Far country ladder, which entrance did they go in via?

s_allshorn

Active member
There are now two ladders of both likely to be older than me that enable access to the blowhole and the passages beyond. I was wondering which entrance they had been take in through.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
They were reinforced around the time of the GG to IC connection, possibly with an extra piece, so circa 1983. Dunno which way they went in. I suspect the original one went in during the 60s. Senior BPC members could perhaps advise.
I tidied up a few scrap bits of the old one on a diving trip down there last year. If there are any more bits kicking around it’d not hurt to be moving them outwards.

Moderator comment: Typo corrected and redundant posts correcting typo deleted.
 
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Brains

Well-known member
Recently rewatched Sid Perou's film on the connection. Sure the commentary said something about the ladder to the Blowhole collapsing at the time of filming, and having been installed a dozen years previously (to the 1970?) filming date...
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
(Thanks Mod, for tidying up.)

Recently rewatched Sid Perou's film on the connection. Sure the commentary said something about the ladder to the Blowhole collapsing at the time of filming, and having been installed a dozen years previously (to the 1970?) filming date...

Yes it does mention the ladder collapsing - but that's in Part 2, the film from the 80s when the connection was actually made, not in the 1970 film (from memory).

As the ladder fell apart in the early 80s (only just over 40 years ago) maybe someone on here remembers this happening and which way it was taken in?
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Ged Benn (BPC) told me the following (and kindly gave permission for it to be reproduced in this topic):

"When we did the
connection in early 1983 the ladder was in a poor state and I seem to
remember that one side was reinforced with an old leather belt! I have
two very brief notes in my caving log that at GG 1984 we
repaired/replaced the iron ladder. I have a vague memory that the
ladders were taken in through Bar. (It's possible that we used them to
look in Wild Cat Rift before taking them on through Short Hensler's!) I
do have a note of a solo trip down Bar at the end of the Meet to go
through to put the ladders together.
"
 

s_allshorn

Active member
Thanks John. I guess a further question is should they now be removed/replaced? You have to have an srt kit for the pitch after the blow hole so you have it with you anyway. Obviously a rope and anchors would need installing.
 

langcliffe

Well-known member
Thanks John. I guess a further question is should they now be removed/replaced? You have to have an srt kit for the pitch after the blow hole so you have it with you anyway. Obviously a rope and anchors would need installing.
A rope would be far less scary!
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Um - that ladder's been a feature of GG right through my own caving career. Be a shame for it to disappear. I do know of at least one group with a digging interest in the passages between the iron ladder and the Blowhole - and there is also the passage across Salmon's leap which can be accessed without full SRT gear (just about!).
What about the possibility of sourcing a new length of signal ladder? Or, how about taking in an aluminium ladder? (I may know where there is one available, depending on the length required.)
 

langcliffe

Well-known member
Um - that ladder's been a feature of GG right through my own caving career. Be a shame for it to disappear. I do know of at least one group with a digging interest in the passages between the iron ladder and the Blowhole - and there is also the passage across Salmon's leap which can be accessed without full SRT gear (just about!).
What about the possibility of sourcing a new length of signal ladder? Or, how about taking in an aluminium ladder? (I may know where there is one available, depending on the length required.)
There's been a number of "historical" iron ladders removed. Sad, but probably for the better. I haven't really forgiven Sam for removing our iron ladder into Adamson's extension, but there is no doubt that it had to go.
 

Greybeard

Member
You mean this one. Taken in 2014
 

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alexchien

Member
Having used the ladders within the last 3 months, I couldn't see any problems with the existing (newer) ladder apart from it has been overlaid over the old ladder This has led to the two sets of rungs being misaligned making it more probable that someones foot will slip especially near the top.
If anything I would remove the old ladder, keep the newer ladder, and if necessary place some support struts at intervals.
The above suggestion assumes that the newer ladder is in decent condition, which it did seem to be, but a more detailed look may be prudent.

If there are spare solid ladders about, then a good place for one is the Robinsons Pot entrance pit. The bolts placed around the entrance rim do not inspire confidence.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Having also been up the ladder recently, I agree with what alexchien says about it above.

Just been discussing this with another forum member. There is, of course, the option of installing a replacement ladder made from stainless steel. Not cheap - but anyone who has used the equivalent item on Peak Cavern's Surprise View pitch over the last decade or two will realise that it's a very good long term solution.

As there are various reasons why folk may want to ascend the pitch up from the end of Hensler's Passage but not have SRT gear with them, on balance I'd favour a ladder rather than a rope. Ropes need regular inspection and occasional replacement, so the rope option brings with it a maintenance burden and potential ongoing costs. Spending some money on the stailess steel ladder option would sort it for the next 2 or 3 generations of cavers (at least).
 

s_allshorn

Active member
John any of your club mates able to construct such a thing as a SS ladder? I could go to peak and pinch theirs but it might not be long enough!
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Ha ha - you'd be popular if you did that (not!).

I can't immediately think of anyone in the two clubs I'm active with in the Dales but Nick Williams (PM on here) may be able to offer initial advice at least, as he was closely involved with that superb Peak Cavern ladder.

Might be worth a sectional design, so it will definitely fit down the cave and be easier to carry if in 2 or 3 smaller sections (bolted together onsite)?

Is this a potential project which CNCC might be interested in coming on board with, maybe?
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
(Thinking out loud) - this does seem like a good thing to coincide with a winch meet perhaps.
 

Scud

Member
Ha ha - you'd be popular if you did that (not!).

I can't immediately think of anyone in the two clubs I'm active with in the Dales but Nick Williams (PM on here) may be able to offer initial advice at least, as he was closely involved with that superb Peak Cavern ladder.

Might be worth a sectional design, so it will definitely fit down the cave and be easier to carry if in 2 or 3 smaller sections (bolted together onsite)?

Is this a potential project which CNCC might be interested in coming on board with, maybe?
The Bung Hole Ladder in Speedwell is stainless steel I think. This was specially made i believe but not sure by who. I know at one point, it was removed to be fixed due to constant flow of water over it, well for at least two thirds of the year. I will try to find out who manufactured it.
 
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