Monday 1 February 2010

22nd January 2010 - Marble Steps

We had got away with it so far in 2010. With snow and ice cladding the hills and fells beckoning the climber we had not had to go caving but with melting snow we once again found ourselves walking across a muddy hill on a Friday night to go caving. The grapevine in Inglesport had told us about an alternative entrance into Marble Steps called Lost Marbles but Grapevine also told us that it had a 'tight five metres' and it was a bit 'grotty'! If this was the description from him who revels in small muddy spaces then the chances were I wasn't going to like it. Marble Steps appeared in the twilight (it is great when the nights start to get shorter and you walk up to the cave in daylight, makes spring seem not far away) and the snow that had blown in during the blizzards formed large banks overhanging the entrance depression in contrast to the snow free moorland we walked over to the entrance. We dropped the rope bags and walked up the moor to where the stream leads down into Marble Steps pot, then headed back down the snow slope looking for the new entrance. As the stream sank in the left bank we saw a hole cleared in a snow drift where the warm air blowing out from underground has melted it. Moving the slab of rock over the hole revealed a blue plastic pipe leading into Lost Marbles. The beta we had received from Grapevine was all too accurate and after a few metres of grovelling we met a not pleasant looking muddy tight bit with a few inches of snow melt water running through it.

No Comment

None of us had the inclination to attack it so we headed out, rather muddy into the cold night air. An exploration to return to later in the year.

Back at Marble Steps Alistair rigged to the Sidewinder Pitch and then we dropped this to the lower main chamber where a fixed rope was ascended to find a dig in progress.

After reaching the next pitch with no rope to descend it with we headed back out taking photos on the way. In the main chamber we climbed up into the Lost Inlet Series to see where we should have come out had we done Lost Marbles, a fixed rope leading off up into the series. The we headed out and to the pub.
A pleasant first trip of the new year.

No comments: