Sunday 10 March 2013

Srt day in Oxlow cavern

Since attending a SRT training day and managing to not kill or injure myself, Mark and Jess had agreed to take me on a novice trip. So as promised, Mark Jess Phil and I met up at Morrison’s in Buxton and headed towards Oxlow Cavern. Andy, Carl and Grant had gone on ahead to start rigging.
When we arrived at the parking spaces, Mark managed to once again get the van stuck in the mud and took great joy in splattering us as we pushed him back out. Jess and I decided it was far too cold to get changed outside so we commandeered the back of the van. I got all my shiny new bits of SRT kit out of their packaging and with a little help from Jess managed to put it all on. We battled knee deep drifts of snow and gale force winds to reach the cave opening, leaving us all wishing we had stayed in bed. One by one we dropped into the entrance shaft, leaving Mark to get cold in the snow as retaliation for the mud spraying incident. As we were preparing to drop down the second pitch we could hear an abundance of swearing coming from the darkness ahead, indicating we were closing in on the boys. We descended down the pitch without issue and found Andy waiting at the head of pitch 3. This pitch involved a diversion which, despite Mark and Andy making it sound complicated, Phil and I passed smoothly. After going down another short pitch we turned around, Grant de-rigged, and we began the long haul back out of the cave. The entrance shaft seemed like it was a mile long and the excitement of reaching the top was soon quashed as I realised there was close to a blizzard blowing on the surface. With numb and painfully cold hands, we each headed back off the hill as quickly as possible.
After using the back of the van in relay to get changed again, we headed to a pub to warm our toes by the open fire.
Report by Chloe Burney

Present: Chloe Burney, Phil Lester, Carl knott, Grant Wilkes, Andy Grimes, Mark Burkey & Jessica Harding

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