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Sell Gill Holes Goblin Route

Monday April 9th 2018

Members present: Adrian Turner,  Hannah Risser,  Jean-luc Heath

Report by Hannah Risser

The day started as usual with Ade picking us up bright and early and driving us to the gear store. Little did we know that we were about to embark on an impressively faffy trip. We scrapped our original plan of a Simpson’s pull through due to the duck and (eventually) settled on a quick drop down Sell Gill. Gear was packed and we headed on our merry way.

We arrived at Inglesport some time after 12. The weather was glorious, but I was hangry. As we were in no particular hurry, we settled down for a long breakfast followed by cake. Jean-Luc was beyond pleased at the return of his battery box which still contained all of his possessions in at least a semi-functional state, as well as a disturbing amount of Lizzie’s blood. At least an hour was then spent browsing the shop. Ade acquired a box and some glue. I decided that due to a recent influx of money from selling old kayaking kit, I definitely deserved a fancy head lamp.

Somehow, we managed to faff about at the car until 15:30 getting changed and celebrating Jean-Luc’s new sponsorship by Inglesport (picture below). After a quick and surprisingly painless walk up to the cave, we were dressed and underground by 16:00, a mere 7 hours after we met up in the morning.

The descent was relatively uneventful and quite speedy. I was pleasantly surprised by the weird squeezey bit between the pitches, especially as it was perfectly shaped for me to have a quick lie down while Jean-Luc rigged the Y-hang. We continued down to the big chamber at the bottom and went for a slightly wet journey downstream, full of impressive calcite features. The duck looked rather unpleasant so it was decided that we’d come back and do it in warmer weather instead. Ade and Jean-Luc inspected some precariously placed boulders and discussed removing them to open up the passage.

As we headed back up, Jean-Luc informed me that I’d be derigging. Having never derigged before, I was quite keen to give it a go. All was well up until the crawl. I made my way through it and switched onto the next rope, when I realised that I no longer had a foot loop. The maillon was still screwed up tightly, so the knot must have come undone or been ripped. I shouted at Ade until I was relatively sure he knew what was happening, and crawled back through to the head of the previous pitch. I was very pleased to see my foot loop waiting for me on the ledge. However, when I retrieved it I noticed that the knot hadn’t come undone nor had anything ripped. Mysterious. Nevertheless, I reattached it and headed back up the next pitch.

While the traverse was enjoyable and relatively easy on the way down, derigging it was decidedly less fun. I made my way over to the last couple of bolts and started to freak out slightly, imagining how nasty a fall would be. My legs began to feel a bit jelly-like so I grabbed onto Ade and pulled myself off the traverse. I finished deregging it and then made my way into the safety of the entrance. After a quick reassurance hug, we packed up the last of the rope and headed to the surface.

We were met by a cheery Jean-Luc and made a quick descent of the hill. We reached the car at 19:00, and realised that, had we not faffed so much, we could’ve already been at home eating dinner. More faff and some accidental boob flashing to a passing car ensued while changing. After a quick drive, we popped our stuff back in the gear store and headed over to co-op to grab some food. We ate some well deserved pizza followed by cheesecake and ice cream, whilst watching Shaun of the Dead. Jean-Luc and I headed back over to badger hill and managed to get home just before 4am, an impressive 19 hours after we met the previous day.