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Rowten Pot

Saturday November 19th 2016

Members present: Chad B,  Jean-luc Heath,  Joshua Young,  Martin Albacete

Report by Jean-luc Heath

Uploaded October 2019, after finding this written in paper form.

The morning began with a substantial breakfast cooked by Matt, after which the usual YUCPC pre-trip faff ensued. Once all the kit (or nearly all) had been packed, myself, Josh, Martin, and Chad began the short drive from the NPC hut to the Kingsdale area. Upon pulling into the layby where we were to get changed it became obvious that it had been snowing, something which that is somewhat unfamiliar to me.
After a rapid change into caving gear, we began the uphill trudge through the snow, guided by Chad and Josh's previous experience in the cave. Upon arrival at the cave entrance Chad began his standard no-faff approach to rigging, re-threading the initial Y-hang to save on crabs. After rigging the initial Y-hang Chad descended into the cave claiming he hated 'edges like this'. Upon hearing 'rope-free' I followed eagerly. After a short descent of roughly three metres, I found Chad still faffing to rig the re-belay correctly. Whilst dangling from the rope, waiting for Chad to sort out his re-belay and call 'rope-free' on the next section of the pitch, it became apparent that it had begun snowing once again. Martin and myself responded to this by singing (or partly singing) and array of festive songs such as 'let it snow', from the look on his face, it was clear that this festivity had raised Josh's morale immensely. 

Our festivities were interrupted when Chad called up to me, asking if I had any rigging experience, I replied saying I had done a few Y-hangs in the sports hall. Chad decided this was enough experience to carry out the task of 'tidying up' his Y-hang 'a little bit'. "Sure, why not" was my hesitant reply. Chad proceeded to call 'rope free' and began to descent the main section of the pitch, towards the 'bridge'. Once he had called 'rope free', I quickly untwisted the re-belay and began my descent to join Chad on at the bridge traverse. I was enthusiastically followed by Martin and Josh, who by now were somewhat chilly. I followed close behind Chad observing as he rigged the traverse. The traverse led along the bridge and onto a ledge that led to the next pitch. Chad swiftly rigged the pitch and began descending to the more challenging section of the cave. The next pitch began as a short descent that led to a tight traverse, this proved a little bit of a challenge for me with a tacklesack, but after a short period of awkward shuffling and swearing I was at the head of the next pitch. From here the rest of the descent was a straight forward set of re-belays, with a short traverse in between. 

After a short rest at the bottom, Chad and Martin began making their way out, leaving Josh and myself to de-rig. I was on packing duty. We quickly noted that one of the tacklesacks was missing the snapgates on its hauling line. It became apparent at the start of the first traverse out that Chad had used them to rig the traverse line due to a shortage of kit. From that point on it was relatively faffless, but still tiring prussic out of the cave. Upon reaching the bridge, Josh suggested that I de-rig the final pitch. I swiftly began this task, although was soon strongly reminded by Josh to watch my two points of protection, one of which was a cows tail clipped into a now completely unattached rope, oops… Keeping this in mind, I adjusted my points of protection and began making my way up the final pitch. Upon hitting the last re-belay it became apparent that the Sun had probably set, and that what I would call a blizzard had begun. Bearing this in mind we rapidly packed away and headed back down the hill to the car for a rapid change, eager to get out of the cold.

Overall: A low faff trip with some fun SRT, and little to no horizontal action