Sunday 12 August 2012

Swildon's hole to Sump 2

Chloe had messaged a few weeks back asking for a trip toward her new neck of the woods. The lads were also aching to get back underground so for something a little different I offered up a Swildons trip to the sumps.

Recruiting Wal as a second experienced caver I arranged to meet everyone at Priddy on Sunday morning. Wal hadn't been in to Swildons since the movement at the entrance, so after kitting up in the barn he took the lead and we were soon stomping over the fields. In fact he was so keen he kept stomping straight past the entrance  ;)

After giving everyone a good soaking getting in, Wal took the lead up through a dry route crawling over pots before dropping back down to a part of the entrance series I recognised.
Crawling through water and descending cascades we soon reached the head of the 20ft pitch which was already rigged. Everyone negotiated this with ease and we were soon making our way down the rift (Wal climbing over) and on to the double pots and through to sump 1. The water at the sump wasn't the highest I've ever seen it, but was definitely still a sump. Before anyone could talk themselves out of it I dived through so I could take pictures and was soon followed by the entire team.
After pausing for a pic at the Wookey hole sign we continued on to take in sump 2 and on our return climbed the slope to have a poke around before heading out.
Half way back through the sump I snagged a pulley on my belt and had to re-arrange myself and catch my breath before pushing back through, I must say it was quite amusing seeing the look on everyone else's faces whilst they made sure their belts were tightened with nothing hanging loose:)
On the return Chloe began to tire until half way up the ladder pitch her strength deserted her.
Fortunately said pulley that had caused me grief earlier came in to its own here and we set up a hauling system to assist her up. Ben and Grant helped Wal at the top of the pitch with a second line belaying whilst Carl and I stayed at the bottom to haul. After a quick rest and some of Carl's chocolate, Chloe felt ready to give it another go and was soon at the head of the pitch. Although tired she had no further problems.
Arriving at the last climb up I glanced to my left to see Chloe disappearing after Wal down a tight rift passage. After a little coaxing Chloe and Wal decided to re-join us and we were soon getting a good soaking as we exited.
The team at the entrance

All in all a great trip. I would just like to say a quick thanks to Graham and Emma who had only done an exercise on options for this exact scenario a few weeks ago at the club. It meant that Wal and I could deal quickly with the situation and ensure it caused as little problem at possible.

Chloe coming through sump 1

Steve Wal Wallis, Ben Marklew, Carl Knott, Grant Wilkes, Chloe Burnley & Mark Burkey

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