Author Topic: summary of my first 3 trip  (Read 6046 times)

Offline Gp01

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summary of my first 3 trip
« on: December 18, 2015, 11:04:42 pm »
So I posted on the forum asking advise on how to get underground and try something new. I received a message from Duncan saying he had been having a stint of taking novices and would be willing to take me and I could borrow he's spare gear if it fitted a date and time was set. On the 29.11.15 I arrived at the Wessex hut and met Duncan who was very friendly. over a coffee we had a chat so Duncan could get a better idea of my fitness and experience. We got geared up and set off for swildons for my first taste of caving Duncan was very good at explaining things and gave me choices of things to do, so we went the long dry way to the 20' I was really enjoying it so had some more choices on the way out so chosse the wet way with a detour through the zigzags.
Was an amazing trip and couldn't wait to see more
6.12.15 my second trip decide to go back to swildons to see more so after a bit of ladder practice at the Wessex we set off for sump 2 this time we went the short dry way got to sump one and was a bit nervers and didn't know what to expect so after seeing Duncan disappear I shortly followed have to say it was very refreshing  ;D we went on to the birthday squeeze so I could try a squeeze getting through that we had a quick look at one of the ducks then went back down to see sump 2. A quick chocolate bar and then a return to day light.
13.12.15 my third trip this time at east water how very different to swildons and much more full on we done the upper and lower series this was a lot more demanding then what I had experienced in swildons was aching on Monday.
Would like to say a massive thank you to duncan and the Wessex I got a few busy weekend now with it been that time of year but can't wait to plan my next trip and get my own gear.

Offline Pegasus

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 11:31:27 pm »
Brilliant  ;D  Welcome to caving, welcome to UKC and well done Duncan  :thumbsup:

Offline Duncan S

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2015, 12:22:49 am »
I will say in my defense...
It's not normal to take a novice down Eastwater Upper Series round trip plus down Dolphin Pot down to the 13 Pots round trip on just their third caving trip; that's a pretty hard-core trip for the majority of cavers.
I'd talked to people about whether it is a sensible thing to do with a novice and whether I'm capable of leading it.
In this case the response was a resounding 'go for it'.

The Cave Rescue call-out in Eastwater at the same time was nothing to do with us - despite many people leaping to the obvious conclusion. We did bump into the unfortunate group while underground.
I'm just back from another trip to 13 Pots with a group of experienced cavers and we only took marginally less time.
Gary did blimmin well...

I've been asking advice for what to do with Gary on his next trip, and the answer is easy.
Time to stop leading him on increasingly harder trips and teach him how to be a full member of the team.
Gary - on your next trip you will be rigging a pitch under supervision.

Bung me some dates and lets make it happen.
I'm looking forward to it :)

Offline ah147

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summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2015, 01:13:46 am »
No need to defend yourself here Duncan.

My girlfriend did some relatively gnarly trip in her first few weeks, but who else would have carried my diving gear? :P


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Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2015, 08:20:07 am »
I think anyone who does Swildons and Sump One on their first trip is not longer a novice.  Talking of novices, may I ask Duncan [with tougue in cheek] "How long have you ben caving?"  Just over a year?  Does that make Duncan a novice?

Rhychydwr - author, Sixty Years Under the Earth.

Offline Duncan S

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2015, 10:50:35 am »
@ah147 LOL - that gave me my first laugh of the day - cheers  :beer2:

@rhychydwr1 - Tongue in cheek - but I'd still like to answer.
Yes, just over a year. But I have been doing a lot of caving. For example I'm just about to break a run of 8 consecutive days caving including a trip to Upper Flood and three Eastwater trips.
Also, in my mountaineering days I used to lead groups up mountain ridges in all weathers. Caving can pretty much be compared directly with scrambling grades. I'd rate Swildons Sump 1 as grade 1, Swildons Sump 2 as grade 2 and Eastwater 13 pots as grade 3. I had stopped visiting the mountains regularly, but when I started caving I got my mojo back and now feel very much in my comfort zone.
I think the point where I felt comfortable to stop describing myself as a novice caver was when my fitness and caving skills improved enough that could start teaming up with people to go exploring as a full member of the team rather than being led.
The really embarrassing bit of my caving history is that I lived in Priddy for 14 years without going caving. I wish I'd discovered it years ago!

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2015, 01:07:34 pm »
What about the old Swildons rituals? :lol: A ducking in the pots ( True Son of Mendip ) and the old flat stone gag the other side of sump one. I think the latter has been phased out cus they might never go caving again. Cant call Duncan a novice cus he wouldnt have been in Reservoir Hole would he . Duncan has done more in a year than half the folk on here. :tease:

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2015, 01:58:14 pm »

[snip]

 Duncan has done more in a year than half the folk on here. :tease:

More in a year than I have done in 10 years  :o

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2015, 04:46:59 pm »
I think anyone who does Swildons and Sump One on their first trip is not longer a novice.

Perhaps extend it to state that anyone who can self lead, and rig a ladder and safety line and operate it correctly, on a trip to S1 and back is no longer a novice.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2015, 06:20:28 pm »
@ah147 LOL - that gave me my first laugh of the day - cheers  :beer2:

@rhychydwr1 - Tongue in cheek - but I'd still like to answer.
I'd rate Swildons Sump 1 as grade 1, Swildons Sump 2 as grade 2 and Eastwater 13 pots as grade 3.

My first cave was Cuckoo Cleeves (complete with bad air) but my second cave was Swildon's Short Round (in about 3 hours!). Personally I found that easier than the 13 Pots a few caves later, but that may have something to do with the cold I had at the time and the fact we were in a larger group...

Offline Duncan S

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2015, 08:35:24 pm »
What about the old Swildons rituals? :lol: A ducking in the pots ( True Son of Mendip ) and the old flat stone gag the other side of sump one. I think the latter has been phased out cus they might never go caving again.
I whizzed through the double pots leaving Gary with only a glimpse of the usual route. Fully expected him to become a Son of Mendip but he didn't.
This is in contrast to other novice' trips where I've needed to wade into the pools to help place their feet.
In some ways I wish he'd come unstuck; it is a learning process as well as caving ritual.

As for the flat stone in Sump 1...
I've been hazed a few times and wouldn't inflict that on someone else unless they were over confident.
Good fun though...

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2015, 10:12:54 pm »
What about the old Swildons rituals? :lol: ... the old flat stone gag the other side of sump one. I think the latter has been phased out cus they might never go caving again.

Probably just no-one does it because it's an exceptionally unwise thing to do?

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=4519.msg64114#msg64114

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2015, 12:52:43 pm »
What about the old Swildons rituals? :lol: ... the old flat stone gag the other side of sump one. I think the latter has been phased out cus they might never go caving again.

Probably just no-one does it because it's an exceptionally unwise thing to do?

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=4519.msg64114#msg64114


Having nothing better to do I read the above list, all five pages of it.  This lead to another list which I did not have time or inclination to read.   Some amusing comments about sending the little women back to the kitchen.  My wife read it and I now have to do the dishes for a week as punishment.


Offline Pegasus

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2015, 07:27:01 pm »
What about the old Swildons rituals? :lol: ... the old flat stone gag the other side of sump one. I think the latter has been phased out cus they might never go caving again.

Probably just no-one does it because it's an exceptionally unwise thing to do?

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=4519.msg64114#msg64114

That made powerful reading....

Offline Duncan S

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2015, 05:12:40 pm »
Just back from taking Gary on his 4th caving trip.
What to do with him after his superb trip down Eastwater taking in both the Upper Series round trip and Lower Series round trip via 13 Pots?
The plan was a tower session about rigging followed by some caving, but with gale force winds and horizontal rain we needed to underground ASAP.
So we headed for the Swildons Short Round Trip.

All went smoothly until we got back into Swildons 2 where the stream was opaque brown; it is usually fairly clear even if a group has stirred things up.
Down at Sump 2 the stream was impressively swirling into the Sump. Heavy rain had been forecast and it was definitely time to get out the cave before conditions deteriorated.
Weirdly, just above The Landing, a waterfall of mud was cascading in from the roof (presumably Vicarage) and the stream regained it's usual crystal clear nature. Hmmm - the rain must be pretty heavy then...
However, by the time we reached Sump 1 the stream was noticeably higher and was back to being opaque brown.
Uh Oh - potential for a flood pulse - time to get a move on.
At this point the trip shifted from Gary leading with me giving occasional instructions, to me leading a tactical retreat.

Levels at Sump 1 were nearly up to the bolt the rope is tied but unexpectedly there was no foam.
By the time we got to the 20, water levels were noticeably higher. The waterfall wasn't far off the wall on the far side of the chamber. We both got hammered climbing the ladder.
At the 40 water levels were even higher. Enough that it was bouncing off the right hand wall as it came out the eyehole ensuring there was no easy or dry(ish) route up the climb.
The stream was now a roaring opaque brown torrent with lots of foam. Finding footholds became increasingly challenging.
But safe in the knowledge we now had an exit route if we needed one, we headed up the Wet Way - it was very wet - excellent fun!

Water levels at the entrance were high enough that there was a static pond above the blockhouse. Still some way off entering the blockhouse, but a rare sight.
We were astonished to find the wind had completely died and the rain had abated to light drizzle; the walk back to the Wessex was pleasant enough, but WOW the Wessex showers followed by a cup of tea were an intense luxurious experience.

Entrance to Entrance took us about 2:30 - a very respectable time for the Short Round Trip.
Gary did blimmin well; he lead most of the trip and I gave him as little help as possible. He had remembered the routes down through the Upper Series only needing to check which route I had in mind. I let him solve the Greasy Chimney completely unaided and when we passed through the last duck (the stinky one) he immediately recognised where he was as I'd taken him that far on his second caving trip.
The plan for Gary's next trips are to teach him enough navigation and rigging skills that he can be a full member of any caving team instead of just being led.

We passed a group of 6/7 people in the ducks at the Troubles; if they read this I'd love to hear how they got on returning up the streamway as the water levels at the entrance would have made the 20 and 40 very sporting. The pause in the rain didn't last long and I hope they made it out OK....

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2015, 05:46:45 pm »
Sounds pretty hairy  :o

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2015, 06:09:11 pm »
Good to bump into you down there earlier Duncan! Gary seemed cool as a cucumber. Unlike Ross, who needed to cool off in his wetsuit on the way in, pic below....



Water levels had increased while we were in there, with our cairn at the entrance about 20cm deeper than when we set off, and the water was coursing over the grass down the slopes towards the cave!

Offline Duncan S

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2015, 07:53:02 pm »
LOL - nice pic!
We were quite glad of our wetsuits when we got to the ducks; they are always intimidatingly cold and the sauna plunge pool method always seems like a good bet.

Offline Duncan S

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2015, 10:49:05 am »
Sounds pretty hairy  :o
I've caved Swildons in similar water levels, the only hairy bit was that the water levels were rising.
Lots of cavers I know have been down there in far more extreme water levels. Some cavers consider it OK even when water is swirling in through the blockhouse entrance!

Offline ditzy

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2016, 11:12:10 am »
iv never done sump 1 and i have been caving for years, sounds to me like you are no longer a novice, welcome to caving and the uk caving forum

Offline wormster

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2016, 01:14:31 pm »
I will say in my defense...
It's not normal to take a novice down Eastwater Upper Series round trip plus down Dolphin Pot down to the 13 Pots round trip on just their third caving trip; that's a pretty hard-core trip for the majority of cavers.
I'd talked to people about whether it is a sensible thing to do with a novice and whether I'm capable of leading it.
In this case the response was a resounding 'go for it'.

Perfectly normal behavior in my book, give the "fresh meat" a damm goood besating, then see if they come back for m0ar!- sorts the the wheat from the chaff!
You die - We split you kit!

Offline Alex

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Re: summary of my first 3 trip
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2016, 03:10:44 pm »
Yep the 13 pot route is quite fun, lots of drops, quite a bit of exposure you got to have a good head for heights especially as its Mendip who do not believe in rope so no protection.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)