Webbo and I had found the entrance shaft the day before and had been pleasantly surprised to see two loverly shiny p-hangers ! This was definitely the way ahead and would cut down the rigging time to a reasonable 8hrs(ish!). So, all the 25+ hangers I had brought over were ditched, save for a couple of emergency ones, and the rigging commenced !
The first section of the cave was a veritable choss-fest, but then the hugeness started and all the choss was left far behind. The pitches were huge, airy, clean washed in lovely white limestone and airy ! There were stonking p-hangers everywhere and a mid-pitch pinnacle on which to rest halfway down the P65 !
Cascades, tension traverses on moonmilk and another airy pitch followed the P65 to a chamber, some meanders and another pitch in black limestone with a 45 degree deviation. This was the bottom at -249m, the deepest most of us have been on a vertical trip. The cave led on via a crawl, so we left rigging the next few pitches until the bottoming day.
As Webbo and I waited for the Horton Hippo to slowly haul his bulk up the P20, Andy busied himself cooking ravioli over firelighters. A stroke of genius indeed, and very tasty !
The rig to -249m and out took 7 1/2 hrs. Not bad considering the exciting rigging !
The entire cave had been liberally studded with p-hangers which made out job of rigging somewhat easier. Never-the-less, it was Weaner's finest hour (well hours) down to -250m. Dispelling fear he swung below the netting gravel traps, bridged across the moonmilk traverse and adjusted rope tensions on the monster pitches. All very tidy, safe and efficient too. I was impressed and glad he was at the sharp end.
The frightening bits continued to frighten me to the bitter end: The hairnets full of gravel were horrible; the little pitch below the double y-hang (just below the aforementioned nets) was especially tricky on the way up when the rope threatened to be pulled out of the chest jammer; and the fearsome moonmilk traverse.
Speleo Sportif guide book topo
Pendle rigging topo© (SW/DK)
A terrible incident underground
Life-like representation of a mexican-staring local as seen in Lees-Athas