrible crawling passage.
The fact that it was raining outside certainly wasn't lost on me in the next canal section, but with it ending immediately at the next pitch it was hard to see how it could fill up any more. The more pressing matter seemed to be that the bottom half of this pitch was pretty wet already, but it looked like we could probably climb this bit further down if needs be, so agreed we were all happy to carry on.
In the next crawl, the noise of Elizabeth's Pitch was pretty noticeable and the current was fairly strong. We optimistically rigged the pitch, but it was pretty clear that whichever way we rigged, we were going to be right in the middle of the water for about 2/3 of the drop, so given the rain outside it was a bit of a no-brainer to turn around.
The trip out was fairly straightforward, although there was possibly a slight increase in water levels vs. the way in. We emerged to a slightly clearer day than we'd left, although Kingsdale Beck was now overflowing. After the usual discussion of why on earth us Yorkies seem to be so slow at getting changed, we were off to Bodrums for the obvious tea-time-special choice of meat feast & rubicon. Why on earth Toby chose a farmhouse is beyond me.
A great day down a great cave with great people. Next time we'll go when it's drier and see what this master cave is all about.
Just for reference, all pitches were more than adequately resin anchored (the top 3 by the CNCC, I believe) so no need for any hangers.