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Gaping Gill (Dihedral) - Flood Entrance - 20th Jun 2009

Saturday June 20th 2009

Members present: Catherine Moody,  Chad B,  Chuck Holder,  George Bunyan,  Mark Sims,  Matt Gosling

Report by Catherine Moody

What can I say… AMAZING! Dihedral is a truly fantastic descent, and standing on the ledge half way down took my breath away.

There was a bit of worry on reaching the entrance that it would be too wet as last time Matt went down it was bone dry whereas today the stream was flowing through. But there was no way we were going to back out now so decided to rig it and have a better look - Matt made his way across the traverse and was crapping himself as he reached round to rig the Y-hang. When it got to my turn to descend, I saw why!

Normally I find that depth perception is hard to come by in caves but that wasn’t the case here; the large drop below was evident. The light coming up from the main shaft was very surreal and illuminated the shelf half way down. Mark had gone before me and I watched him make his descent – by the 3rd deviation he looked tiny!

Finally it was my turn. Slowly gliding down I couldn’t help but gaze in awe at the water coming down the main shaft, illuminated so well by the sunshine above. The ledge was a very special place. Whichever way you turned it was an amazing sight. Upwards, the outside world; below, the sparkling floor of Gaping Gill chamber.

I waited ages for Mark to pass the rebelay; I was quite confused as to what was going on since the weight kept coming off and going back onto the rope. Turns out he was messing around taking pictures… but I didn’t mind as it meant I had more time to savour this special place…

Even from the ledge, I heard screams of joy from Matt when he reached the bottom! Something tells me he was quite chuffed….

The final descent after the 2nd rebelay was magical… looking up the main shaft as the ceiling on the chamber fell away…. As I landed on the floor of the main chamber, Matt rushed over to give me a high-five.

There was no sign of the other group yet so we headed to Mud Hall for a quick gander and to find all the sculptures. I mended the handle of a mug (which I’m told wad made by Dave S?)

When we got back to the main chamber the others were there waiting – another successful exchange hooray! They’d been slightly delayed as they got stuck behind another group descending Flood entrance. After a brief chat we split up again and the 3 of us headed back through South-East passage.

At South-East Pot we caught up with the same group, and ended up having to wait over an hour for 4 of them to ascend the pitch – we were getting rather cold now! Once they were up though we had a speedy exit and on reaching the surface the 3 of us had a great sense of satisfaction after another ace day’s caving :)

Footnote: The grade 3 change is due to the bastard midges which caused me to look like I had measles…