Saturday 24 November 2018

8th November 2018 - Yordas

For the first outing of the 2018 season we wanted to brush up on our skills for doing pull through trips involving traverses.  Yordas, with its easy access seemed the perfect choice.

It didn't bode well when I initially couldn't even find the entrance to the cave, finding us too low in a small dry valley.  I'm using the excuse it was dark. Entrance located we crossed the main chamber to have a look through the window to inspect the water levels. It was wetter than when I'd last done a pull through, following the water down. That was definitely not going to be an option today and there was quite a bit of should we/shouldn't we as we headed up the side of the valley to the middle entrance.

After looking at the water entering just above the entrance we decided the trip was on and set up the first short pitch for a pull through.  At the bottom, as I pulled 40m of rope through the bolts rather than 10, I was glad we were having a shake down trip that wasn't too committing. The second short pitch was slightly trickier to rig, but at least I'd got my rope management sorted this time and with the tackle sack quickly repacked, we were heading down into the main streamway.

Fortunately we'd gauged things right and the water level was fine as we headed to the main pitch.  I set off rigging and Tony followed a few bolts behind derigging. After a short traverse, an abseil was required to reach a further bolted traverse on the opposite wall. Rigging this as I normally would it was only when I was safely belayed that I began thinking about the options Tony now had. I so hoped that there would be enough rope in the derigged 'tail' of rope for him to perform his own mini pull through. Once again I was glad we'd decided to have what was quickly becoming a much needed 'practice' trip. Communicating anything to Tony was impossible,  the roaring of the waterfall in the confined chamber was deafening, but he's a good few tricks up his sleave and he was soon making his way down to me.

Even with closer proximity, conversation was difficult and this definitely wasn't the time or place for a discussion on the relative merits of different techniques.  Rechecking I was on the right end of the rope, I unclipped and swung into space.  There was no point in rigging the deviations as Tony wouldn't be able to make use of them, but fortunately the hang meant a wetting only in the final metre or so before the chamber floor allowed a sprint out of the water and onto the drier window 'sill'.

Tony followed down and to our combined relief the rope ran smoothly, landing in the plunge pool in front of us.  With the bag quickly packed we crossed the main chamber once again and climbed the short bank to the entrance. Outside there wasn't a sound but our ears were still ringing as we dropped down to the road.

Even warmly ensconced in the 'under new management', more welcoming Marton Arms we became aware we were probably still shouting at each other, or perhaps it was just our scruffiness that drew glances from the much better dressed members of clientele. Still the beer and crisps were good and their prices a bit more reasonable than previously.

A grand evening out in a cracking little pot with superb company, even if we couldn't hear a word each other were saying.

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