Author Topic: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)  (Read 689 times)

Offline hornbydd

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Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« on: February 06, 2019, 08:23:32 pm »
Hello Mendip Cavers,

Been flicking through my copy of Mendip Underground and was curious about the cave Thrupe Swallet the much smaller cave near Thrupe Lane Swallet.  There is much discussion on this forum about Thrupe Lane Swallet but not Thrupe Swallet.  I was thinking I would like a crack at it as I have never visited it. Reading the tackle required section, it states a 15m ladder is required for Persistence Pot. My ladder is 9m so I was wondering if this could be easily done as an SRT pitch as I would have enough rope?

I was hoping anyone who has visited this cave could provide any advice on this pitch, for example are there P-bolts in place or does one rig of naturals? Also sounds like it could be a bit dodgy in places (i.e. boulders requiring very little to get them going...)  :doubt:

Duncan

Online tim.rose2

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Re: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 09:32:23 pm »
It was some years go now (2014) when I had the same curiosity.  The pitch head is low and there is a lip which creates a 'puddle'.  The 'puddle' was about 6ft long and will requiring crawling through / lying in to reach and rig the pitch.  Said 'puddle' is the most revolting cow shit I've ever seen down a cave.  We retreated.  From memory there were no bolts (or at least I don't remember seeing any) but suitable things (might have been scaff or naturals) back from the pitch head to rig ladder and line from.  I think you might struggle with SRT.  If you do rig the pitch all your kit will be sat in the puddle of great pleasantness - assuming it's still there.  After that trip I spoke to somebody (can't remember who) and apparently it had been like that for some years.  There had been talk about removing the lip to prevent this problem. 

I'm not shy of getting dirty and this is the only time I've ever aborted a trip due to filth.  If you find this situation has changed it would be good to know, I always said I'd return if I heard it was cleaner.

Offline hornbydd

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Re: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 11:42:01 pm »
Oh dear shitty cow water, it never said that in the book!  ;D

So the vibe is to chain some ladders and rig back from the pitch head. I will try to see if I can acquire an extra ladder.

Thanks for the heads up and if I go this weekend I will report back on this thread.

Offline Sid

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Re: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 08:13:25 am »
Spooky timing as i was compiling the Atlas log books for this period yesterday. These will be added to MCRA shortly but hopefully Mr King will be able to provide some advice.

Offline Maj

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Re: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 09:59:47 am »
Thrupe Swallet was an ATLAS dig. Tim Rose is about right re Inside Out Passage  :yucky:

I typed a long reply with details of old rusty bolts, stinky stream inhabited by tiny wildlife. But somehow inadvertently hit the wrong button (operator IQ too low) and lost the lot (may re-type and post another time).

Have sent PM to Hornbydd, give me a call.

Maj.

Confucius say "War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left."

Offline Ad W

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Re: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 12:01:20 pm »
I'm sure that Dave has sorted you out already, but for future searches sake I'll add my experience.

We visited Thrupe Swallet early last summer and it was clear that we were the first for quite some time as the leaf litter etc on the entrance cover/grill was quite impressive.

The head of the pitch is at the end of a grotty puddle which covers the base of a low horizontal tube which is maybe 3m long and carries a small stream.  It really can't be avoided and you only get out of it by swinging out onto the pitch. 

The mud, although pretty organic, didn't seem to be too alive on our visit, and there was no sign of fresh cowsh. From memory the rigging was from a couple of bolts in the walls, which already had hangers and maillons on them, all of dubious vintage.  These are set perhaps 1.5m back from the lip of the pitch.

Anyone ascending or descending the pitch is showered by the stream, and therefore whatever has been disturbed from the unavoidable puddle - definitely best to be the first person back up, after the stream has flushed out the disturbed sediment from the puddle. :thumbsup:

I can't really remember the pitch itself in detail other than it was quite open, but I don't think a single 9m ladder would see you to the bottom.

Ad



Offline hornbydd

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Re: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 08:04:04 pm »
As promised a report..kind of! 

Well I had a very informative talk with Dave on the phone and he explained the approach to the pitch head, an approximately 10m long tube with a eye bolt about half way long it in the roof. Two bolts at the pitch head and the only only sensible way out onto it is to reverse backwards! All the bolts are quite old and I was given the impression of dubious quality due to their age. Apparently there is some lip at the pitch end that is not allowing any water and sediment to drain away quickly so this tube can get pretty grim, as indicated by others above.

So it will be of no surprise when the offer of going down Upper Flood was waved in my face with guaranteed misery, sore knees and shivering stream ways to lie in, but awesome formations at the end, I went for that instead...

If and when I get down Thrupe Swallet I will report my findings here. Thanks to all for their advice.

Offline Maj

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Re: Advice on pitch in Thrupe Swallet (not Thrupe Lane Swallet)
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 09:09:25 pm »
I did hear that you were dragged away from Thrupe Swallet and had to go down Upper Flood instead.  :lol:

Perhaps I'll try and get down there myself this year and knock the lip off the edge of the pitch. That'll help Inside Out Passage drain and possibly flush itself clean. I will also see what can be done re the bolts for a follow up trip once the passage is less uninviting.

Maj.
Confucius say "War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left."