Saturday 23 May 2015

Gaping Gill Winch Meet - Flood Pot to Bar Pot and an explore

We had arranged an early start as we knew the winch became very busy as the day went on, so everyone except Loz had driven up to Yorkshire the night before. Loz managed to surprise us all by arriving no less than 10 minutes early at the Yorkshire Ramblers Club where we were staying. We consolidated into 2 cars and parked at the Clapham car park to start the long walk up the hill. Upon reaching the top of the hill we split into 2 groups. Brendan, Mike, and Lucy queued for the
winch while Loz, Marc, Mark and myself were abseiling into Wade's (Flood) entrance. However first I had to find somewhere to get changed as I didn't fancy stripping off in the amphitheater filled with public waiting for the winch, so I was naturally drawn to the cover of the Bradford beer tent!
Our SRT group headed back down the hill a short way and popped into Wade's entrance. The first pitch was a simple descent down a rift with a single re-belay which caused no issues for anyone. This was followed by a fair amount of awkward passage to get to the top of the very short second pitch which again caused no problems. A short crawl over a bedding plane led to the third pitch followed by a climb down a cascade using a handline.
I headed down the forth and final pitch, passing a re-belay without issue, only to find a hanging re-belay where we had expected to find a deviation. I had led the descent with Mark behind me so I could talk him through anything tricky as it was only his second SRT trip. However as I was so preoccupied with getting myself unclipped from my cows-tails after threading my stop onto the new rope, that I managed to make the rookie mistake of abseiling down the wrong side of the
loop of rope! Mark obviously learned valuable lessons from my example, as I had to do some interesting acrobatics with my legs flailing in the air to get my body over the correct side of the rope, much to Mark's amusement! Fortunately nobody else made the same mistake as me and we were all soon stood firmly on the bottom of the pitch. We had arranged to meet the winch group at the bottom of the main chamber so headed off down the crawls only to meet them half way through coming towards us. We decided to investigate Sand Caverns followed by Mud Pot and the Northwest Extension. The mud in this area was so thick that not only did it pull our wellies off, it made a good attempt at pulling poor Lucy's leg off! After having fun in the mud, we popped up to Stream Passage as this was originally one of our
possible exit routes, and we took the opportunity to rinse off some of the mud in the waterfall.
We then went to the main chamber where we took some time just looking in awe at the huge shaft above us. Once seeing the winch, Marc and I immediately decided it looked like fun, leaving just Loz and Marc to SRT back out. They had picked to go back out of Bar Pot so we escorted them to the foot of the pitch and even arranged a chaperone called Sally to assist with the navigation. Brendan, Marc, Mike, Lucy and myself headed back to the main chamber to join a rather long queue for the winch. Mike and I filled a little of the time by handing out hot Ribena to the public huddled in plastic ponchos like we were running a soup kitchen for the homeless. Mark and Loz had made the ascent much faster than we could get up the winch and were waiting to greet us as we came out of the top. The walk back down the hill seemed very short in comparison to the way up in the morning, and we were back at the bunkhouse having hot showers and food before we knew it!

Trip Report: Chloe Burney

Present: Brendan Marris, Lucy Collins, Mike Bonner, Loz Appleby, Marc Carney, Mark Burgess and Chloe Burney.

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