Chris A, Rach D.
The morning began much like any other caving day, with a strong reluctance to get out of bed. Eventually, a little later than planned, we were on the road, exchanging solos of cockney passenger songs and perfect Jamaican harmonies from the little mermaid.
We arrived at the Rosie hut around one o’clock and Chris went on a hunt for his baking dish which he had left behind by accident months prior, the retrieval of which was possibly the whole reason he was so intent on a caving trip in the first place.
Defying traditional gender roles, Chris took over as a mother figure, ensuring that there were enough sandwiches, cookies and juice boxes to go around, whilst I focused on the safety side of our trip, assembling and organising the ropes we would need and then packing them ready for rigging. A short walk in the snow taking in the scenery around bull pot farm, over the fence and there we were, bull pot of the witches. I immediately got to work rigging the first route with little-no instruction like the level 8 caver that I am. There was much “constructive criticism” about my un-kept knots, and a minor issue concerning the over use of rope in the knot work, so much so that it no longer ran the full length of the pitch. Caver Chris to the rescue and with a little tugging here and there we had around an extra metre and could safely descend. With similar demonstration and explanation inside I managed to successfully rig the next pitch, deviation and all.
Not much further in and we hit an ‘optionally riggable pitch’, Chris decided against it, for the sake of sparing rope and time and because we’re better than that. So we gracefully climbed down, not head first and not awkwardly through a little side bit which seemed less daunting.
Not much further again and we came to a rocky clearing, ideal for a picnic break. Having feasted on one tea-cake and half a bagel each for breakfast, hours prior, we were both ravished and a normal level of excited for a sandwich break. After setting some overhead lighting with strategic placing of our helmets, Chris pulled his daren drum from the bag and served up flame grilled chicken and four cheese butties in damn good buns, (we did not skimp on the buns) salt and vinegar crisps and tropical capri-suns. To say the least the happiness to have sandwiches at this point was overwhelming.
Too full for cookie deserts, and with coldness creeping in, we packed up and ventured on. Barely further through the passageway a quick time check told us that we were pushing it if we wanted to return in good stead to cancel our call out. With the incentive of sandwiches behind us and the time constraint we now faced, we ended our journey here and turned back.
A quick play around with Chris’s pantin on the way out proved itself as a force to be reckoned with another day. Auto pilot kicked in and I felt quite accomplished passing the deviation no bother until Chris pointed out that I was de-rigging and bypassing his equipment was a no go.
We stepped out into the open to find that snowflakes were falling which made climbing the last pitch my most enjoyable/possibly only enjoyable prussic-ing ever. However, said enjoyment was short lived when I reached the top and found the maillon to be entirely un-budging. I tried to force it as hard as I could, but to no avail. I shouted up to Chris, who predictably, didn’t believe me about the extent to which it was jammed. Chris suggested various methods of loosening it, all of which I tried, also to no avail and eventually gave up. I knew Chris didn’t think I’d put enough effort in yet, so I pretended to keep trying until he eventually descended back down.
“Are you ready to feel stupid?” He announced upon arrival and then reached over, failed miserably at any ounce of movement and retracted his criticism of my efforts. Some amounts of minutes past and he eventually managed to loosen it, the hero that he is. The rest of the ascent went off without a hitch and I mentally planned my ‘bragging about a successful rigging’ text to send to Luke when we got to the car, knowing that he would be proud. (:
We concluded the day with some necessary snow angels before heading home to undoubtedly watch Netflix.