Saturday 19 December 2015

Poles apart in Cwm Dwr

We’ve often mentioned visiting the short passage above Piccadilly waterfall and so decided that would be our main objective for Saturday.

 After much tea drinking and procrastinating we eventually made our way in a rather wet Cwm Dwr entrance series.

 Our plan was to use the Upper Piccadilly maypole to access the inlet. This proved to be a lot heavier than it looked. After attaching a ladder and line it took three of us to move it in to position.

 I climbed first, soaked and blinded by the water as I ascended.

 The pole only just reached the sloping muddy ledge and getting off at the top was one of the scarier experiences of my caving career. The water and slippery mud offered no assistance at all, I lunged on to the slope and as I did so the pole began to slide. With all the grace of an elephant I managed to pull myself to safety and heave a sigh of relief.

 After looking around the rather splendid passage it was obvious there was nothing to belay from and so as Loz and Jess made their way up I held the top of the Maypole to steady it. Neither of them was able to get off the ladder under their own steam and required me to drag them up the slope to safety.

 We switched the belay to the top of the pitch and Brendan climbed through the water to the top. Unfortunately at over 6ft I couldn’t man handle him off the maypole the way I had with the girls and after a couple of attempts he unfortunately lost strength and had to concede defeat.

 With the climb down playing on our minds we took some of photographs of the short passageway before attempting our descent.

A nervous and uncharacteristically quiet Loz went first. It took all my strength to keep the top of the maypole steady as she swung on to the ladder, but as soon as she did the pole steadied.
A rather tearful Jess repeated the procedure and again it was quite strenuous to ensure the maypole stayed in position.
For my descent I attached a guide rope to the pole so Brendan and Jess could hold it steady whilst Loz belayed me.
The whole thing went swimmingly and I didn’t die or Naffing!

With much relief we spent a little time photographing the waterfall using flash bulbs before going off to explore some of the lesser visited passage behind the skyhook pitch before heading out for a well earned meal.

 A Fantastic finish to 2015 and already I’m looking forward to the adventures 2016 has in store!

Piccadilly Inlet (Photo Mark Burkey)

Passage near 'The Smithy' (Photo Mark Burkey)

Passage near 'The Smithy' (Photo Brendan Marris)

Piccadilly Waterfall, lit with flash bulb (Photo Brendan Marris)

Present: Brendan, Loz, Mark & Jess

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