Skip to main content

Present: Julia, Anthony, Gwyn

My exams finished, so we headed off to Yorkshire for some pre-Turkey hardish caving. Camped at the Hill Inn – got there in time for some Riggwelter which is yum. The weather forecast was pretty dodgy, so we decided to leave Mere Gill for another day, and went to do Marble Steps. Faffed with our carbides. Got them working with surprisingly little effort and stomped up the hill.

I rigged the first section, we were doing Sidewinder route which involves a slippy traverse round the side of the main shaft into a hole on the other side. It smelt a bit rotten half way down – later noticed a pile of mush and a few yellow bones which used to be a sheep. Hmmm, tasty. Into the hole, a y hang down a short pitch, then there was a brief roped traverse to a narrowish pitch head in a rift. Set off down this, and it soon became apparent that there was an awful lot of nothing under my arse – the rope drops into the huge, impressive main chamber. Just passed the rebelay when everything went dark. I’d managed to pull the tube out of my carbide headset. I was slightly concerned about this, but nothing happened, so I turned my FX2 on and carried on down, looking for an “obvious” ledge to reanchor the rope.

Landed on the floor and couldn’t work out where to go, so Anthony came down, and landed on said obvious ledge. So I climbed back up to it and rigged round him. Rigged a tight deviation which wasn’t the easiest and abbed to the bottom. Dead impressive to see the pitch illuminated by three carbides with Anthony on the ledge and Gwyn right at the top.

Gwyn took over from me rigging. Bit of horizontal stuff then Stink Pot. Shortish pitch with a tight take off. Anthony had been bullshitting about the next pitch-head, and Gwyn took a while rigging it, so I was sat around the corner getting all scared that it would be shit. Didn’t actually look that bad, it was tight and quite smooth but do-able. Anyway, I’m getting ranted at for this being too long so I will henceforth be succinct.

Down last pitch to the sump which was tiny. Went back up. Took some pictures on the of people on the ninety which meant I could have a rest. Up more pitches, spent ages on the deviation that some daft fucker had rigged too tight.

Up Sidewinder pitch with a tacklesack which was ok, but then thrashed up the last climb mit tackle bastard and ran out of energy completely like in Lost Johns, but luckily this time I was out of the cave. Anthony derigged, got the phone 25 minutes before our call out, went to the Hill Inn for our slop which was much nicer than it had been when I was cooking it. The end.

Julia Bradshaw