I had been told it was time for me to fly the nest, stop being the baby caver, and lead a trip of my own. So following a request from Becca, we arranged to go into GB.
After I had a little last minute studying of the survey, Ian arrived at the Shepton and we headed off to Charterhouse. Once parked and changed, there was a short walk to the cave. From the entrance passage, we took a flat out crawl to enter into Mud Passage. The group popped down two climbs to arrive in The Gorge, where we crossed The Bridge for a little jaunt around White Passage and Rift Chamber. The plan from here was to go down the Oxbow to the Ladder Dig Extension and so I led the group through a crawl on the right. After about 50m of squeezing and contorting ourselves, the passage opened into a 20ft hole which I dropped myself into. When about half way down I realised there were no further hand or foot holds. At about this point, I heard Brendan call from the back of the group that he didn’t remember there being any crawling or a drop in the oxbow, and it soon dawned on us that I was in fact half way down the 20ft ladder pitch heading into Bertie’s Pot. I was going to need some assistance getting back out! So with Brendan gripping my belt, I had to perform a series of belly flops to propel myself back up to the passage floor as graceful as a seal getting out of the sea. After our little navigational mishap, we quickly found the actual Oxbow and Brendan gave a demonstration of how to rig the ladder pitch from the bottom. Unfortunately we had run out of time to explore beyond the ladder and headed back straight along the Main Chamber. Before exiting the cave we briefly explored the top end of the Gorge in search of the car. Although we saw various pieces of car shaped metal fragments, we were unable to find the car in the thick slippery mud on the steep slope.
It had been a very enjoyable trip with a team that communicated fantastically and with a great feeling of camaraderie. Most importantly I managed to not kill, injure, or lose any of my team!
Report Chloe Burney
Present: Chloe Burney, Becca, Ian Millward, Loz Appleby and Brendan Marris