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Marble Steps Pot - 16th May 2009

Saturday May 16th 2009

Members present: Adrian Turner,  Ben Scothern,  Chad B,  George Bunyan,  Toby Buxton

Report by Chad B

Our intended trip was to do Flood entrance, but this was not an option after finding out in Bernies that the caves around Gaping Gill were been set up for the winch meet. Naturally I was disappointed as I had spent much of the previous evening studying the rigging guide and descriptions as I was to rig. So I hope I get the chance to do this cave in the near future. While deciding what we were going to do instead we met two members of MUSC who were of to do Marble Steps Pot, I have only done this cave two weeks previous, so initially I was not so keen. However they were up for doing a Gully – Sidewinder exchange and get as far as Stink Pot. This sounded reasonable as it was going to be a slightly different trip to my recent one and I could still rig the cave. Ade, Ben, Toby and I went down Gully and George, Ben and Craig went down Sidewinder.

Since rigging Pwll Dwfn I had been looking forward to my next chance to rig a cave, especially as I had learnt so much from my first rigging encounter. I was much more comfortable on this occasion, with better selection and quality of knots, while identifying that I did need to improve my traverse line lengths and smaller figure of 8 loop sizes. It was also interesting to find out that caves can be rigged in different ways, for example on my previous trip Matt G rigged a deviation half way down the Gully route first pitch, I instead decided to rig a re-belay; there was a choice of p-hangers in any case. Rigging the traverse line immediately before the second pitch was a little daunting. I remember re-rigging this a few weeks ago with a little difficulty due to the length between p-hangers and the small ledge, and alas I found it just as interesting rigging it, really good fun! After every one was down both routes we all went off to the top of Stink pot, the journey via the hand line was so different to how it was the previous week, again different rigging. In general the cave was very much wetter than previously, beyond the top of Stink pot there is a horrible muddy crawl, so a little bit of exploring was carried out.

So our team went up the Sindwinder route and I was certainly having an involving caving trip as I de-rigged this. It was itself quite a fascinating route, plenty of deviations and re-belays to de-rig. A bit of a tight section towards the top, the connection back round to the Gully route was a really fun traverse section.

A really fun trip had not caved with people from other clubs; they were as keen as we were. Its the second time that I have been totally shattered at the end of this cave, the rigging itself is involving in itself, de-rigging as well just added to the intensity of the trip due to the concentration levels required compared to a ‘tourist’ trip. Hopefully I’ll have another chance to do some more rigging very soon as it is a skill that I would like to become proficient at.