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Stupid Swildon's questions

Fulk

Well-known member
I've been intrigued by this discussion; I'm not about to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do, it's entirely up to them, but my personal opinion is that ladders suck, and I (and the people I regularly go caving with) hardly ever use them.

I'm so used to SRT that the business of wearing my SRT kit throughout most trips just isn't an issue, so the comment 'With a ladder you'd get the whole party up the pitch before the first SRT person had gone (sic) his harness on' is totally irrelevant to me – I'd have it on anyway.

Again, it's probably a matter for opinion, but I find that – generally speaking – there's far more faffing involved with ladders than there is with SRT, and one further point: I can usually make my own judgement about the safety of the rigging of an SRT rope, but I have severe qualms about risking my life to someone who may or may not know how to operate a lifeline.
 

Fjell

Well-known member
Borrow a ladder from one of the many clubs?

I own two ladders. Both are well past their prime and down a dig. For Swildon's, I have always use a Wessex ladder (even when mine weren't down a dig) as they are specifically made to fit the pitch.
I haven’t been in a club hut in the UK since about 1990. I’d need a map. In fact I def need a map because the last time we went to Priddy I realised I had no idea where the Wessex hut was any more. Or exactly which path went to Swildons. At least there was no-one there, there was a vague rumour of some disease or other.

The last time I saw a cave in the Dales rigged on ladder was about 1985 on a club meet (the sort of Dales club that owns property). The lifelines ran out before the last pitch so climbed the 50’ last pitch of Langstroth without one. It’s enough to turn you to rope.
 

wormster

Active member
Wouldn't someone just use a sling and HMS krab as a makeshift sit harness (with the krab also clipped through belt for elf n safety and convenience) and slide down on a Italian/Munter. To get back up you could use the same "harness" but have 1 (or better 2) footloops tethered on some chunky cord. That could be chucked down to the next person (or pulled up on rope) so everyone could share the same kit. That and a short bit of rope would be pretty small and light, it's not like you're passing rebelays and need cows tails.
Why bloody complicate something that is tried and tested, there's about 3 caves on Mendip that NEEDS SRT, anywhere else it's in unnecessary emmbugerance
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
And you have to cave whilst wearing an SRT kit.
The bulk of. Harness and the metalwork and cowstails and footloops is more than one ladder and 3 belts
There is other SRT in Swildon's (although I haven't done it, and haven't been to any of the places described below). By 'bringing' I meant 'bringing for something else in the cave' not just 'bringing for the weekend'. Fun fact: I think there are more resin anchors in Swildons than Hunter's Hole.

You might be exiting the cave after pulling through down Priddy Green Sink. You might have rigged the 40 for SRT. You might be doing the Swynne-Pyke round trip. I believe anchors have recently been added on Approach Passage on the way to the Black Hole series? Plenty of reasons to have all your SRT kit anyway.

But yes, 95% of the time anyone doing SRT on Swildons is just causing themselves and others suffering (particularly if they have chosen this moment to try and use, probably for the first time, some sling/belt hybrid with an Italian hitch and improvised footloops on a pitch that can be reached in probably 10-15 minutes from the entrance...)
 
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cap n chris

Well-known member
SRT Lite (tm), been using that technique in Swildons for waay over a decade. And it's been almost as long since I've taken a ladder there with groups.
 
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Fulk

Well-known member
Wouldn't someone just use a sling and HMS krab as a makeshift sit harness (with the krab also clipped through belt for elf n safety and convenience) and slide down on a Italian/Munter. To get back up you could use the same "harness" but have 1 (or better 2) footloops tethered on some chunky cord. That could be chucked down to the next person (or pulled up on rope) so everyone could share the same kit. That and a short bit of rope would be pretty small and light, it's not like you're passing rebelays and need cows tails.

Well . . . I daresay it could be made to work, but I'd not like to be on that trip!! The thought of sharing equipment like that fills me with dismay, and as for cows' tails – wouldn't you want them for the traverse line at the top?
 

mikem

Well-known member
Most people have already stepped into the top passage by the time they can reach the "traverse" - it all depends what you are used to
 
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