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Boundary Pot - County Pot

Sunday September 12th 2021

Members present: Adrian Turner,  Jacob Podesta,  Paulina Poterlowicz,  Rosie Marshall

Report by Paulina Poterlowicz

Running on a luxurious 6 hours of sleep the day began ridiculously efficiently. Jacob was already up and had made breakfast allowing for a fairly efficient start which was required as we needed to go pre-rig the first pitch of County and leave our SRT kits there. We didn’t prerig the second (which would later reveal itself to be a mistake) as we planned to exit via ignorance is bliss which apparently doesn’t require SRT. We got to the cave for around 11am and were joined on our venture by a Red Rose caver named Toby whose knowledge of Easegill was appreciated.

After the excitement of the previous day (involving sling appreciation and dramatic frog rescues) I was ready for a smooth and speedy trip. Hah naive as usual. The entry to boundary was an interesting series of wormy crawls, our first obstacle a tight two metre climb down into a small chamber. Said climbs tightness was appreciated by Ade. As he was reorganising himself feet first, I decided to go for a little explore. Afterall the description did tell me to avoid the hole in the floor so obviously I had to go in it. Turning right I ended up in a crawly passage leading to a climb and…lights? Turns out it was a bypass. Calling Ade and Jacob we decided to go that way instead.

(So, for the future if you don’t like the climb instead of turning left towards said climb continue crawling forwards to a different more open climb and you can avoid it all together.)

Onwards we went with plenty more crawling till we eventually ended up at the “2 metre climb next to a 10-metre hole” exciting! Next, we needed to climb down into said 10 metre hole. Even more exciting! …or so I thought. We first had to traverse around the edge of this exposed hole which was spicy enough but then had to climb straight down. Admittedly it was at this moment I became absolutely stumped. Sat there on the edge I was just very confused. I could not for the life of me figure out how I was supposed to get down there!? Slide? No, I would die. Slowly lower myself? Nope death incoming. Hmm…

While I sat there short-circuiting Rosie decided to try a slightly alternative route and in the usual Rosie drama-free way immediately found a solution. With Rosie at the bottom, I decided to follow. I was told “when you get there it will make sense” Clearly my ability to confuse myself was underestimated because even sat at the point Rosie had climbed down. I was still stumped. After a while of staring at the floor I decided really, I was just being a wimp and decided just to climb and hope for the best. Just as I took my weight of the rock, I head the unmistakably loud clammer of boulders falling. Oh great, what have I done!?.... Actually, nothing for once.
While I was sat having a staring contest with a rock Rosie had begun looking for alternative climbs below me. Now I’m not entirely sure what happened but it definitely involved boulders falling straight onto her! Fortunately major injury was avoided but some hand bleedage occurred and Rosie spent the rest of the trip with a morbidly hilarious blood spot straight in the middle of her flood light! Thankfully they were shallow cuts! Anyway, with that terror out of the way I gained the confidence to climb down with no dramas and realised I was really just making a big deal out of nothing. As we wandered on I couldn’t help but to comment on the unstable nature of the cave to which Toby gifted me with the delightful story of the skeletons stuck somewhere in Nagasaki chamber- right where we were headed. Delightful.

With Nagasaki unsettlingly passed we entered Hiroshima (I’m sensing a theme here) a chamber Rosie (and to a lesser extent I) where familiar with. With vague recollection of “sticking left” in mind we led on….and of course were going the wrong way. (For future reference you turn and go left, not just stick to the left wall and somehow end up going right as we did). Fortunately, Toby corrected our course and suggested we visit Easter Grotto- an apparently pretty alternate route, it did not disappoint. Instead of climbing down into assembly hall we instead climbed up following the insitu rope and ended up in a gorgeously decorated passage. This led to a flat-out crawl where our second issue occurred. It was just a bit too tight to comfortably fit Ade, after some attempts it was decided the crawl was a no go so me and Ade decided to turn around and take the traditional assembly hall route into Hollbeck junction. Fortunately this was a route I knew well so no issues occurred…sort of. I stay by my claim that I know the route but as I wandered down the streamway leading up to Hollbeck I maaaay have missed the crawl bypass (found on the left) now in my defence I only missed it because the water level was so low the usually sumped crawl was not sumped and easily passable…just long….and flat out. It was in the middle of this I started thinking maybe I went wrong somewhere and felt rather stupid when I finally got out and saw the bypass. Poor Ade was forced to do the whole thing as well… I do think I might have broken him a tad. Nevermiiiiiind we reached Hollbeck in the end where everyone had a great time laughing at my navigational incompetence as Ade recovered. Rested and ready to go we pretty much ran straight to Stop Pot- all of us knowing the route pretty well.

From Stop Pot it was a quick path to County. Now the third issue. We couldn’t find ignorance is bliss anywhere! We climbed, searched climbed some more….nope. Alright. Well then. None of us had SRT kits since we left them at the bottom of the first county pitch assuming we could bypass the second. Oops. It was decided we would exit via Trident and do some sling D.I.Y to get us out. (note to everyone slings are amazing and 2 metre slings have purpose after all) We used a sling to get us up the first climb and then used it again to make a makeshift harness and cowtail to get us up the ~airy~ step up at the top of the second county pitch (most of which can be bypassed with a climb) It was at this point Jacob tried to teach me a fancy knot. Ever in a state of confusion I failed to grasp it and he instead just tied the makeshift harness around me himself. With that done we arrived at the bottom of the first pitch- after stopping to view the waterfall.
Finally, we reach our precious SRT kits exactly as we left them! With a speedy zoom upwards, we soon got out into the afternoon daylight! An insanely satisfying and eventful trip complete!

TLDR: Bring Slings. Don’t get crushed by boulders. The first tight free climb can be bypassed, And the 10m climb is best done from the rock protruding into the centre of the hole accessible from the far side of the chamber. (you’ll know it when you see it)