Saturday January 14th 2017
Members present: Dan Boothby, David Willis, Gary Douthwaite, Jean-luc Heath, Lydia Loopesko, Matt Ewles, Rachel Findlay, Toby Buxton
Next challenge, for me at least, was getting my car and all 5 of us up Leck fell. The weather was reminiscent of a previous trip this time last year (http://www.yucpc.org.uk/trips/report.php?id=1428) where I failed miserably and ever since then my car and I have never been able to live it down. This time though, it redeemed itself! We swiftly made our way up with only one brief moment where I was unsure of its ability. I was able to keep up momentum until we were face on with the farmer and I had to pause. I then couldn’t get moving again, much to the farmer’s amusement where he stopped (much like last time) and asked me, “is it not a 4x4?” He proceeded to give me some advice on reversing and turning around and if I was still here in an hour when he returned he’d give me a hand. I kept faith, ignored his advice and we safely made it to the layby!
All seemed to be going so smoothly until a brisk change in the snow seemed to change our luck, Lydia had misplaced her metalwork. I had a spare rack in the car and Toby and I decided we could get out sharing jammers somehow. Deciding we’d work out exactly how later we set off across the fell in search for the cave with its obvious tree in the entrance. Boothby started rigging first off the fence post then the tree and descended into the (not so) Rumbling hole. As I was last in line I heard some brief shouts of knot passes and that Boothby was ascending and decided it’d be best if I went off for a little walk to visit some other caves nearby to keep warm and let them sort out the faff themselves. When I returned Jean-Luc was still in the same position beside the tree describing how tropical it looked below and someone mentioned it was like Hawaii? The temperature felt far from Hawaii out here!
Eventually I started to descend the shaft noticing Boothby and Tobes has disappeared to continue rigging the next pitches. Unfortunately Lydia then got herself into a predicament with the deviation which involved her getting onto her jammers and returning to the top of the pitch for a second attempt. Raring to try again after realising what she did wrong, she made her way down again. However, panic ensued after her locks fell off her rack. She ascended again and decided to make her way out. I followed her up to the top to make sure she surfaced safely. After swapping my car key for Toby’s jammers to make our ascent less challenging I made my way back down the entrance pitch, finding out for myself that the deviation was in fact not the easiest.
The others were too far ahead to hear the usual chatter and clinking of metal making the cave feel eerily silent. On descent, I realised something strange was going on with the rigging, pitches were rigged very tight and the rope barely reached the bottom. I then found the yellow tackle sack half way down. Having packed the bags myself I knew that bag was destined for the bottom and figured they’d managed to get them mixed up. Although we decided that without the bag mix up there was a fault in the rigging guide or our rope which was apparently 30m long, wasn’t – I wouldn’t be surprised. We reached the bottom regardless and by the time I caught up they were descending the last pitch to check out the foamy sump below. I don’t think we’ll be making our way through to the Leck fell master cave today!
We’d arranged with Matt, Gary & David that they would be along later to derig so we efficiently made our way to the surface with very little difficulty, bumping into the York Cooking Club lot on the way. Jean-Luc and Boothby had already started making their way back to the car when I arrived back on top of the snowy Leck fell. I waited on Toby, who was not far behind me, and taking a more direct route got us back before them just in time to greet the farmer who was going past waving in a congratulatory way for making it further up the fell in my ‘non 4x4’.
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the trip and so revelling in the days adventures we made our way to Bodrums in time for the tea time special!
Arriving back at the gear store by 8.30pm and solving the mystery of the missing jammers, which were found on the floor, rounded up a good days caving - starting of the new term as we mean to go on.