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Notts Pot - 03 Feb 2007

Saturday February 3rd 2007

Members present: Adam Wilkinson,  Charlie Dixon,  Chris Ward,  Chuck Holder,  Debbie Flowers,  Dominic Galliano,  Ellie Jones,  Gary Douthwaite,  Josh Vale,  Lauren Ellis,  Matt Ewles,  Peter Scowcroft,  Simon Herrod,  Steve Gilbert

Report by Chris Ward

Booyah! Notts Pot... had a bit of a job finding the cave, but that's because we followed the wrong ruined wall. There are too many apparently. Quickly progressed to the main chamber, where we found team one, who had left Bernies an hour afore us and hadn't got lost finding the cave, still rigging the first pitch of Central route. Stuck around and chatted to Josh and Debbie for a while, then Team Incontinence decided to make our way to our route.

Due to Pete needing to be in the middle of the group (he says that it's so if he gets stuck there are people to push <b>and</b> pull him out. I reckon it's so he can be sure of company during his slow death. Selfish bastard), I got to watch Steve rig. What an education. Every knot in the right place first try, and such impeccable SRT: safe, bloody fast and not a single tangle of rope and gear. It's clearly the kind of ability that comes from lots of practice.

Had a bit of a wait at the top of the Twilight zone while Steve tried to find the right set of p-hangers to rig off, as the walls are peppered with 'em. Started a good little sing along to keep warm, which would have been a little more sucessful if Charlie hadn't kept giggling whenever we tried to harmonise.

Once the first problems were sorted with the rigging of the main shaft, it was plain descending. The second part of the pitch is a giant shaft, which had me all prepared for a massive descent, but the rope suddenly disappears into a little hole in the opposite wall into another shaft. Quite a surprise, that made me laugh.

Before long we were at the bottom, joining the streamway. Once we were all down, we decided to progress to the lower streamway, but found that to get there there was a bit of free climbing to be done(more chimneying really) to a high traverse. Steve and I managed it without too much thought, but the walls were fairly sheer and most of theclimbing was using the arms. Others were having trouble, and I'm crap at helping in this situation. My technique for climbing is decidely non-standard, using a lot of dynamic movement where more slow static techniques would do. If I can see that I'm not gonna fall too far if I don't make it, I'll just jump for a hold and take the fall if(when) it happens. Most people don't like this idea, so I tend not to even bother putting in my two pence of climbing advice. We couldn't really proceed, so it was time to make our escape from the bowels of the earth.

Because of the multiple rigging teams, we went up a different route, the one that Dom had rigged all of twenty minutes earlier. Steve and Ellie decided to derig(this changed to Ellie and Charlie one pitch up), and I led the way out, fulfilling my usual role of Peter's squeeze tester. Second pitch up was a bloody long one, wouldn't have minded a rebelay in the middle of that to limit the bounce a bit. Waited at the top of the thid pitch up as there was a bloody tight crab walk that Pete would have had trouble with, and helped him get round it by shifting from the top of the pitch directly to the traverse line through a large but easily unnoticed hole. Ziplined down the high traverse back to main chamber(clipping an extra krab 'tween the rope and main maillon means you're still pretty close to the rope, and still gives you two points of contact when changing from one high traverse loop to the next.) Waited in the main chamber with Chuck, Peter and Simon for a good while while Steve, Charlie and Ellie finished up the derigging. As we began our trip back to the surface I almost got killed by Dom for singing "A whole new world" from Alladin. Painful memories, apparently.

The night sky was gorgeously clear on the way out, and got to lie and watch the stars while the rest of us incontinents emerged. A chance to navigate by the stars on the way back, and this time we didn't get lost.
A lovely change (it may have been cold, but there was no wind or precipitation of any kind), and then we settled down to wait for the other groups. Team Beautiful arrived pretty quickly, and we played a few games, including tag (where I ran into a bog and got my good clothes covered in mud up to the shins), and I taught Peter a bit of Tae Kwon Do. Ran up and down the road to see if we could see Team Green escape from the cave but to no avail. By about ten it was decided for the older members to suit back up and go and see if they could provide any assisstance, while we freshers pissed off to get something to eat. Felt a bit guilty leaving the rescue attempt, but there would have been very little I could have done other than get in the way. Turns out Team Green were coming out of the cave when Steve and Dom arrived, so all went well.

Think I need to start getting some of my own kit. Just gotta find £400 somewhere. Any generous benefactors, I'm right here.