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Titan Shaft -Venture to speedwell streamway

Saturday March 5th 2022

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

Report by Paulina Poterlowicz

Look this was a very long trip and we went to a lot of places at the bottom of titan. And i have given myself the flu (who would have thought doing titan while unwell was a bad idea) so i'm just going to write about the important stuff! Give this a read before you rig titan as there’s a few things to watch for.

The first pitch is simple enough just a y hang and nothing more. The challenge starts on the second trip. I had been warned that the big bolt of titan (there is one huge bolt that’s quite literally twice the size of the others) was very high up and hard to reach. Now when I was there, there was another rope in (used for a project i'm just going to call this insitu for convenience) so I was lucky enough to be able to put my cowtails into it and not have to rely on a knot and hand jammer but if this rope is gone this is unfortunately your only option as you reach out over the edge.

Its not so bad though you can reach this first bolt if your anything over 5.4feet. The real issue is the next bolt. Ok so titan has two backup anchors for the traverse then 4 bolts on which you can rig the actual descent. The first of this is the big bolt I mentioned earlier. Just behind the big bolt is an extensively thick chain. Just right of the big bolt is another bolt this is very high up. Right of this and even higher is another bolt. These high bolts are what the insitu rope is rigged of.
If you are anything under 5.8f you cannot reach either of these high bolts. This isn’t a case of oh its more difficult I do mean its impossible. There is no foothold to stand on and when I was fully leaning back arm extended and on my toes I was lacking about a hands length to the first of these high bolts. Don’t even try to reach the furthest high bolt on the right I genuinely think only a giant could and I question how they got it in there.

So you have multiple options for how to rig this pitch,

Option a) just use a fig 8/9 on the big bolt. I’ve been told this is how it used to be done. I didn’t like this, although your still backed up there’s a small amount of rope rub and I just feel like if there’s extra bolts available, I want to use them….it is a 120m pitch after-all….

Option b) tie one arm of the y hang in the big bolt and one arm in the massive chain. I also didn’t go for this because I personally didn’t like how the chain was weighted but this is probably a good choice.

Option c) tie one arm of the y in the big bolt and one arm in the first high bolt. This is my preferred option because if there is insitu you’re not rigging directly over it, it avoids rope rub and is actually semi doable unlike reaching the furthers bolt on the right…. You can go about this in two ways, If you have a tall person with you like I did, you can rig the y hang and just ask them to clip it in for you. If you don’t then you’re a bit more stuck. Should the insitu be there you can prussic up it to clip the crab in otherwise there was a bit of rope with a loop hanging down you might be able to stand in but to be honest it didn’t look particularly appealing since in that case you are sketchily hanging over the edge. I suppose you could also make the traverse line to the big bolt so long you prussic up that? Though that would make for a nasty fall in the impossible event the big bolt fail.

Option d) If you are a giraffe. You can rig the y hang of the two big bolts. Or prussic up the insitu should it be there to put the crabs in.

The next bit to watch out for is event horizon. In order not to make the rebelay an absolute pain on the way up you must must must make sure you tie in your rope into a bolt next to the start of the event horizon traverse. If you do not do this you will get so much rope stretch on the rebelay on the way up that if you forget to clip in you will fall an uncomfortable distance and no doubt die of a heart attack. You may also string yourself up so its really not worth the risk.

One final thing to watch for. When I was looking at the topo it seemed to me you start a new rope on the event horizon traverse this is not the case. Start the new rope on the rebelay. Or bring a 70m instead of a 65m. I learned this the hard way when I was 5metres of rope to short at the bottom. Fortunately, due to rope stretch we could reach the bottom and just prussic a few metres up the insitu to get back on our rope for the way up. But yeaah.

Also, also if you are doing the exchange to JH I was really surprised to find the duck perfectly doable after some pretty heavy rain (we didn't expect this hence why we had exit back via titan ...yay) but this is not a guarantee. However, the duck is very short so to be honest it can probably be bailed out without too much fuss.