• Ghar Parau dinner invitation

    Have you or your club benefitted from Ghar Parau funding for an expedition?

    To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its creation, a meal is to be held at the Anchor Inn in Tideswell, Derbyshire on Saturday 11th February, 2023. As well as a meal there will be speakers on behalf of the original Ghar Parau explorers and the current GPF committee.

    Details here

Langcliffe Pot Solo

I had decided to camp the night before the trip to allow an early-ish start. That evening I had done a recce on Manchester Hole to Bax Pot for a potential trip with my 2 sons. It made sense not to drive all the way to Halifax and back in between.

Oddmire Pot entrance was easy to find on a clear sunny day and I was dropping down the hatch at 8.30am. I found the entrance series very enjoyable on the way in, the anticipation of what lay ahead urging me on I hardly noticed the relentless stooping wet crawl. My mood changed when I got to Hammerdale Dub and realised that my map was lost. Foolishly I had tucked it into my welly for quick reference and it must have been washed out when crawling in the canal. I say foolish because I had already considered this possibility and intended to tuck it into my wetsuit jacket, but didn?t.

Anyway, I had the NFTFH description and a reasonable mental picture of the layout although I had not visited the cave previously. I decided to carry on, but place a few cairns to aid my return (which were dismantled on exit). The navigation was straightforward down Langstrothdale Chase and I was soon wriggling my way through into Boireau Falls Chamber.

The first drop through the floor of the chamber went easily and at this point I was grateful for not having to carry a rope. I had been told that Nemesis Pitch ?should? be rigged (thanks Simon). The next hole in the floor looked less probable. It appeared to choke with boulders and I did not like the look of it. I had a crawl around and found another hole, which was passed more easily, but went nowhere. Back to the choke-hole then. I sat in the hole and got my legs in front, right leg bent under. Down I went, helmet off, a re-shuffle of legs and I was laid on my back in the stream. All that remained was to pull the bag down on top of myself and squeeze through to the right. I pondered the return journey for a moment and considered a practice whilst still fresh but decided once would be enough. Once at the bottom of Nemesis Pitch I was glad to ditch the bag. I stashed one chocolate bar in my jacket and continued into the Nemesis Boulder Choke. This felt surprisingly straightforward, the remnants of the tat providing moral support along the way. The rusting antique bottle jack was a slightly unnerving sight, best not linger here. It was only on the return journey that I realised you climb onto the jacked boulder! I was soon popping out of the bottom of the choke and as the Black Book says, the walk down the streamway after is quite satisfying.

Passing the landmark Poseidon Sump and into the Sacred Way I was soon amongst the camps. I realise this is hardly a shining example of cave conservation but the person who lugged the brass Primus stove down there deserves a medal! It seemed to take a lifetime to reach the Agora and this made me concerned for my battery. Although I have a back up lamp on my helmet, my spare main battery was in the bag at Nemesis. What I thought was going to be a quick sortie into the Gasson?s series was taking longer than anticipated. Passing the formations at the end of the Agora and into the Silver Rake I was soon at the end but way above the floor of the streamway. The way on was too high and blank to climb down. I retraced my steps and found the way through boulders and into the streamway floor.

Passing the squalid Dementor Sump and a short pleasant streamway I was then immersed in the Cascade pool. In an alcove to the right of the cascade I was able to deploy fist jams and climb out of the water onto a ledge about a metre above the water. It was here that I contemplated the return. Although the climb was not too bad, a fall on the tricky downclimb would have had serious implications. Besides I had now convinced myself that my battery was about to give out at any moment and this was beginning to gnaw away my psyche. The mental game being just as important as the physical in such situations I opted to call it here and dropped into the pool to head back the way I came. The final choke will be there next time. Instantly buoyed by the knowledge I was on the way out I checked the time, 13.00 so 4.5 hours in.

Returning through the Sacred Way I was feeling quite tired, I had been rushing due to the fear of battery death so decided to stop and rest, lights out. This place is absolutely silent, which coupled with absolute darkness is quite special. Certainly conducive to sleep anyway. I could hear my heart beating like a kettle drum, bubbles of saliva popping in my mouth and every detail of my digestive operations. Once fully recovered I was on the move and looking for the way back into the Nemesis Choke. After a couple of false starts I was on the right track and it was passed easily. In contrast to the mental struggle I was having at the far point of the journey, once sat at the top of the choke I felt quite euphoric. One hurdle down, one to go. Re-united with my batteries and spare headtorch at the bottom of Nemesis I was happier still.

Reversing the crux at Boireau Falls was awkward but I had rehearsed it in my mind all afternoon. The bag was pulled through quite easily as I wriggled through and another wave of relief passed over me.

The return journey through Langstrothdale chase was enjoyable, a pause after the Kilnsey Boulder Crawl for chocolate and on I went. Unfortunately it soon after became apparent that I had missed the Hammerdale Dub turning, by quite a margin. Since I had a description to hand of the exit via The Roads I thought I may as well carry on up Skirfare Inlet. It seemed to take forever to get to the described junction of inlets, and I then found there to be more options than described. Psyche beginning to wane I took the left-most left and carried on. Passing another junction not described my psyche deteriorated further but I carried on, easing cramps in my legs at regular intervals. After around 30 minutes of Marathon style crawling with little similarity developing to the description of The Roads passage, I decided that this was a fools errand and that the safest option was to retrace my steps to known waters and Hammerdale Dub. This meant reversing all of the crawling I had just undertaken, and all of Skirfare Inlet but I was instantly happy (a relative term) again knowing I was heading towards the known rather than the unknown. A map would have been very useful at this point although when I checked this morning none of the junctions ?not described? are on the survey I was carrying anyway. I now wish I had taken some bearings to refer to a master survey for clarification.

I was very happy to find Hammerdale Dub and even more delighted to spot the low inlet into Strid Passage, although doubts began to creep in once more owing to the endless passage and no sign of The Roads junction. It eventually appeared and I think I spoke for the first time that day. Onwards and upwards and into Slaughter Aven and kitting up for the climb to the exit. 19.30 and I was laid on the grass on a glorious sunny evening, elated with the achievement and ready for a brew.


 

David Rose

Active member
Good report and well done for the trip. I wouldn't go down there solo!

Small hint: try separating your paragraphs - makes it easier to read.
 

Simon Wilson

New member
Well done Andrew and a great report. Thanks for doing this and helping put Langcliffe back on the map. It used to be a must-do classic trip and it appears that it is now back on people's hit list.

Just to remind people - Oddmire is the slightly easier and more enjoyable entrance. The walk up from Kettlewell is a pleasant walk and is the preferred approach for several reasons. It is all Access Land.

Route-finding through The Roads is straightforward in the downstream direction.
 
Thanks Simon. I've been studying the detailed survey today and I think I must have been in The Roads but I couldn't be sure at the time. There is nothing else long enough that it could have been. I'd have reached the end of Thunder Inlet in that time. Still, logical solution was reached with the information to hand, albeit a long solution! Lost is just a state of mind, as my dad used to say.
 

Balmerfish

Member
Andrew, Thanks for posting this, I've read a lot of Langcliffe reports of late. Yours certainly paints a picture in my mind. I'm not sure if reading this report makes me want to jump in car Langcliffe bound, or wish I had never heard the word Langcliffe pot. Adele


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Balmerfish said:
Andrew, Thanks for posting this, I've read a lot of Langcliffe reports of late. Yours certainly paints a picture in my mind. I'm not sure if reading this report makes me want to jump in car Langcliffe bound, or wish I had never heard the word Langcliffe pot. Adele


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Cheers Adele, hopefully the former!

Andy
 

Balmerfish

Member
Andrew Wilson said:
Balmerfish said:
Andrew, Thanks for posting this, I've read a lot of Langcliffe reports of late. Yours certainly paints a picture in my mind. I'm not sure if reading this report makes me want to jump in car Langcliffe bound, or wish I had never heard the word Langcliffe pot. Adele


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Cheers Adele, hopefully the former!

Andy

Yep.


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Alex

Well-known member
Sounds like an epic, respect. Be safe however, that cave can certainly bite if you are not careful as you surely know with the route finding issue.

In an alcove to the right of the cascade I was able to deploy fist jams and climb out of the water onto a ledge about a metre above the water.

Its far easier to climb out before that point about 5 meters down stream.

 
Alex said:
Sounds like an epic, respect. Be safe however, that cave can certainly bite if you are not careful as you surely know with the route finding issue.

In an alcove to the right of the cascade I was able to deploy fist jams and climb out of the water onto a ledge about a metre above the water.

Its far easier to climb out before that point about 5 meters down stream.

Cheers Alex. I really wish I remembered that the climb to bypass the cascade was earlier. I had read it in Nobrotson's write up days earlier. I suppose that confirms my feeling at the time that the climb i was looking at did not feel right. Not climbing up was the right call.

Andy
 
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