Author Topic: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report  (Read 2321 times)

Offline Maddoghouse

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checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« on: November 04, 2019, 01:11:59 pm »
Best Fresher’s Trip Report – Sponsored by Petzl. A prize is a shinny new Boreo Helmet

So you’ve just started your university adventure and you decide to join the caving club? Nice one! Good choice, welcome on behalf of CHECC! Would you like to win yourself your first bit of caving kit? Well, tell us about one of your trips underground an your in with a chance of getting yourself a lovely helmet! Plus, you get to pick the size and the colour :P

Post your entries below!

Offline laxfl10@nottingham.ac.uk

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 11:37:04 pm »
“Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”


I’m sure whoever wrote the phrase “Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”, didn’t know about air conditioning, a blanket, and Netflix, but then again, there are so many delightful things out there to experience.
I have been here in the UK a little more than 2 months, I am an international student and for some crazy reason I decided to join the caving club, something I had never done before in my life, for the contrary, I live above 2,000 meters over the sea level and I have done some mountaineering over 5,000 meters, and now I find myself going into underground caves. Because trying new things are the kind of adventures that will stay with me until I die, adventures I will tell my grandkids (if I ever have), adventures that will help me grow and overcome the difficulties and fears in life, adventures that will bring the best and also the worst in me, adventures that will shape me.
To be honest, I like to think I am not afraid of anything, but that is not true, I just keep saying that to myself hoping one day I will actually believe it. The first time I went into a cave and I had to squish through a very tight gap in the floor and go down several more meters, I was terrified I was going to get stuck there, my heart rate started to rise, and I was pleading to my teammates not to leave me behind if I actually got stuck. But I calmed myself down, or at least as much as I could, and I reached the bottom. I had to, because I had to get over my fear, because I was sure that wasn’t going to be the last time I would experience fear or difficulties in my life, or inside a cave, for that matter. And I was right, caves are full of different obstacles, like cold water, tight spaces, getting lost, being hungry, struggling to find the cave, and so on, but they are also filled with great things, such as the friends I have made, beautiful rock formations, underwater rivers and waterfalls, great amounts of fun and over all, great stories and experiences.
In the short time I have been here, I have managed to go on a few caving trips, giving me the opportunity to meet amazing people, beautiful places, challenging and delightful caves, and I can assure you  I will go to a few more before I return home.
If you are reading this, and you are not a caver, I will encourage you to try it, at least one, because you might actually find yourself loving it, as I did, and appreciating seeing the sky and breathing fresh air a lot more.

Felipe LCA


Offline AdamC

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2019, 12:37:06 am »
Freshers trip to OFD 2.
By Isaac Neale.

Unfortunately, the author is only able to write a direct account of the second (and less ‘crazy’) day of this trip. He is, however, able to provide a highlights reel of the day before. One person didn’t turn up due to a hangover and sent a friend instead. This friend (who was also hungover) proceeded to vomit multiple times on the drive over. They also then proceeded to nap on the sofa of the SWCC while the rest of the group caved. Moral of the story: if you want a nap, get very drunk.

Anyway, back to Sunday. There were 3 freshers on the trip; myself (Isaac), a girl named Karima, and another guy called Maciek. The trip was led by Chelsey (club President) and Jasen (club Tackle-Wanker). Arriving at 9am at the kit hut, we were provided with boots and suits. Once equipped, we got into the car, little knowing of the events which were soon to play out on that fateful day.

The first event revolves around motion sickness tablets. There were none, and it was soon discovered that Karima was the factor that made 50% of our party motion sick… Queue numerous, numerous stops at various garages and shops searching for pills. We found none. Did you know that the Co-Op doesn’t stock them?

Chelsey also broke her bank card for the 6th time while at one of these stops. There was also talk of Extinction Rebellion, 50% of the group seemed eager.  Personally, I worry that a basic thing like protecting our habitat requires a shutdown of one of the major financial centres of the world. Will it fall on deaf ears? I sincerely hope not…

Upon arrival, the caving trip itself was much more uneventful. It passed smoothly and we made good pace, passing the wedding cake, the trident, and the law one in about 3 hours. There was also a section of slightly-above-waist-height water, and an ominously deep chasm. Gnome Passage was interesting but much over-hyped.

When leaving the cave, it was noted that fresh air does have a smell. A bus stop half way up a mountain also had to be re-erected due to wind issues on the Welsh plains.

To finish, I would like to summarise a few key points:
1.   You can ALWAYS send/use a friend. If they feel worse, they will be polite.
2.   Humans can NOT take dog motion sickness tablets.

Offline Graigwen

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2019, 10:06:38 am »
It is great to see that the traditions of Aber caving are being upheld by the present generation.


.

Offline FrodoTheWalkingDisaster

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2019, 01:56:12 pm »
Lancaster Hole to Wretched Rabbit – 16/11/19
In the past few weeks I have become known in the Nottingham University Caving Club as a walking disaster. I could trace my reputation to one key incident...
Picture this: someone who really shouldn’t be legally recognised as an adult crashing down an underground cliff face while everyone in the surrounding area screams in horror. Record scratch. Freeze frame. Yep, that’s me. I bet you’re wondering how I got into this situation. Here’s my story.
I woke up that morning to the sound of a fire alarm going off. Apparently, this was the most efficient way to wake up everyone at the lodge at the same time. By that afternoon, four of us (myself, Ben, Natalie and Wong) had set off to Lancaster hole. From there were would go to wretched rabbit, hopefully meeting another group along the way who were going in the opposite direction. Surely everything would go to plan.
When we arrived at Lancaster hole, Natalie rigged a rope and she and Wong descended into the bowels of the Earth. Ben and I had to wait at the top for some time because another group needed to come up but eventually everyone was underground. I fulfilled my destiny of slowing everyone down by getting tangled up in several ropes on the way down but the decent went much more smoothly than any time I had done SRT in training so I considered it a victory. The first few hours of our underground trek were uneventful. We saw some very nice rock formations, but you don’t want to hear about that, so I’ll just skip to the part where we had to go through quite a narrow squeeze. I went last and got my foot stuck in the lower half of the crevice. When Natalie came to dislodge me, I managed to move higher up where there was more space but the unfortunate consequence of this manoeuvre was that when I got out of the crevice, I landed on Natalie’s head. (Natalie, if you are reading this, I apologise)
After this incident, we get to the big one.
We came to a traverse that required us to cross quite a big hole. We had to climb down a series of ledges on one side, then cross a narrow strip of rock and ascend the wall on the other side. There was a rope that we could clip our cow’s tails into for safety but in this case, as I prepared to climb down, it seemed to function more as a zipline to the bottom. With this in mind, I decided to take extra caution to ensure I didn’t fall. Fat lot of good that did because I immediately fell. It was all a bit of a blur really. I can remember my foot slipping, a lot of yelling and then I was lying on my back on one of the ledges with a stalagmite sticking into my ribs. I was laughing hysterically because of the shock and Natalie was at the top of the descent, shouting about how it’s not funny. I was as surprised as everyone else that I hadn’t broken any bones and after a few minutes I got back up and tried to cross the lower part of the cavern. Due to a poor choice of direction I ended up hanging from the wall next to where I was supposed to be walking across so Ben had to come and rescue me.
After escaping from this situation, it became clear that I was drained of all energy after the fall so the rest of the trip took considerably longer than expected. There were several boulder chambers that we had to cross and this ended up taking a while because I am somehow both extremely accident prone and overcautious. Due to the trip being prolonged by my general uselessness, we ran out of water long before we were anywhere near the exit, so when we reached an underground stream, there was much rejoicing. I ended up lying face down in the water to drink because we only had two water bottles and I’m clearly not above humiliating myself. After we had taken some time to recuperate, we had to press on. We were getting dangerously close to missing our callout and we still hadn’t run into the other group. After another hour or so, we heard whistling coming from the general direction of the exit. It was Alex and Lorna! Apparently the two of them had come looking for us with David and now that it was clear that none of us were dead, he had run back to the lodge to call off the rescue services. At this point it was almost midnight and we still had to climb out of the cave. This ended up taking another hour because I am a disaster and climbing up steep, smooth rock faces is not my forte (not that anything is). Eventually, Lorna, Natalie and Ben had to team up to either drag or shove me over the ledges and at one point I landed on Lorna’s leg (Lorna, if you are reading, I apologise). Eventually, I got to the top of the final climb and Wong gave me a grape Fanta from the supplies that Alex and Lorna brought. I had had about three sips when everyone else rapidly climbed the rock face that I spent half an hour on and we were ready to walk the last stretch of the cave. It quickly turned into a crawl as the ceiling got lower so I had to put the Fanta on the floor and push it forward every three feet or so.
After ten and a half hours underground, we finally emerged into the rainy night air. The first thing I saw was David, standing atop a grassy boulder outside the entrance, holding out the most beautiful slice of chocolate orange I have ever seen.
We got back to the lodge at two in the morning. I had a shower, ate a giant mountain of pasta and went to bed. Now one of my toenails is black. It will probably fall off soon. In conclusion, the whole thing was traumatic, but I know in my heart that I would have never survived without my friends. I lost count of the number of times Ben had to drag me up a cliff or how many times I traumatised Natalie. I just want to say one thing to them. Thanks for being nice about how much of a pain in the ass I am.

Sophia Nicholson,
NUCC

Offline ladyhellfire

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 02:51:22 pm »
My first caving trip with Reading University Caving Club - OFD Cave, Wales

We arrived on the Friday in this adorable old-timey caving hut in Wales. Hung on the walls was an old helmet, not battery operated, but instead what looked to be an old gaslight fitted as the torch. I proceeded to follow my peers as we investigated the hut, finding the staircase, it already felt like I was in part of a cave. The width of a meer one person, steps so small that barely one foot could fit on each one, twisted in a tight spiral to reach the upper level, where the 3 rooms filled with bunkbeds and mattresses would become our abode for the weekend. Once I chose my bed and got settled into the hut I soon realised that this was going to be the first time I experienced not being able to use my phone for the lack of signal. What a refreshing feeling it was to be in an environment where there was no technology to distract anyone, allowing us to socialise and make quick friends.

The morning came, and off to OFD we went, sights of the old quarry as we parked up took my breathe away. We were soon seperated into three groups and told which part of the cave we would be exploring. "Bottom". And just after all the rain that Britain had had for the last week. "Well I guess my undersuit already being still damp isn't such a bad thing now" I said to one of the leaders, making him laugh.

The walk down to the entrance was an adventure in itself, clambering through the trees and slipping on the mud, soaked from last night's rain. But alas, we eventually made it down safely.

Entering the cave there was a set of two ladders guiding us deeper underground, an odd lingering smell somewhat similar to that of urine presented us on the first ladder. At the bottom I could hear the sound of a rushing stream in the distance, our leader Chris became aware and stated that he needed to make sure that the water wasn't too high for us too explore. 

As we clambered through the first part there was a constant presence of shallow still water, approximately shin height. We found there were hidden bars in the water that we needed to get our footing on. After some time we found ourselves at a junction with 3 separate directions to follow. The sounds of rushing water was much louder now, I knew we had to be close, and right I was because just round the corner we found the stream. Chris jumped in first, finding that the water reached just above his waist. Given the all-clear I was next. The water was like ice, and due to my short height it reached just above my stomach. It didn't take long for the feeling of water rushing into my wellies to appear.

The water pressure was strong and we had to work together to get through the stream. Occasionally my foot would find a gap between rocks and I would end up slightly deeper in the water. And alas, more hidden pipes to walk along were hidden beneath the rushing water, thankfully our leader had been down here before and knew where they would be.

We soon came to a corner were the water was rushing in a downhill motion. "There's a hole here, so you need to step over it and climb up onto this rock." Chris shouted to me over the racket. God it was so loud. As I lifted my leg to step forward I was thrown backwards by the rush of the stream. I began to panic a little, but I wouldn't let that stop me. Chris reached out a hand and grabbing it I tried once more. I made it! I had to go on a bit past my leader so that he could help the others, and I found another pipe that we would need to walk along. As I turned to watch everyone else I saw Chris get swept down from the water and fall in the hole. "Oh, it's not as deep as I thought!" Laughed Chris and he remained and helped the others to cross from were he had fallen.

Coming to the end of the stream we got to stop for a bit. Taking the chance to have a good look around I was in awe. The formations hanging down were like diamonds, it was nothing I had ever seen before. As I tried to walk forward I suddenly felt the weight of the water in my wellies and had to empty them. I couldn't help laughing, this was an experienced that I never could have imagined having, and then I realized I was hooked, I could see myself doing this again soon.

We carried on the exploration, with our leader giving us scientific information about how the formations came to being, it was like having a fun science lesson! Unfortunately the rest of the exploration I can not remember in which order I saw things, but I will digress what I saw nonetheless.

One part there was a wall of boulders so high, and I couldn't even seen any way out from the top of them, but apparently there was, so up we climbed, helping each other along the way, until we reached the top, and yes, there, right at the top, was rather small hole for us to squeeze our bodies into and climb up and through.

Another section we came to was given the nickname 'the rolypoly', I soon realized why. The hole was so low that there was no way you could crawl through it, you may have perhaps been able to army crawl through, but as I quickly learnt, this was painfully tricky and tiring. So the best option was to lie flat, arm straight up above your head, and roll, and just keep rolling until you reached the other side. I was extremely dizzy by the time I reached the other side! But wow was it worth it! On the other side of the rolypoly there were formations everywhere, and hidden in a little alcove was a section were the floor, walls and ceiling was almost completely covered in glistening formations.

The scariest part of the cave was when we came to the traverse. Leading up to it I had my first experience of being clipped with the cowstail in order to climb across a part where there was a very big gap behind me. At one point we were at   a part where we were not clipped on. I had to climb ontop of this boulder and spin my body round, slide off the other side and shimmy my way around the boulder. As I stepped back I realised that there was no floor beneath one foot, then I saw it, the traverse. It just looked like a big black hole that went on forever. "Hug the boulder and shimmy across till you can clip on." That was another fresher shouting to me from the other side. I felt panic rise up through my body again, but I soldiered on. Once clipped I moved along, but I was so fearful that the wire in the wall would give way that I chose to hook my arm over it and slide along holding the wire.

Towards the end two more sections were new challenges for me, firstly was the rope ladder. I had never used one before so it was an unusual sensation to climb a ladder that swayed with every movement that I made. Secondly was our 15 minutes of squeezing through tight holes, I was thankful that I was not claustrophobic at this point. We came to a part where there was about a two metre verticle drop, where we needed to slide down and stretch our leg out to catch ourselves on another rock to stop us falling and hurting ourselves. I froze up at this point because I have a fear of free-falling. Thankfully the other caver in front helped guide my foot to the rock as I slid down, and I did the same for the person behind me.

As we came reached the entrance once more to make our exit we came across more cavers just beginning their adventures. They could see from looking at us that they were about to get very, very wet!

I think in total we were in the cave perhaps 2 hours, but time became irrelevant while we were down there. I wasn't able to get any photos because I decided it was not a smart idea to take my nice shiny phone underground were there were rocks and water. But I will never forget how beautiful the inside of a cave looked, and I am so excited to do it again!
Jessica, Reading University

Offline Cardiff Uni Caving Club

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 05:02:30 pm »
Had I ever caved before university? No. Am I already hooked? Yes.

So far since joining I have been on 2 weekends away to the Mendips where I went to Rods, Goatchurch, GB and Sludge pit. With other day trips I have been on one trip down draenen to war of the worlds, and another trip to lesser garth.  So it’s fair to say I’ve already done a fair bit in only a few weeks!

One of my favourite trips had to be sludge pit which we went down on bonfire weekend. The weekend itself was a mess… the BEC plus a load of drunk cavers armed with fireworks and a huge bonfire. Speaks for itself really. Highlights must include Dickon chucking a firework into a bin without the person standing next to the bin realising. As always the night ended with everyone topless dancing on the table, in true BEC style.

As for the actual caving, sludge pit was a laugh. I enjoyed the mix of easy caving, tight squeezes/crawls, and sporting sections. The cave started with a ladder which I hadn’t done before so this was a good chance to learn this – it was much easier than it looked which was encouraging.

At some point in the trip I was at the front of the group, and managed to squeeze my body through a stupidly small hole. Having successfully got my body through I was then hanging by my helmet which was not ideal but very funny. Luckily Tom behind me could pull me back up and with a reposition I managed to get through. It was at that point that I realised there was a massive hole above this, and I had in fact gone through an unnecessarily small hole for absolutely no reason. Tom was not entirely sure how I even fit through, but I did have fun doing it.

When getting to the 4 pots section, a member of the group was very scared and found this more difficult, during which he began to panic. This was good as it gave me the opportunity to learn what can happen down caves and I was able to help and calm him down to support him through. We got him through the trip and I even persuaded to do a whole section he didn’t feel he could instead of leaving the cave early! This was nice as we could work as a group to support each other. Another member injured his elbow whilst down there, so we looked at the survey to work out the easiest way to get him out which would require the least effort and have less chance of hurting it more.

Having had a caving Halloween social the Wednesday before to watch the descent, lots of jokes were made in the cave including people jumping out on others acting as the zombies. This provided lots of laughs (and also screams).
I must say, it was a wet weekend, and sludge pit definitely lived up to its name. We came out of the cave absolutely caked in mud to be met at the changing rooms by a group who had been down Swildons… they looked like they’d just walked out of the caving shop with brand new suits! All part of the fun though, and was definitely a trip I’ll remember. I am looking forward to more trips this year and over the next 5 years that I’m at Cardiff University!



Elizabeth Caisley
Cardiff University

Offline Heidi Goodwin

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 08:24:40 pm »
The weirdest, yet best weekend of my life!

Friday night at Opheus Hut: The hut was really nice and warm with its log fire, which became a blessing throughout our stay. We started the drinks playing lick and stick – now one of my favourite games. We had some interesting challenges of people licking the floor, running around the hut naked people body traversing in their underwear and an auctioned foot massage. We met some great cavers that were staying there too a bit older than us lot but great fun really committing to the squeeze box. The squeeze box was competitive that night between me and Arjun, but Arjun defeated me. We didn’t end up going to bed till 6 in the morning and some did not sleep at all.

Saturday day: After nearly no sleep I embarked on my first caving trip to Giants Hole. Getting our gear on was tough as it was windy and wet down in the valley so I kept wobbling when putting my wet socks on and then nearly got pushed over by keiran. When walking to the cave entrance we got stared down by lots of sheep who I was told not to make eye contact with otherwise they would come for me - quoted from Tarik. We then found the entrance to the cave, which looked very intriguing I must say. It was a little stream leading into the cave so we were in water from the get go. Obviously, I thought this was amazing at first and loved the fact that I was walking through all this water in a rocky cave. Unexpectedly we had to abseil down the cave quite soon after the entrance. I was really excited to do this, but it was very cold waiting on the rocks so I started to annoy people by asking them loads of questions. My first abseil was awesome! I felt such an adrenalin rush before but, descending was amazing hanging free in the air. After this we then went through the crab walk which was very tight and windy. I thought I couldn’t fit though some gaps it seemed impossible to squeeze though, but somehow it worked! It was great to be small so I didn’t have to struggle much and could just walk though quite comfortably. In the crab walk I managed to slip back of one of the rocks into a deep pool of water and drenched myself before we were even an hour in and I had a way to go yet - Not my finest moment! Once through a bit more we all turned off our lights, which was so surreal as I had never seen darkness quite like it. We then played this game where we had to try and touch finger tips in the dark and it just put into perspective how eerie caving is, but incredible at the same time. In the crab walk there was a ladder we had to go down where there was a powerful waterfall in your face constantly. The water was ice cold and just soaked me completely. I couldn’t find the step of the ladder so Liam had to help me and put my foot on the next step as I was struggling to reach. The water however was too much for some of the group to handle and Andy was violently pushed of the ladder by its force. The next bit was for me probably the hardest bit of the trip. There was rope hanging down in the waterfall we had to climb up. The water this time I didn’t mind too much, but I couldn’t grip the rope so I kept sliding down and I couldn’t get my wellies in the foot loops. Luckily Liam was there to push me back up when my bum was in his face, this meant I could make it to the top. It was such a struggle physically for me and I really had to work hard to get to the top. After getting up, two of our group had to go ahead to check the duck was not a sump as we would have had to have turned back if it was. I really wanted to do a duck so I was hoping it was fine and I also wanted to do the round trip in the cave to have completed it so was really hoping we didn’t have to abort the mission. The boys for the duck did not fare well and there were a few screams coming from inside, so I thought it was going to be bad, but in reality, they were such drama queens. My favourite bit of the cave was probably the duck as it was a challenge to mentally block out the notion of the cold-water seeping through my over suit and it coming up to my mouth as well, which was a new experience. Unlike the wimpy boys, I didn’t make a sound when I went through which concerned kerian as he thought I wasn’t okay, but I was actually enjoying the challenge so I was focused. After the duck we realised that we were going to miss our call out. Not a great moment for the group. I felt bad at this point as keiran had to go ahead and cancel the call out alone before people got worried. While keiran was gone we had to wait for what seemed like ages for the ropes to be rigged to abseil down the shaft. Poor Tarik though had to do most of this by himself as we didn’t know what to do. In the mean time we met a lovely group of cavers from York who unfortunately had to wait a good hour for us to get down before their group could start. We were all shivering and standing together looking like death. In that moment, I was the coldest I had been yet in the cave and was just thinking of getting out. Luckily, I got to go down first after Liam to the bottom. Boy was it the most extraordinary moment. I was squeezing through the rock faces looking up at pitch darkness with the sight of Tarik’s torch in the distance and staring down into darkness below. The feeling was insane. My helmet fell back around my neck which was a strange moment as it made it a lot darker with no one around me, but I managed to put it back on. It was hard to abseil down there as the rope was stiff in the descender so I struggled to move at times. I thought it was just me and I was holding everyone up, but was relieved when others had the same problem. I had never been so happy to see Liam in my life standing at the bottom as I was getting tired and shaking. My happiness faded again when to my disappointment the water was very deep at the bottom so I continued to feel colder. Luckily for me I found a little ledge on a rock I got up on the stay out of the water as I knew that would prevent me from shivering more. At this point I felt like a weirdo as I had to sing by myself to distract myself from how cold I was. I was happy when Arjun and Andy came down so I had company. A guy from the York group offered to get us out of the cave at the bottom, but luckily keiran came back from cancelling the call out and took us back to the point where we first abseiled in. I had never done a ladder before so it was another new experience, however I was slightly too cold to appreciate the remarkable waterfall that was soon to be in my face. We got the bothy bag out to keep us warmer, which I was sad to leave to climb up though freezing water again. I was so happy to make it to the top of the ladder, but we were so cold that Tarik got Andy to take me and Arjun out of the cave so we could start to warm up. I have never moved so fast in my life I couldn’t wait to get out into the fresh air. Finally seeing what was no longer daylight, but a delightful dusk, I was over the moon to be free from the cave. The sheep greeted us at the entrance with their evil glares which were so warming this time. Disappointingly it was still very windy outside and with us being soaked from the cave, we didn’t enjoy the breeze, but again shivered. Once back at the mini bus Arjun took a picture of Andy and I where I was smiling like a Cheshire Cat. I feel like my smile was a mixture of pride I had accomplished 7 hours in that cave with so many challenges accomplished, happiness I was out and mostly just smiling through the pain. Us three tried to warm up in the minibus while half of our group were still inside the cave sorting all the equipment out and assisting the group from York with their freshers. I felt bad as they must have been so cold as well and had sorted rope and ladders for our whole journey. Another half hour to an hour later the rest of the group appeared with the York group looking happy to be out and get to the warm minibus.

Saturday night: On the way home we grabbed some crisps and food has never tasted so good! The salt on the crisps was just to die for after 7 hours of not eating or drinking. Getting back to the hut was the best moment ever. I was sure to grab the shower to try to warm up. I got 1st class hotel service of being delivered a hot chocolate in the shower. New experience and very much enjoyed. We then relaxed in front of the fire with no energy at all. It was an early night for all.

Sunday: We were all so knackered from Saturday that we decided to build a bridge swing. This was a lot of fun. We all got to abseil down the bridge. This was really great as I got to learn how to rig a descender, which I didn’t know before and how to descend properly. It was so enjoyable to hang off the ledge of the bridge upside down when I was abseiling down. When we got the swing ready to use, we had a bit of a problem getting it to release and Tarik hurt his finger. We then tried to use a stick it was unsuccessful. Eventually we got it to work and it was a great experience. Everyone enjoyed the day and laughed a lot, although it wasn’t caving it was a great day and experience.

The trip as a whole was a very extraordinary experience. I have never seen so many people work together to accomplish something that had people’s worst yet best experiences in. I really enjoyed the fact that the cave had so many challenges and was covered in water, but after 7 hours of being soaked I experienced a new sense of coldness that I shall cherish forever.

Heidi Goodwin
Kent University Caving Club

Offline laxfl10@nottingham.ac.uk

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2019, 02:41:31 pm »
“Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”

As a update to my previous post, I would like to add, while I am already here at CHECC, that I got here with 3 of the oldest team leaders in my society, leaving early in the morning I was informed that we weren't going directly to CHECC, tha we were going caving first, apparently to a cave called "Darren" you might have heard of it, i was told it was going to be arround an hour of crawling, to which y imagined a long tunnel like  cave where I would have to move on my hands and knees most of the times. Without making anymore questions I embraced the idea cheerfully. And before I gonany further, I would like to thank those 3 guys for trusting I was up for the challenge.

Well what I imagined it would be was far from reality, if you have ever been inside that cave you know what I am talking about, arround 500 meters of very very tight tunnels where you have to be most of the time laying full length on your side, legss fully extended and puling and pushing yourself however you can, and these tunnels are partly covered with water. That was how my fifth cave ever looked like.
Being quite honest I swore I was going to get stuck more than once, but I managed to free myself moving backwards and forwards several times, I also felt pretty scared several times, but I managed to stay calm and happy for having the opportunity to experience this amazing challenge.

After about 50 meters they asked me if I wanted to continue, letting me know that it was going to be like that for another hour. I answered that I wanted to continue, and I do not regret my decision, it was difficult, it was painful, but I enjoyed the challenge a lot. I have to accept a wasn't abe to go as fast as my other 3 teammates, but I managed to go all the way in and out the same way due to lack of time, without any problems and in arround 1 hour and 15 minutes.

As I said in my original  post, before going back I plan to do a few more caves, and I am glad this was one of the caves I had the chance to do.

Felipe LCA

Original post

I’m sure whoever wrote the phrase “Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”, didn’t know about air conditioning, a blanket, and Netflix, but then again, there are so many delightful things out there to experience.
I have been here in the UK a little more than 2 months, I am an international student and for some crazy reason I decided to join the caving club, something I had never done before in my life, for the contrary, I live above 2,000 meters over the sea level and I have done some mountaineering over 5,000 meters, and now I find myself going into underground caves. Because trying new things are the kind of adventures that will stay with me until I die, adventures I will tell my grandkids (if I ever have), adventures that will help me grow and overcome the difficulties and fears in life, adventures that will bring the best and also the worst in me, adventures that will shape me.
To be honest, I like to think I am not afraid of anything, but that is not true, I just keep saying that to myself hoping one day I will actually believe it. The first time I went into a cave and I had to squish through a very tight gap in the floor and go down several more meters, I was terrified I was going to get stuck there, my heart rate started to rise, and I was pleading to my teammates not to leave me behind if I actually got stuck. But I calmed myself down, or at least as much as I could, and I reached the bottom. I had to, because I had to get over my fear, because I was sure that wasn’t going to be the last time I would experience fear or difficulties in my life, or inside a cave, for that matter. And I was right, caves are full of different obstacles, like cold water, tight spaces, getting lost, being hungry, struggling to find the cave, and so on, but they are also filled with great things, such as the friends I have made, beautiful rock formations, underwater rivers and waterfalls, great amounts of fun and over all, great stories and experiences.
In the short time I have been here, I have managed to go on a few caving trips, giving me the opportunity to meet amazing people, beautiful places, challenging and delightful caves, and I can assure you  I will go to a few more before I return home.
If you are reading this, and you are not a caver, I will encourage you to try it, at least one, because you might actually find yourself loving it, as I did, and appreciating seeing the sky and breathing fresh air a lot more.

Felipe LCA

Offline cavewarri0r

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Re: checC '19 Comp. Entry Thread: Freshers Trip Report
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2019, 11:15:39 pm »
Hopping over the bog of the Yorkshire Dales, I wondered what my second caving trip would entail. I had been told that I would enjoy this trip (after disclosing my love for heights) but I didn’t really know what to expect until we reached a circular lid which was pulled aside to reveal a 35m drop: Lancaster Hole. I peered down, trying to find the bottom with no success. Meanwhile, our president (Dave) started rigging while I sat back and practiced putting ropes in my descender. I was the first one down, completing my first hanging rebelay under instructions shouted down from the top. A few metres down, there was a second rebelay from a small ledge, and then it was a straight run to the bottom. As I descended into the darkness, the circle of daylight above me grew steadily smaller and the sound of voices on the surface became replaced by that of water racing over rock. I felt nothing but the motion of gradually dropping downwards, the rope passing through my hands, and the sense of being completely present and alive. The bottom of the hole came too soon. After shouting ‘rope free!’ up to the rest of the club, I took a look at my surroundings. Two obvious paths could be noted: one muddy, subtle incline to my left, and another running between two rock platforms in front of me. Having already agreed that I could go for a short exploration while waiting for the others to join me (Dave, being a Tory, agrees with independent enterprise). I decided to take the latter path. This, after climbing over a couple of boulders, led to a large cavern sloping downwards. I spent a while exploring different tunnels – one, I could easily walk down, another, required crawling on hands and knees. Both were fun, and exciting, and highly dissatisfying, because I didn’t get the chance to find out where they went. I’ll have to go back for that.

Once the others had all descended, and relayed the story of Romaine only realising his helmet was missing when he was halfway down the hole, we slipped down a gap in the floor lined with scaffold bars. After a short crawl, the passage widened, and we continued for a while until we reached Fall Pot. If I’d thought Lancaster Hole and the cavern leading on from that were impressive, then Fall Pot was phenomenal. I peered into the darkness stretching in front, above, and below me, and observed a memorial plaque on the large boulder to my left. I wondered how the person died. We continued on around deep holes and over slippery mud slopes, many of which were travelled on our backsides, until we reached Stake Pot (which was, unsurprisingly, another huge hole). I found free climb down one side of Stake Pot, with cows tails attached to an in situ rope, very fun. The climb up the other side (again using an in situ rope to help pull myself up) was slightly less so, due to the immensely slippery nature of the mud. In addition to the descent of Lancaster Hole, my other favourite part of the trip must have been traversing around the holes of Scylla and Charybdis. These were so large that I couldn’t see the bottom or the other side, and I felt almost as if I were on an Alpine mountain (in the dark of course). After clambering over many boulders we reached the Minarets, which were amazing parallel passages leading to an even more beautiful cavern beyond. It’s crazy to think that for so long I’ve been walking above ground over caverns like this, without ever knowing they were there. We continued from here towards Wretched Rabbit, noting our increased thirst and heat. Wearing an undersuit over my thermals, it turns out, was a mistake. By the time we reached the cascade in Wretched Rabbit I was drenched in sweat and slurped up the cave water greedily. This was enough to fuel the climb up to the surface, where again we waited to re-assemble. Trudging back to Bullpot Farm in the dark, I grinned to myself, and thought about how much I wanted to go back and do it all again.

 

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