Author Topic: Ireby Fell much wetter  (Read 1978 times)

Offline Badlad

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Ireby Fell much wetter
« on: November 04, 2019, 10:05:18 am »
Not sure if this has been reported before but the entrance pitches of Ireby Fell Cavern are much wetter now than they have been for decades.  A large volume of water now enters out of the roof above the climb down to the first pitch.  This has been consistent on both my recent trips.  Previously, this aven only used to dribble or occasionally spout water in extreme weather.  I expect a new route has been opened up in the beck above.

This means that rigging Ding, Dong, Bell is much wetter than before.  You climb down under the waterfall to the first pitch and you get a good soaking now in only moderate weather conditions.  A large stream flows down the first pitch and on down the second but both can easily be rigged out of the water.  However, this stream now lands on the pitch head of the third again making rigging through it, to get to the dry hang beyond, a wet affair. 

Pussy pitch is harder to free climb with the full flow going down it and the in-situ ropes are fairly strenuous to use.  Beyond here everything is much the same as normal.

Over all it makes Ireby entrance pitches a more serious undertaking and not as good for SRT rigging practice as it used to be.

Offline David Rose

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2019, 11:08:47 am »
Is the alternative route with the bigger pitch dry?

Offline Alex

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2019, 01:03:17 pm »
The shadow route recently was far worse than the normal route, but that might have reversed.
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Offline Badlad

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2019, 03:41:50 pm »
You've still got to get down the climb to the first pitch which is now quite wet even in moderate conditions.  I haven't done shadow route recently but my memory is that the lower/larger pitch is wetter than the standard route IN WET CONDITIONS.  It seems to be affected by a different stream.  Yesterday it looked quite splashy as the water does seem to spray everywhere on that drop rather than be channelled into one chute and is impossible to avoid.

Offline badger

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2019, 07:52:30 pm »
I can certainly vouch for getting a good wetting on the way to the first pitch ( there was a lot of water there in august bank holiday) Bell pitch we rigged the deviation as a rebelay to get us well away from the water coming down,

Offline Inferus

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2019, 09:33:56 pm »
What, if any, impact does this have on the Bubbles route?
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Offline Badlad

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2019, 10:35:07 pm »
Very little.  A few splashes might reach out as far as the start of Bubbles so it could get slightly wetter but the vast majority of it goes down the first pitch (Ding).

Offline Alex

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2019, 09:03:22 am »
The problem with bubbles was the low passage leading to the pitch. I thought the start of Bubbles was under where that waterfall enters?
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Offline mikem

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2019, 10:52:36 am »
Wouldn't be too surprised if the rainfall in July / August had opened up a previously blocked channel.

Offline Badlad

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 11:27:23 am »
I don't know when this change occurred perhaps other forum readers will be able to help.  The water was certainly using this route on 16th June - I had meant to post about it then.  My trip prior to that was on 24th February but I can't remember what the weather conditions were like.  We had a few novices with us then including a 13 year old and there was nothing difficult on the pitches then.

This new water spout just misses the Bubbles route landing at the top of the cemented wall you climb down onto the first pitch.  Very close to the first P hanger.  There had always been a smaller stream which enters out of the roof just before Bubbles on that right hand corner.

A point of interest is that during one of the Grand Days Out in October 2008 a large group of us were trapped by flood water caused by a 'weather bomb'.  Although we were trapped further down the cave a group of three were trapped for several hours on the first pitch unable to make their way the sort distance to the entrance due to a deluge from above at the same location.  It would seem that flood water used the same route on that occasion.  So I think what was normal in extreme flood events has become the favoured route fro most of the beck.

Offline mikem

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2019, 12:09:19 pm »
Early March also seems to have had more than average rainfall - a partially obstructed passage would have spilled water duriing heavy rainfall, whilst diverting it elsewhere when lower & that being washed clear is more likely than a new passage having been created...

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2019, 01:19:41 pm »
I don't know when this change occurred perhaps other forum readers will be able to help.  The water was certainly using this route on 16th June - I had meant to post about it then.  My trip prior to that was on 24th February but I can't remember what the weather conditions were like.

We were down on January 23rd, and it was a lot wetter than we were expecting it to be. Being frail and elderly, we aborted and went to Marble Steps instead.

Offline nobrotson

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2019, 11:10:18 pm »
I'd say the change may even have occurred last year at some point. On December 10th or so, I was down with a group of freshers, and what I would have expected to have been reasonable conditions (sustained heavy rain the day before but dry overnight) were in fact very wet and unpleasant (we turned around at the third pitch, I did it and was quite thoroughly soaked). I hadn't been down for over 2 years before then so I assumed I had just misremembered.
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Offline Mike Hopley

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2019, 10:54:57 am »
I went there for the first time on April 19th or 20th this year. It seemed pretty dry, but maybe that's because we great weather the whole week.

Offline JoshW

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2019, 02:23:56 pm »
I'd say the change may even have occurred last year at some point. On December 10th or so, I was down with a group of freshers, and what I would have expected to have been reasonable conditions (sustained heavy rain the day before but dry overnight) were in fact very wet and unpleasant (we turned around at the third pitch, I did it and was quite thoroughly soaked). I hadn't been down for over 2 years before then so I assumed I had just misremembered.

I was down there last December and whilst there had been rain that morning it was much wetter than I remembered/expected.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Ireby Fell much wetter
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 11:38:21 am »
We were down Ireby yesterday on a Wezzit training day. The water levels were low, but almost all the water seemed to come in from above the inlet above the first pitch, and made the top of Bell uncomfortable. We did notice, however, that there was very little water coming down Shadow Route, so it looks as if that is currently the driest option.

Jack Pickup was telling use that it was similar in the 1960s, and that they climbed into the inlet above the first pitch, and diverted the water through a fairly large diameter soft pipe - although I'm not sure to where. There is still a wooden stemple in place en route into the inlet.

I remember a major collapse occurred in the late 1960s, and the said flexible pipe was well and truly wrapped up in the debris, which didn't make the clearance very easy.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 11:59:15 am by langcliffe »