Author Topic: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)  (Read 3158 times)

Offline DCA

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OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« on: November 17, 2020, 07:36:41 pm »
WARNING - Pilgrim's Way 'up' pitch
We have just received a report stating the 'pull-up' system at the entrance to Pilgrim's Way in Oxlow has become damaged and is unsafe to use. This is a wire and ring setup that allows a rope to be installed by being pulled up from the base of the pitch. The wire 'Y-hang' has become damaged at the centre point, so each arm is potentially in danger of failing as it degrades further.
Cavers are advised not to use this system. If it fails with you on it, you could fall up to 6m. DCA will take action when we have replacement equipment to install and volunteers to do it.
Derbyshire Caving Association

Offline benshannon

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2020, 07:29:21 pm »
Put a ladder there. I hate that pull through 😅😅😅😅

Offline Brains

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2020, 08:31:41 pm »
Put a ladder there. I hate that pull through 😅😅😅😅
Yes, put the ladder back - given the nature of the cave in Pilgrims Way and beyond it is more suitable than a pull through

Offline benshannon

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2020, 08:35:19 am »
Lol I assume that was sarcasm. Did it have a ladder originally?

Offline Groundhog

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2020, 09:48:21 am »
Yes the whole cave was fitted with iron ladders in the 60's. Apart from the entrance. Can't remember the exact date they were removed.

Offline wellyjen

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2020, 10:15:57 am »
Yes the whole cave was fitted with iron ladders in the 60's. Apart from the entrance. Can't remember the exact date they were removed.
2003, plus/minus a year or so, if I remember correctly for the one up to Pilgrim's Way. They were old railway signal ladders and were in a sorry state by then.
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Offline al

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2020, 10:27:59 am »
Put a ladder there. I hate that pull through 😅😅😅😅
Yes, put the ladder back - given the nature of the cave in Pilgrims Way and beyond it is more suitable than a pull through

I'd agree with this if this pitch wasn't at the foot of a fairly substantial SRT trip, and nobody ever arrives here without an SRT rig. Well I suppose that there is the outside chance of somebody doing a there-and-back trip from Giants!
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Offline Rob

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2020, 11:58:17 am »
... Well I suppose that there is the outside chance of somebody doing a there-and-back trip from Giants!
Been there, done that, was my first time into Pilgrims Way. However i admit to being happy to turn around at the pitch head  :thumbsup:

I don't mind the pull through system, even with rigging it new every week for months during the Crusader project. However a fixed rope here would seem a good solution also, and may be expected to last as well as the pull through has...
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Offline Alex

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2020, 12:54:43 pm »
Aye a pull through cord is surely going to wear out long before the in-situ rope does. It is a weird system you use in the Peak and took some getting used to on my first trip down Eldon hole. It has never caught on, in the Dales.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline DCA

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2020, 01:58:04 pm »
Sorry to disappoint all the ladder purists out there, but this job is already half-completed. Though anyone is welcome to take a suitable rigid ladder down for the job - it won't be DCA!  :coffee:

The pull-through cable has been replaced by a Y-hang of stainless chain. Sadly the delta maillon we brought to connect the ring to the chain didn't have a wide enough gate opening for the ring, which is at least 12mm, and so the two stainless maillons we brought to connect the chain to the anchors had to be used instead to connect the chain to the ring, with two personal krabs used to temporarily connect the chain to the anchors. This also means that at present the ring is parallel to the wall, rather than at 90° as it was originally, but we don't see this is being a massive problem in the short term, though we will try it with a larger connector soon. However they're very expensive for the possibly minor benefit. DCA can't really install fixed ropes under normal circumstances, so this is the most practical, lightweight and least-risk solution for most people.

As can be seen from the photos, the original cable was cutting through at the swage, and wasn't even loaded evenly at rest. In addition, the 'backup' sling was connected to a P-anchor which is loose and can be moved with fingers. That has been tagged temporarily as not to be used. The pull-through anchors themselves felt firm, but they should probably be pull-tested soon as they've been in ages, and are part-loaded axially. The plan is to remove and replace this loose anchor ASAP, if the hole is usable, or nearby if not, so a cowstail can be clipped in. Then a second anchor will be installed further in so that visitors can rig a short rope if they feel it necessary to protect getting on and off the pull-through. We've also installed a brand-new polyprop rope to pull the main rope up, and it works fine through the ring.

So the job will require at least one more return visit soon, so please bear with us, as we all have to fit this in around work and Covid - it's a very tight working space up there, so with the virus restrictions and angle grinders, working in a kneeling passage, it's a little more complex than usual and requires careful selection of workers, and quiet times too. Discussing the installation too much right now is probably not a good idea.

The photos below show the original setup before removal, a close-up of the failing cable, and two shots of the new system. The temporary krabs are good, and so the system can be used now, but there's no reliable backup at present with the tagged anchor. Use at your own discretion! We'll update again as soon as it's complete.
Derbyshire Caving Association

Offline andrewmc

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2020, 05:49:56 pm »
This also means that at present the ring is parallel to the wall, rather than at 90° as it was originally, but we don't see this is being a massive problem in the short term

Or ever, surely? It can't really matter what angle the ring is hanging at?

Good work :) looks pleasantly bombproof :)

Offline wellyjen

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2020, 05:58:23 pm »
This also means that at present the ring is parallel to the wall, rather than at 90° as it was originally, but we don't see this is being a massive problem in the short term

Or ever, surely? It can't really matter what angle the ring is hanging at?

Good work :) looks pleasantly bombproof :)
Perpendicular to the wall would help the pull up rope feed through the ring cleanly, especially when the climbing rope reaches it and passes through. Not a massive difference, but it all helps.
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Offline adep

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2020, 05:05:10 pm »
Lol I assume that was sarcasm. Did it have a ladder originally?

Yes it did, i took it out years ago, not my decision by the way, i would have preferred to leave it in but its a maintenance issue, but then again so is the present system, not sure how long the ladder had been in for but over 20 years i think, bet it was never touched, still in good condition when we removed it

Offline benshannon

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2020, 06:54:44 pm »
The current system gives me the heebee majeebees. Hate the idea of accidently getting on the wrong rope.

Offline Pete K

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2020, 07:03:40 pm »
Lol I assume that was sarcasm. Did it have a ladder originally?

Yes it did, i took it out years ago, not my decision by the way, i would have preferred to leave it in but its a maintenance issue, but then again so is the present system, not sure how long the ladder had been in for but over 20 years i think, bet it was never touched, still in good condition when we removed it
And I installed a 6ft chunk of it in Aberllyn Mine in N Wales about 10 years ago and it is still going strong.
Oxlow does not need a ladder to Pilgrims Way, it needs a couple more anchors and a secure backup, which DCA will sort.

Offline DCA

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2021, 06:01:10 pm »
Hello. The DCA bolting team have pounced back into action this week. The wobbly DMM anchor has been removed and a new BP placed at the same spot and also another further up the passage. The resin on these anchors will need to cure for a bit before they can be tested. For now please give Pilgrim's Way a miss until until at least Bank Holiday Friday (2/4/21) so the anchors can set correctly. Thanks very much to James Blake and Paul Martin for doing the work today while most of us were enjoying the sun.
Once the anchors are tested and all is known to be good, I'll update this thread and ask the mods to 'unsticky' it.
Pete K
On behalf of the DCA.
Derbyshire Caving Association

Offline DCA

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2021, 07:33:57 pm »
The work in the Pilgrim's Way area of Oxlow has now been completed thanks to a return visit by James Blake. Both anchors have set correctly and any warning tags have been removed. As with any anchors, even BP ones placed by DCA installers, please check before use and report any concerns to the DCA Equipment Officer or via our social media channels. Advice on inspecting anchors can be found here: https://www.thedca.org.uk/equipment/resin-set-anchors

A short section of brand new rope was donated and has been rigged to the new anchors and the chain Y hang to provide a safety line for cowstails when getting on and off the pitch. Much like any fixed aids you come across underground, cavers use it at their own risk and it should be inspected before being used.

Mods - please feel free to unstick this thread now the matter is resolved.
Thanks again to our willing volunteers, without whom this work could not take place.
Pete K
On behalf of the DCA Team.
Derbyshire Caving Association

Online alastairgott

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2021, 11:18:56 pm »
James, if you’re reading this I’ve derigged your ropes as agreed (and left in garage), I’ll text you in the morning. :)

Offline adep

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2021, 09:38:32 am »
Put a ladder there. I hate that pull through 😅😅😅😅

I helped take the ladder out, and was never in agreement with it, wasnt in too bad condition

Offline adep

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2021, 09:39:49 am »
Yes the whole cave was fitted with iron ladders in the 60's. Apart from the entrance. Can't remember the exact date they were removed.
2003, plus/minus a year or so, if I remember correctly for the one up to Pilgrim's Way. They were old railway signal ladders and were in a sorry state by then.

2003 would be about right Jen, i remember us doing it!

Offline shotlighter

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2021, 11:44:31 am »
Put a ladder there. I hate that pull through 😅😅😅😅

I helped take the ladder out, and was never in agreement with it, wasnt in too bad condition
Condition was nowt to do with it's removal. It was panic over perceived liability if there was an incident. The almost new P8 2nd pitch ladder was removed during the same panic.

Offline Fulk

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2021, 03:38:19 pm »
adep:
Quote
not sure how long the ladder had been in for but over 20 years i think
I remember getting into Pilgrims' Way via the ladder when I was a student . . . which makes it before 1970. So it must've been in there 30 or 40 years.

Offline DCA

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2021, 07:31:02 pm »
MODS - this topic can be unstuck now as the safety issue was resolved.
Derbyshire Caving Association

Offline paul

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Re: OXLOW - Safety Warning (Pilgrim's Way)
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2021, 01:30:13 pm »
MODS - this topic can be unstuck now as the safety issue was resolved.

Global Moderator Comment Done.
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