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Long Kin East

Tuesday December 21st 2021

Members present: Christopher Edgar,  Henry Sanders,  Jonathan Barlow-hall,  Paulina Poterlowicz

Report by Paulina Poterlowicz

The plan for this trip really took shape while celebrating a Christmas meal at the pub when Chris asked if I was still up for caving- er of course. Chris suggested Long Kin East, a great sounding cave but in my least favourite location- the allotments. Looking at the favourable weather it was decided I should suck it up and deal with the hour walk. I managed to recruit a Henry and even Jonathan who we were picking up from Skipton since we resides in the Dales.

We did have one major problem though- the allotment walk isn’t just tedious it’s a bit mazey and a GPS is very much recommended. I wasn’t overly concerned about finding the cave, but I was worried about getting back. I spent my Monday trying to charge old phones I found around the house hoping to use the GPS on one (since I didn’t want to take my own phone to the cave) alas my plan failed as I couldn’t remember the password to any of the phones- oops. Luckily, we were saved by Jonathan to asked to borrow his Dads GPS- thank goodness. With that done we were all set.

The day started extra early for me as I was travelling from the famous Leeds-ish and had an hours drive to York. Arriving nicely on time we packed some rope grabbed some gear and headed for the Dales- stopping in Skipton to pick up Jonathan and more importantly grab breakfast.
This was followed by a quick ride to the allotment car parking spot where I nearly had a heart attack upon seeing the steep bridle way I was expected to drive down. Panic over we got changed and set of to find the cave. The walk was not as far as I remember, and we passed the time in pleasant conversation and a fascinating story about Henrys famous “Sanders Arse” (which apparently skips a generation).

Eventually we found the cave as well as some ropes- ugh people. I rigged the first pitch which isn’t really a pitch more a very short climb which if it’s a dry day is honestly just easier to free climb. At the bottom we had two routes. Downstream was the way on but upstream apparently led to a different entrance so we decided to explore that and found the other entrance. Shortest through trip of our lives over we ran out of the cave and back to the first pitch. Back down the first pitch I saw some lights and found the other cavers on their way out.

Strangely they asked how much rope we brought leading to my conspiracy that they ran out of rope. They also commented on our lateness. Though I should say we got to the cave at 12:30 which for a YUCPC trip is actually peak efficiency.

We continued on following the winding streamway and reaching the first short pitches. And here my problems with this cave begin. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BOLTS. And none of them convenient! I was paralysed for choice whilst simultaneously so so confused. After some questionable rigging we were back to walking before I found another stay bolt that didn’t seem to be part of the description. And I was right. For future trips if you see a bolt just before a metre drop into a large stooping height balcony it is not the start of the big pitch but it is useful to rig a handline here (so maybe bring spare rope) or in our case we elected to use a sling instead.

Finally, we got to the start of the big pitch were again I had so so so many bolts to choose from. Eventually I randomly picked a few and got going. The first Y hang, deviation and rebelay was pretty obvious and simple (though I still forgot to put the devo in at first- I thought with the water levels as low as they were it wouldn’t be needed especially since its at an oddly high position relative to the Y hang but turns out the rope rubbed without it so I had to do my first spicy mid rope changeover to put it in.)

After this my problems really began. The description said some of the bolts would be hidden and they were not kidding! I couldn’t see them anywhere! On your way down be very careful. The bolts are position in such a way you need to swing to the right to the other side of the sharp ridge. It feels wrong doing so as there’s some unsettling rope rub but it is the right way. If you do not see any bolts at all. Look up. The angle of the wall makes it so they are very easy to see from underneath but hard to see from above. Indeed this was why I missed every y hang and had to go back up each time. More spicy mid ropes please. It was on the last single hang rebelay I got myself in a bit of an episode.

Its on a very odd angle and doing the rebelay in an upwards direction I got myself in a bit of a tangle. When I took my chest jammer of, I knocked it back shut on the rope. But it also shut my footloop in with it which I didn’t realise until I tried to sit and heard a ripping noise- TERRIFYING. Anyways I quickly got it out and tried to calm my heart rate. After that it was a smooth decent though and Henry joined my at the bottom to try and get blood back to his legs after hanging on a rebelay for half an hour. Jonathan soon followed but told us that “Chris had gone to get his chest tape” leaving me very confused, did he forget it? How would he get back up? But turns he just left it in his little tackle sack by accident some chambers back.

With everyone at the bottom we had some snacks and I got myself back on the rope. The pitch was beyond amazing but with the rigging drama I had I just wanted to be up it so I told Henry he could de-rig under Chris’s omniscient supervision whilst I laid relaxing at the top. Jonathan quickly soon joined me and we passed the time trying to figure out why there were so many bolts here. Chris and Jonathan soon caught up and Henry did a really great job de-rigging what the description itself describes as a “technical pitch”. Obviously, this means he can do all my de-rigging from now on.

Jonathan took over derigging after this and too did a quick job. On our way out we passed a short 1.5m climb where Henry very tragically fell on his ‘Sanders’s arse’ and I completely failed to control my laughter. We didn’t realise till later that he managed to full on cut himself- ouch.
We left the cave to absolute pitch darkness with not even a star in the sky. It was a very good job we had the GPS because all four of us where very disorientated and I’m still convinced we went the wrong way...yet ended up at the car somehow? It was also -4 outside so we were very very frozen and a shivery get change quickly occurred before driving back to Skipton for food and to drop of Jonathan. Next was York and back to Leeds-ish. I even got in before midnight!

All in all a very very good trip- your really going for that final pitch its insanely impressive but just watch the rigging as the bolts are very very hidden and not as far apart as you might assume. Also bring a GPS or do it in the summer. Navigation isn’t hard In the day time its just night that’s the problem.

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