• Descent 298 publication date

    Our June/July issue will be published on Saturday 8 June

    Now with four extra pages as standard. If you want to receive it as part of your subscription, make sure you sign up or renew by Monday 27 May.

    Click here for more

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


Well-known member
If we start getting sea water into Hensler's Passage
Other contaminants are available 😊. There are several varieties of stainless, each with their strengths and weaknesses with regard to corrosion. I'm not aware of anything in caves that's detrimental to any type. I know the research into anchor design covered choice of stainless but I'm in a fiord in Patagonia so don't have immediate access to my notes.


Well-known member
To be fair, there is a passage up there heading for Car Pot, but the digging is through very stodgy clay.

Yes, there is at least one dig site up there which has been dug not so long ago. One passage was extended about 3 years ago IIRC. And I often bump into cavers who go up to try the Blowhole (which enjoys somethinjg of a reputation), ahead of arranging longer trips to Far Country / Waters, so they don't need SRT gear either.

That elevation you posted (alanw) is a misrepresentation of the length / diversity of passage between the ladder and the Echo Rift pitch. There is more to it.

The problem with ropes it they're always a maintenance burden. The Peak System has several "up" ropes in situations where that's the only realistic option. There's a permanent trickle of warnings about not using them until they've been replaced due to wear and tear.

A stainless steel ladder, whilst expensive, is almost a "fit and forget" option.
Just one thought; getting the ladder there will be quite gnarly. Would a zinc coating get eroded off in the process?
The same may apply to all the gritty boots wearing zinc off the rungs.

(Disclaimer; I'm not a metallurgist so a bit out of my depth here.)
I'm guessing Long Hensler's would be the best approach for sections of ladder....I can't see amphibian being useful and the other routes would be too tortuous unless it was made in very short sections.


Well-known member
Ged Benn has sent a bit more information for me to post here for him:

A chance meeting at our Annual Dinner at the weekend has clarified the
events surrounding the iron ladder. The two trips in 1984 were just
repair/reinforcement jobs on the original ladder. In 1993 we took new
sections of ladder down Bar and, as I remembered, we used them to enter
Wild Cat Rift before taking them through Short Hensler's and erecting
them. An amusing incident occurred (for us not him) when Pete Spillet
impaled himself when he abseiled onto the top of an upright section
which was hanging below him!!


New member
Just to complete the history on this. The ladder collapsed on me when returning from Far Country, probably in early 1983 when we were working on the Ingleborough/GG connection. The bolts holding the two sections of the ladder together broke while I was on the top section of the ladder. That should have left me dangling in mid air on the ladder. Unfortunately the ladder was belayed to a large boulder that was merely stuck in the mud and which joined me at the bottom of the pitch - luckily missing me.