Saturday 7 December 2013

6th December 2013 - Ropeless in Easegill

Alistair promised lots, post trip steak and beer, a group of Thursday Night Club cavers re-united after a long lay off, and an exciting new round trip, but in the end it was just him and me trudging across the bleak moorland towards the upper reached of Easegill. In fairness to Alistair he didn't say there would not be any of the following
  • The need to swim/crawl through water with a temperature of about 5C
  • Continuous crawling for long sections
  • Very low sections of flat out caving
  • Semi blocked passages where large gritstone blocks had to be pushed aside to make progress
  • Hanging death blocks 
The list could go on but I don't want to be too negative! It was actually a great caving trip and unique we decided in that it was an Easegill "through trip" without the need for any ropes at all. There are we think another two through trips in this system where you don't need to carry ropes underground, submit a comment below if you think you can name them! (the prize would be something very disappointing so don't even ask!)

The initial entrance series is steady going, quite physical and varied, but never desperate. Alistair's description from Descent magazine seemed quite accurate, and after a few free climbed pitches we arrived at "The Manhattan Project". An impressive dig that connects this previously unconnected part of the system with the continuously increasing kilometres of passages.

Metres of scaffolding and wire fencing have been dragged through quite arduous passages to this remote location, and then used to bury through rocks and gravel, what must have taken 100's of hours to dig through just takes a few seconds to climb down! And after this short climb you arrive in the main Easegill system! THen on Through Hiroshima and Nagasaki chambers to the assembly room and then further on to eventually arrive at the master cave and Thackeray's passage before the none to easy escape via Depot Passages and Wretched Rabbit.

We took a few nice photos, but were still out the cave before 7pm so plenty of time to go and grab a comfy seat at the Barbon Inn. Too late for that we found out, and also we just made do with a beer and crisps due to the no show by those other TNC no-shows!

Unusual purple stalactites in Boundary Pot

Alastair climbing up to the grotto in Boundary Pot

Superb unspoilt calcite formations 

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