Saturday January 7th 2023
Members present: Christopher Edgar, Jacob Podesta, Jean-luc Heath, Paulina Poterlowicz, Rosie Marshall, Viki Smyth
The plan for this entire weekend really started all the way back at Bull Pot farm of first term, when Chris asked- Hey guys, would you be up for TSG weekend to do titan peak?
Er yes, absolutely.
It was originally decided the best time for this was once term ended sometime between December and January. A date was picked, and people were acquired.
Alas, the first of many issues occurred when I released, I couldn’t actually do this date as I needed to go home to put up the family Christmas tree. (a very important tradition!) This meant the weekend was moved to January 6th instead (Now, this is significant to the story because the original date picked ended up having some lovely dry weather…)
But with a new date set everything was going to be fine. Probably. Maybe.
It soon became quite apparent that the weather for the weekend was not looking too great, In-fact some would say it was looking quite damp. Well…it’s not like Titan-Peak is impassable in the wet or anything….
However, as the weekend approached the forecast was beginning to look somewhat more favourable so we decided to be optimistic and got to work acquired many many surveys.
Eventually Friday came, the shopping was done, and the car packed, and we soon set of for Sheffield to acquire Viki who was currently at her sister’s house due to various train related dramas.
Now admittedly we were a bit late to get Viki as we had to stop at the toilets of what can only be described as a HUGE Sainsburys, an unfortunate side effect of forcing Chris to down two cans of cider which exploded earlier in a sad packing incident at the store….
Eventually Castleton was reached where another problem popped up. When the TSG confirmed our booking, they never actually sent us the door code…
So, there we stood stuck outside on the road, I spent a while navigating my complex Facebook messenger archiving system (i.e., scrolling in my messages) to try find the door code from the last time we went to the TSG only to find the old code no longer worked.
(Now at this point you may be beginning to notice a trend of things not going to plan…you would be correct)
Eventually after many fruitless attempts as guessing the code we ran across a TSG member who let us in, Success!
In the morning we awoke to the sound of rain… a lot of rain. This was concerning but peak caverns wasn’t flooded so it must be fine, our reassurance only grew when one of the TSG divers displayed great optimism at the trip being doable.
With this we sat to eat our exciting breakfast a very well made chickpea pitta bread thing, which the TSG deemed too extra- seems to me they were jealous….
Eventually we set of, Now we had been joined on Friday by Jacob and Carly who had travelled all the way from Devon, Carly was there for walking but Jacob would be joining us for Titan, this meant we had 6 people so some people shuttling was required.
It was decided that Jacob would wait in the TSG for the rest of us to be dropped off with Jean-Luc returning for him later.
We set of and all was going well till we were about to reach Winnats pass, when I realised…
“Er Guys, do we need to get the titan key?”
One return journey later we were on our way to Rowter farm where the next issue occurred. The Rowter farm lady seemed quite concerned about us hopping fences to reach Titan, it was therefore decided we wouldn’t park there and would instead go part way down the Titan death track.
This was decided due to the fact that at the time we (I) thought I had parked there last time I did Titan. About halfway down the track we realised this was a very very bad idea when we heard some lovely car scrapping.
This is when I realised that yes I had been to the Titan death track but that I had approached it from the opposite side… One turn around later we were back at the hut contemplating whether to even bother with the trip….it was midday.
Still, we decided we would finish what we started. So, I once again consulted the Facebook archives and found the old parking coordinates Ade sent me and we set of- this time successfully.
(Probably the only useful part of this report is these coordinates so for easy Titan access head to 53.328017,-1.792259 on google maps but stop at the three way junction before the road gets sketchy- then head up the path turn right at the gate follow the wall down till you come across another gate on the left, cross it and head up the hill at a diagonal).
Me, Rosie, Chris and Viki set of to start heading down Titan whilst Jean-Luc went to get Jacob. We decided to bully Chris into rigging because I had already done it and Chris is tall. Chris was not too enthused about this…
“Do I really have to rig titan?”
Yes Chris, yes you do.
Eventually Jacob and Jean-Luc caught up with us and I couldn’t help but notice that Jacobs wellies looked a bit…odd.. Turns out he was wearing two right wellies after a tragic welly mix up back in Devon….
After regrouping we all headed down towards the second pitch. As we headed down I realised, Titan was a liiiittle bit drippy. But never one to trust my instinct I decided it was probably just as wet as the last time I was there….
At one point Chris asked me to check over his rebelay. Whilst I was hanging there. I was accompanied by an ever-increasing quantity of water pooling in my oversuit. This probably should have been a sign.
Once at the bottom we headed towards the connection to JH, though we had a survey I was pleased to realise that most of the route stuck in my head- and the streamway didn’t even seem that flooded!
At one point we all took a break for a beautifully staggered toilet mission. everyone bladders apparently not functioning that day. We got somewhat worried when Rosie didn’t return for ages and started theorising on how she died. (Turns out her under suit was just being a pain)
Some ladder climbs and nice traverses later we reached a duck. Ah this must be the connecting duck between Titan and JH….and it’s not even sumped!
After this the gate to JH was reached and our optimism increased. Yet at this very moment my dreams were shattered when I came across a large body of water in front of me. A sump? That can’t be right….? But there’s no other way on….Ah so the other duck lied… and this was in fact the wormy duck which sumps….and indeed it was sumped.
“Weeeeell that’s our trip over” I laughed somewhat hysterically to the others. Who at this point had yet to see the sump situation.
Now I should say that throughout this entire trip I was convinced, and I mean convinced that this duck would be fine. Absolutely fine. The reason being last time I was in titan I was told it would be sumped and it wasn’t. Turns out my confidence was misplaced.
I’ve got to say it was very weird seeing a passage you’ve been through before no longer passable… not a nice feeling.
With that we began the demoralised journey back to titan, dreading the thought of the very drippy long ascent…. but there was no point even attempting to bail the sump. The water was HIGH.
The next thing to figure out was which lucky person would have the joys of derigging titan
“I am not de-rigging titan, I did it last time”.
I made my opinion very clear to everyone. Jean-Luc couldn’t do it because he had to drive, Chris and Rosie couldn’t do it because they had to make dinner. So that just left poor Jacob and Viki.
With that decided we also decided to stagger our ascent up Titan with one person going up the insitu and the next person going up our ropes. This would hopefully mean we could all get out quite quickly.
I headed up second and this was when I realised just how much wetter the last pitch actually was. I was in the water up until the point I reached the rebelay. That’s over 50m of prussiking in cold cold water. As you can imagine, we were very freezing.
It was just before I reached the rebelay that Rosie started prussiking up on the other rope beneath me, and I’m not sure what was going on but I started spinning and spinning. We soon realised the issue with the double rope plan was that both the rope above and below you could get tangled simultaneously making it quite difficult.
The rest of the ascent was much drier and less tangled as the ropes were much further aside. Meaning we soon made it out to the dismal 3-degree biting wind.
After a struggle getting changed, Rosie and Chris were deposited back at the hut to get dinner started whilst Jean-Luc and I went back to the death track to wait for Viki and Jacob who were nowhere to be seen.
After some waiting, they eventually appeared, and it transpired that they had their own de-rigging dilemma with the rope getting tangled around the insitu and all sorts. (ill let Viki describe exactly what happened here…) Still, they were much less frozen than I expected them to be!
All in all, it was definitely an eventful trip! I broke the promise I made to myself of never going up Titan again, but it was good fun! I Definitely do want to go back in the summer and actually do Titan to Peak… Hopefully in much drier conditions….
Other YUCPC reports on Titan Shaft
- Titan Shaft -Venture to speedwell streamway by Paulina Poterlowicz
- JH Over-Engine Mine - Titan Shaft - 11/06/2011 by Toby Buxton
- Titan Shaft - 19th Jun 2010 by Karim Shokraee
- Titan Shaft - 6th Mar 2010 by Chad B
- Titan Shaft - Peak Cavern - 30th May 2009 by Kevin Francis
- Titan Shaft - Peak Cavern - 30th May 2009 by Chad B
- Titan Shaft - 14 Feb 2009 by Imogen Shepherd
- Titan Shaft / Peak Cavern - 09 Mar 2008 by Adam Wilkinson
- JH Over-Engine Mine / Titan Shaft - 17 Jun 2006 by Matt Ewles
- JH Over-Engine Mine / Titan Shaft - 17 Jun 2006 by James Gregory