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Rowten Pot - 23 Apr 2008

Wednesday April 23rd 2008

Members present: ,  Adrian Turner,  Debbie Flowers,  Marianna Wilde,  Mark Sims

Report by Marianna Wilde

Was really good to actually do Rowten after the famous Trip Of Faff last term. We did very efficient rope packing etc, easy journey and got to the layby by about 2.15, I think? Something like that. Delighted not to see a single caver apart from us! After lots of weeing behind walls and persuading Ade to get out of the car, we all got changed at hyper speed. Thanks to Simon and Andy for lending us helmets and lights and so saving the faff of a stop at Bernies. After our lovely sunny change, we headed off up that damn hill. Am vaguely pleased with myself as it didn't make me want to die quite as much as last time, but think one of my long term caving goals should be to be able to treat that hill like a stroll in the park.

Got to the top of the hill and was delighted to find the cave so gloriously close! Cue sunbathing while Ade headed off to do rigging. I followed him down, then Mark, then Alice, then Debbie singing at the rear. The cave was LOVELY, seeing sunlight so far down was a real novelty and made the cave seem v beautiful. The first traverse was NOT popular with me and Ade had to talk me through it (as ever), but it was worth it to get the to a 50m free hanging pitch, near a waterfall, with sunlight. WOW! Made a point of enjoying every second of that on the way down as I knew I would hate it on the way back up. Got to the bottom and had lots of fun making racks steam by splashing water on them. Simple things!

After that there was another pitch, involving an unexpected reintroduction to deviations which threw me slightly, and then another traverse which I once again took as an opportunity to take the most retarded route possible. This is becoming something of a speciality for me. One more pitch (I think, losing track here) to the bottom and we went and had a play in the water and looked at the sumps. I managed not to fall over in the water, which I was fully anticipating after having successfully sat in the only puddle in the entire bloody cave earlier.

Before heading back up we had snack time and some beautiful harmonica music from Mark. Mark and Debbie were sharing derigging, so Ade headed off first (at lightspeed, I swear, how does he do that?) and I followed at a rather more leisurely pace. On arriving back at a traverse I took a less "special" route, which nonetheless allowed me to discover that falling off your footholds isn't as scary as you think it will be as all your gear catches you.

The 50m pitch on the way back up wasn't as horrifying as I expected. At one point I could probably have cried if I put the effort in, and my left arm kind of lost the capacity to grip, but apart from that it was all fun and games. The next traverse was much easier on the way back, especially as I had a bit of an epiphany re: knees and elbows, and actually used them for once, which made life so much nicer. After very kindly-and sensibly, knowing me as he does-hanging around to make sure I a)didn't kill myself on the 50m prussick and b)didn't completely cripple myself on the traverse, Ade headed up the last pitches to the top. I waited for Alice, then on leaving the traverse was delighted to encounter daylight! Doing the last two pitches heading into sunshine was LOVELY. Had a slight fight with the tree on the exit, and was out of the cave at 8.15, having left the bottom some time just after 6.20. Considering the number of pitches, traverses and my general unfitness I was pretty pleased with that. We sunbathed at the top whilst waiting for the others. Ade helped Alice out at one point by giving her my footloop when she got caught up somehow-I didn't see what was going on-and then we sat and discussed High School Musical until Mark reappeared when insults recommenced. Mark and Debbie seemed to derig very quickly, and when everyone was out we headed back down the hill for a pleasant dusky change. Shanked ropes before we left-efficient much!-and headed home, stopping for pizza on the way. We got back to York at about half midnight, put stuff away and tumbled into bed.
All in all, was a lovely trip! Lots of practice at rebelays (LOTS!) and enough prussiking to make you hate the cave when you're doing it and love it when you've done it. Lots of singing, also, and general giggles and fun for most of the cave. Excellent all round. More midweek caving please!