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Non SRT caves in the north

Wasp

New member
Hi I am looking for some places to go preferably in the yorkshire dales that dont require ropes.
Recently got into the hobby with a few mates and just have basic equipment (helmet, neoprene suit)
We have done a few trips to Crackpot and other smaller caves but looking for some larger, more challenging ones to explore.
I have seen a post describing a route from Dismall Hill non SRT entrance into Old Ing that sounded decent but the description i read sounded like we would need some rope equipment.
Looking for any reccomendations or just confirmation that the Dismall hill trip is doable without ropes.
Thanks
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
If considering Dismal Hill and / or Old Ing it's important to check on the CNCC website about the latest access situation; there have been problems here in recent years.

Which side of the Dales do you live on? This would help folk give recommendations which don't involve driving long distances.
 

Wasp

New member
If considering Dismal Hill and / or Old Ing it's important to check on the CNCC website about the latest access situation; there have been problems here in recent years.

Which side of the Dales do you live on? This would help folk give recommendations which don't involve driving long distances.
I will be sure to check CNCC and the weather forecast before our trip.

I am from Middlesbrough so North east of the Dales.

Cheers :D
 

Wasp

New member
I also have a general question about learning SRT. Is it even possible to do so without joining a caving club? Im concerned that after a 1 or 2 day course we will still not have the experience to go at it without a guide. We dont have particular desire to join a caving club but would like to progress with the hobby.
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
It is entirely possible as this is how I started in the era when there were no professional cavers. There are plenty of books on technique. The 'frog' method is probably most popular. The main thing is to practice somewhere you can get down if you get entangled! You have the advantage that techniques and equipment have been refined. And there are many caves in the Dales that require little or no equipment or just a short electron ladder and lifeline which avoids party members having the encumbrance of wearing the paraphernalia associated with SRT.
 

wellyjen

Well-known member
I learnt SRT entirely underground, but this is not so sensible. Swinging around in trees, or off the side of a building as mrodoc recommends is a good way. You need to be able to go down, up, change over from down to up and up to down, pass rebelays, pass deviations, use traverse lines properly and ideally pass mid rope knots to be entirely independent underground. If you are learning yourself, you will also be simultaneously learning how to rig safely. A lot to take in at once.
I'd still recommend joining a club. A novice friendly one will be a short cut to getting the techniques right and there will be people to rig the cave safely, while you perfect your progression along the rope. Alternatively, there are instructors, who will teach you for a fee. CNCC have a course in March, which is unfortunately full, but there may be a drop out you can take advantage of.
Jen
 

Ian Ball

Well-known member
A cave that is a fair trek but looks ace is Smelt Mill Beck Cave, over a kilometre of cave to explore without any vertical sections as far as I'm aware, I've not been so a suggestion not really a recommendation.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
You don't necessarily need a club, but as I think you have wisely identified it might be good to have some guidance (professional or amateur). The problem with SRT inexperience is always the things you don't know you don't know (at least until the point where you learn you don't know them, by which point you are usually already in a tangle). Clubs are, after all, primarily ways of finding people to go caving with - although they are not the only way.

Plus for the bigger stuff it's hard work lugging bags full of rope with only 2/3 people (and expensive to buy all the rope)...
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
I also have a general question about learning SRT. Is it even possible to do so without joining a caving club? Im concerned that after a 1 or 2 day course we will still not have the experience to go at it without a guide. We dont have particular desire to join a caving club but would like to progress with the hobby.
CIC caving instructors provide expert rapid safe tuition. You can find a list of them in the BCA training page. Alternatively you can take advantage of someone offering you a cheap or free alternative. I get all my specialist work done cheap or free, e.g. car mechanics, plumbing, brain surgery. You get what you pay for.
 

Fulk

Well-known member
And there are many caves in the Dales that require little or no equipment or just a short electron ladder and lifeline which avoids party members having the encumbrance of wearing the paraphernalia associated with SRT.

I long ago learnt that SRT is far superior to ladder/line on virtually all pitches, even short ones. It's safer, quicker and easier, and as for the 'encumbrance' of SRT equipment, it's not really an encumbrance except in narrow, awkward places – where faffing with ladders would be an even worse pain.

As for cap n chris's tongue-in-cheek (?) remarks, well, there are many competent people (club members and non-club members) who could teach you as well as a professional instructor . . . unfortunately there are also plonkers who could teach you really crap techniques, and it might not be possible to tell them apart if you know nothing at all about SRT.
 

Steve Clark

Well-known member
On the SRT, if you don't fancy a club, my advice would be to find one of the CIC instructors and spend at least some time with them getting it figured out quickly and efficiently. They are not just good at SRT, they are good at teaching it. You are correct that you can't do big trips off the back of a 1 or 2 day course, but you can go and do easy stuff. Then go back to get more knowledge as you need it.

I'm not a member of a caving club, but have built a group of active cavers out of our climbing club. This has how it went for me over the last couple of years :

I'm a climber and tried to sort some of it out myself in a quarry, then had a couple of goes at SRT in a cave with some caving mates, all felt very hard work.

I then spent an evening with Steph & Mike at Yorkshire Dales Guides. That sorted the simple up and down stuff. There is some important stuff here about procedure for checking the point you start to abseil. I'd strongly recommend learning this correct first time, so you always do it like that by muscle memory. Definitely a case of you don't know what you don't know.

I bought the caving techniques and alpine caving books.

Then I could go on simple trips with the cavers in the climbing club, following other folks rigging. After a few trips, started de-rigging. This helps to learn about carrying bags and avoiding tangles.

Then I started rigging in simple caves, with folks who were competent and able to look after themselves.

Then I tried things that were slightly technical and awkward but in a relatively safe location (Yordas chapter house traverse, Jingling Pot traverse and lateral shaft etc.)

I did the CNCC pull-through rigging course. Lots of good stuff in there.

Then I did the CNCC 1 day srt rescue course. That was really useful and gave me a lot more confidence to solve a lot of problems from the pitch head. I changed some kit to give me more options for this.

Over the last few months I'm now in a position where I can rig most of the standard sporting-type trips on resin bolts (Lancaster Hole, Lost Johns, Boxhead, Gavel etc.) and at least have an idea what to do it someone got strung up on a re-belay, too exhausted to jug or lost/broke some gear.

Now at ~60 trips, half or so on SRT. Still lots to learn. It helps to cave with people with more experience to pick up tips. It also helps to start showing/mentoring new folks so you can really consolidate what you know as you pass it on.
 

mikem

Well-known member
The other advantage of joining a club is they generally have rope & bags etc that you can borrow for trips, along with other kit (exactly what varies between clubs) & guidebooks...
 

JasonC

Well-known member
I have seen a post describing a route from Dismall Hill non SRT entrance into Old Ing that sounded decent but the description i read sounded like we would need some rope equipment.
Dismal Hill to Old Ing is a great trip, and you don't need SRT, as long you start from the 'old' entrance of DH. Unfortunately, as Pitlamp says, access is difficult at present.
Dowkabottom is a nice trip, not particularly long, but not without interest and no SRT required.
Ibbeth Peril in Dentdale - similar comments.
If Goyden is not too far out of your range, there's plenty to do there, most of which doesn't need SRT. There's a good description of a great trip here: https://www.braemoor.co.uk/caving/route17.shtml (and plenty else to see on the same site).
Good luck!
 

alanw

Well-known member
If Goyden is not too far out of your range, there's plenty to do there, most of which doesn't need SRT. There's a good description of a great trip here: https://www.braemoor.co.uk/caving/route17.shtml (and plenty else to see on the same site).
The link on the Braemoor page to the BCRA publication has now, I'm afraid, gone 404. However, the same publication, I believe, can now be found via this page:
"Thunderstorms & Flash Flooding at Goyden Pot & Manchester Hole"
Can I stress most strongly that if you do visit Goyden or Manchester Hole, take careful note of the level of water in the upstream reservoir, any possible scour tests and the wind direction: in the wrong direction it can raise waves which overtop the dam.
 

langcliffe

Well-known member
The link on the Braemoor page to the BCRA publication has now, I'm afraid, gone 404. However, the same publication, I believe, can now be found via this page:

Thank you - the link has now been updated.
 

Alex

Well-known member
A cave that is a fair trek but looks ace is Smelt Mill Beck Cave, over a kilometre of cave to explore without any vertical sections as far as I'm aware, I've not been so a suggestion not really a recommendation.
Brrrrghhh! That's one cold cave at this time of year, neck deep water. But, yeh no pitches.
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
Smelt Mill Beck Cave was certainly cold when I did it about 40 years ago - we had to push through snow drifts to reach the entrance!
 

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