Three Wise Men

Chris A, Simon, TomTom

Firstly the title is a lie, no one who subjects themselves to the ice cream trail can claim to be wise.

The intrepid explorers met at Rowter farm sometime around 10:30am. Simon had yet to pass through the ice cream trail and the plan (made about 24hrs earlier since he was 'north') was to go to sunrise and back. Chris was already in the field when we arrived running a haberdashery, sowing up his undersuit like a good boy. The weather was pretty dire so we cowered in Christophs car until he was done. The rain kindly stopped and we kitted up and headed for the hole.

It's always a odd feeling going to Rowter knowing you neither have to carry dead weight into or out of the place, blissful in fact. We shot down and loaded our SRT kits into the empty tackle sacks to navigate Forsters faith and Bad badger choke, pottering along at a nice pace. The place was a bit wetter than usual, it's been a fairly dry summer really.  Our dam at the top of Milky relief was completely silted up, showing how quiet our digging effort has been the last month or two. Hopefully we'll be back on it in the near future!

Once in decisions decisons it was apparent that no one wanted to turn around, sadly this meant I had to lead the others into the ice cream trail. Off we headed as I tried to remember whether going under or over squeezes was best, going for the not getting stuck tactic where possible. I fear this will bite me sooner or later but I'm sure it's getting easier, we seemed to be at the Crystal Orechasm in no time.

We psyched up Simon by describing how utterly awkward this pitch head is and then I demonstrated by somehow hurting all of my body on the way to the y-hang. This time I did the rope to rope transfer properly and headed to the ledge to allow the others to follow. It's a strange feeling sat on that ledge, some distance from either a floor or ceiling, listening to the grunts and struggles of someone trying to get to the pitch head somewhere out of sight.

Once Chris was more or less done I set off up into the roof to make space, being extra careful not to send rocks back down when I clambered over the catch netting at the top. It didn't take long until we were all regrouped at the bottom of the hourglass aven, or as I prefer to call it, the scree slope of 'below'. Carefully carefully we clambered up one at a time, trying not to cause death until we reached the party sausage. A quick pause to make sure we were all out of the way of falling rock and then we headed up to the throne room.

Very almost at the end now as we sat looking up into sunrise, I couldn't remember how many people had been up there now but it's quite a cool feeling to be able to get to somewhere so few have been before. Up we climbed, following the taped out path that zig zags the very pretty floor. For an ending to the cave its very suitable, prettiness on the floor, walls and ceiling to congratulate you for being insane enough to come here. We all had a look into the choked passage at the end, it looks very tempting, easy to see a few metres up into it but looking like a bit of a death trap, what with us needing to dig uphill.

We had our celebratory peperami and then made our about turn for daylight. It's all pretty easy on the way back up to the crystal orecahasm, its quiet odd to descend so much to get out of a cave. Even the showering of gravel as I hung on the rope was fairly light. Unfortunately we now had to pay the price with a tiring pitch head and squeezes as prep for the climb out the other side.

Like the ice cream trail I'm sure the pitch head is getting easier, both Chris and myself struggled less that previous times and the technique of choice is definitely to just climb it with jammers as safety rather than try to jammer up it. Simon made it look far too easy, we should have sent him back to do it again really. Even the ice cream trail seemed fairly tame on the way out, normally I'm a sweating shell of a man by the end but this time I was just a bit sore.

Traditional carbogel was ingested in decisions decisions and we made our accent. Apart from my harness giving me dead legs (due to not being able to get it back to comfy after letting freshers use it) the climb out was fairly pleasant and we were soon regrouping back on the surface.
As trips go that one went strangely to plan, it was a good length of time and although we were sore we weren't ruined. 'pub' was suggested which was quickly amended to 'pub meal'. three game pies and pints and everything was well again.

Nice trip with d'boyz, think it was about 5hrs there and back going at what I'd say is a sensible pace.

TomTom xxx

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