Friday 26 February 2010

25th February 2010 - Beyond Easegill Aven

The Easegill system is big.
Despite most of the team having spent nearly two decades ferreting around on a huge variety of trips, it's great when you can still end up in a previously unexplored corner, especially when it turns out to be such a gem.

Heading off caving in daylight has that same strange feeling as when you leave the cinema in the afternoon, it doesn't quite feel right, but nevertheless we were soon making our way down into the rift of Wretched Rabbit.

Once underground the effect of Tom's 70km/week running regime became startingly obvious as Dick and myself sweatily followed the distant sounds of his progress through the meandering passageway. Climbing up into 4 ways brought us onto the Stop pot boulder slope and the ladder that leads to the vastness of the high level series.

The Ladders at Stop Pot leading to Mainline Terminus

Furry suit now soaked and with sweat now running into my eyes, I tried to keep pace with the faint glow of Tom's headtorch somewhere in the distance, the easier ground having allowed him to up the pace a notch. Given the size of Corne's cavern, the entrance to the Mancunian way probably feels tighter than it actually is but it soons gives way to crawling that, if it ever crawling could be described as pleasant, almost is.

 Mancunian Way Crawl

The white rock of the trench walls a stark contrast to the dark soil of its base.
At a cross road with the way ahead becoming blocked and the right hand way leading to the start of a dig reminiscent of Skylight passage, our way on lead to the left.

 Approaching Easegill Aven

A flat out crawl,which saved the very tightest bit till last, soon opened out into a larger passage way. A short climb up utilising possibly the most perfect foothold led into a small chamber.
After a quick ratch around during which we managed to find ourselves back where we had already been and have to use the foothold again, we found the way on. Unlike the previous crawl, this one was of the quite unpleasant type, over ill proportioned cobbles. A "surprise" does however wait at the end and unlike most treats, which are over far too soon, this one continued as we made our way along the aptly named Nice Way.
Having looked at the survey since, leaving a rope down the County pitch would make a very nice roundtrip via Easegill Aven. As it was it was out the same way as we had come in.
Today the Wretched Rabbit climbs felt very wretched and it was with some relief we gained the surface and much needed refreshment from a spring in the gill side opposite the entrance.

The view down Easegill Aven

The Surprise

Nice Way

Nice Way

Dick working up a head of Steam in Mancunian Way

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