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New Rift Pot

Sunday April 10th 2022

Members present: Adrian Turner,  Christopher Edgar,  Paulina Poterlowicz,  Rosie Marshall,  Viki Smyth

Report by Paulina Poterlowicz

So new rift, the next phase in the very important Masongill event reconnaissance. Was I at all prepared for this trip? Of course not. Fortunately Rosie has appeared to memorise the entire description, and had packed the ropes and has printed of the topos. Much thanks.

Anyway, the day started at an early 6am for me since I had to drive to York. One I did I grabbed Rosie, Viki and Ade. Stopped of at the store and set of for the dales. “Er… are you going to get Chris” Ade asked. Oops. After returning for Chris we finally set of proper and I made sure to show Ade all my worst driving the entire way there. After an Inglesport breakfast we drove to Masongill for a very pleasant and sunny get changed. The entire way to the cave Ade and Chris planned their walk, neither believing they would get very far. You’ll be fiiine I said. It won’t be THAT bad….
Eventually we found the aptly named rift. All through the car trip Rosie and I had discussed the description, see we packed for the cncc description but the store description which we took had shorter rope lengths…hmm…. well the cncc hasn’t lied to us yet so surely it wont be a problem? Aaannnd it wasn’t. The rope lengths were more than enough! The first pitch was a very short scaffoldy hole that led to the first crawl of many.

As I entered, I explained this isn’t so bad. Famous last words. It got worse. It was strange though, like objectively the crawl wasn’t so bad, I have definitely done worse…but something about it was deeply unpleasant, we later decided it was probably the uncomfortable and uneven floor. Eventually I got to a small opening. I had with no evidence decided that was surely the worst bit done. So, when Ade said he was turning back I said naaah its fine it gets big now. Fortunately Ade did not listen, a few minutes later we also lost Chris. This was probably a wise decision as the rest of the cave was quite abusive to my hip bones. It involved a short crawl followed by a drop, another crawl and a drop, of course I made the wise decision of approaching this head first initially only to have to backtrack since there wasn’t enough room to turn around.

After getting down some of the climbs I turned back and deciding getting back up would be…well a bit of a nightmare. There were no footholds and I genuinely questioned if it was possible…ehh a problem for later. Eventually I reached the next pitch and started rigging. A nice and tight pitch-head opened onto a ledge where Rosie and I swapped and she started rigging the traverse. It was a very entertaining exposed traverse- the type you have no choice but to sit on your cowtails. Rosie got herself into a fun little tangle with the back, the old rope the new back and new rope. I decided to just sit and watch providing no help. I was instead contemplating how I really should have bought new cowtails for this trip… Anyway traverse rigged Rosie moved onto the next pitch an initially enclosed pitch that opened up into a MASSIVE chamber! It was really a sight!

Once we all got down we were out of description but Rosies memory came through and we began to wonder in the direction of colossus. Which involved a lot more crawling. Navigation was mostly smooth apart from one moment were I went to explore a roped climb (which just turned out to be a dig) fortunately as I was on my way back Rosie yelled that she found the way on. It involved a duck. Viki and I gave each other a look…did we have to go through. Unfortunately non of us had an excuse not to…we had only been in the cave 2 hours at this point…we really couldn’t turn back. Ugh. Duck it is. It was muddy. Very very muddy. With a sad cry of “Mi Underwear” I plunged through. With that done. We carried onto the mousehole. Now Rosie had been smart and took her SRT kit off. Viki and I had not. Rosie got through no problem, next was Viki who had a bit of an adventure trying to force her way through. The first attempt was not successful so I tried instead, I figured out the best way was to go diagonally left then straight away diagonally right in a Z shape.

Once I got through Viki went for attempt two, this time successful! After this it was a simple jog through necropolis to what we are pretty sure was colossus. Granted the last time we saw it was from the top in much wetter conditions (See our description of large for that mess) but we are pretty sure we were in the right place. Cave done! Right now it was time to get back. The journey back was much quicker, there was a fun moment when Viki plunged her face in some mud after exiting the mousehole though. After making it back to the last pitch I headed up first followed by Rosie and Viki on the de-rig. While waiting for Rosie and Viki I decided to attempt to try the first of the awful climbs.

Attempt 1: jump and try to wedge my arms- Failure- Elbow was bashed
Attempt 2: Jump and breath in to wedge body- Partial success- was able to get of the ground but that’s it
Attempt 3: Build a rock tower on the ground to stand on- SUCCESS

Unfortunately after all that hard work I was called down as Rosie’s light went out. Fortunately the battery was just loose and after tightening it started working again, my second attempt at the climb was much easier. With that done there was another trickly climb to go, this one was more sideways and an enemy to hip bones everywhere, whilst cursing my valley peasant bone structure I finally unwedged! FREEDOM! After this it was just a short crawl back to the first pitch which was quickly ascended to *gasp* sunlight! Once we were all out we met Ade and Chris back at the car for a pleasant get change and enough time to get to spoons where everyone drunk without me.