Author Topic: SRT and discoveries  (Read 1111 times)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2020, 10:15:29 am »
Not a discovery descent but I think probably an early use of srt. In February 1970 Alan Gamble, Glynn Edwards and I did Meregill on 4 150ft 9mm climbing ropes with 2 cloggers and figure of eights. No rebelays, just tied off at the top chucked down. It was dry of course! we had to slide the cloggers back down on each pitch having only one pair. The stretch on a 9mm rope is quite entertaining.

Gulp!

The original (YRC) descent of Meregill was done on a single rope - a length of thick tarred hemp if I remember rightly. There's an excellent account of this in an early Ramblers Journal. (I think it's called "The Seige of Meregill".) But there were no descenders or jammers of course; it was all done hand over hand!

Online Ian Ball

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2020, 11:11:54 am »
I read these reports and think either everyone must have weighed about half my body weight or been three times as strong.

Online crickleymal

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2020, 12:09:01 pm »
Pitlamp:
Quote
There was also that three pronged abseiling device available from at least the early 60s (well before my time)
Wasn't there some poor soul who died abseiling down a deep mine shaft many years ago in the Forest of Dean when his rope broke? I've a feeling that the (hemp?) rope used had been just chucked in the back of someone's car, where it got contaminated with battery acid . . .

That was Rex Keane in 1967, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't during an original exploration.
I believe he used a nylon rope which melted due to the heat of the descender.
Malc
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Vintage and classic or just plain Jurassic:
all words to describe me.

Offline paul

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2020, 12:20:51 pm »
Pitlamp:
Quote
There was also that three pronged abseiling device available from at least the early 60s (well before my time)
Wasn't there some poor soul who died abseiling down a deep mine shaft many years ago in the Forest of Dean when his rope broke? I've a feeling that the (hemp?) rope used had been just chucked in the back of someone's car, where it got contaminated with battery acid . . .

That was Rex Keane in 1967, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't during an original exploration.
I believe he used a nylon rope which melted due to the heat of the descender.

Nope - it was a hemp rope:

Quote
Attaching himself to the heavy hemp rope he launched himself into the shaft and 60 ft down disaster struck ! The rope parted
and Rex plunged down the remaining 240 ft to his death,
[snip]
The rope was found to be in a very bad way, Rex had had it for some time and it was discovered that he had kept it in the rear of his Mini at the same time as he was missing the top off his battery, the battery being also in the rear. For descending he used a small crab through which he twisted the rope, this caused the lay of the rope to open and at the first weak spot the rope parted.

From: http://www.zen159313.zen.co.uk/rfdcc/resources/newsletters/Newsletter_035.pdf (THE ROYAL FOREST OF DEAN
CAVING CLUB SEPTEMBER 1971 NEWS LETTER No 35)
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2020, 12:31:38 pm »
Seems to have been popular down under, even before Slanting: https://www.wildplaces.co.uk/descent-21

Apparently Red Rose have a book on it from 1971: B228 - THRUN, Robert - Prusiking

& BCRA had published an article not long after:
Eavis A.J.   1974   The Rope in Single Rope Technique Caving   Vol 1 (4) pp 181 - 198

Bob Thrun was a US caver. His book is very thorough given the existing gear at the time. NSS recently published a book on Bill Cuddington who was doing srt in the early 60s, maybe even 50s. If I remember correctly, Bill and some of his gang were body rappelling into some deep pits and getting pulled out with a winch around the time that he started to convince them to try prusiks.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2020, 12:42:22 pm »
Thanks Kenilworth; I remember when Bob Thrun's book appeared in the UK and I would say it was very influential in the development of SRT here.

Online Fulk

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2020, 12:56:03 pm »
I remember meeting Bob and his girlfriend when they came to the International Congress held at Sheffield many years ago; he was a very amiable, knowledgable guy.

Online mikem

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2020, 02:07:16 pm »
The original (YRC) descent of Meregill was done on a single rope - a length of thick tarred hemp if I remember rightly. There's an excellent account of this in an early Ramblers Journal. (I think it's called "The Seige of Meregill".) But there were no descenders or jammers of course; it was all done hand over hand!
http://www.yrc.org.uk/yrcweb/index.php/journal/vols1-5/volume4/55-no12/204-v4n12p30

Online Fulk

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2020, 02:38:00 pm »
Hi mikem, what an amazing story; I loved this bit:
Quote
I was the first man to be lowered, and by a marvellous fluke managed to keep a candle alight through the splash and spray of the 90 ft. descent.

Interesting that they refer to Alum Pot as Helln Pot.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2020, 03:04:52 pm »
Isn't that due to the Scandinavian origin? Hel was the goddess of the underworld in Norse mythology. Early settlers would have considered a deep pothole like that to be an entrance to hell. I think the original Scandinavian word is thought to have been corrupted (over the >12 Centuries since the Viking invasions began) via "Helln" to "Alun" and / or "Alum".

Hell Hole near Appletreewick was probably also considered as an entry point to the underworld. There's also a Hell Hole in the Bowland caving area.

Online Fulk

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2020, 03:15:25 pm »
Thanks, John. I was more thinking that as late as 1912 it was being refered to as Helln Pot.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2020, 03:17:26 pm »
Yes, that's interesting. Maybe they got the name from what the farmer referred to it as, rather than what was printed on (late Victorian era) Ordnance Survey maps?

Offline langcliffe

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2020, 03:33:26 pm »
In Cave Hunter (1874) Dawkins says: "The very name 'Helln Pot,' = 'Aellan Pot', or Mouth of Hell, testifies to the awe with which the Angles looked down into its recesses. " There is then a footnote which states 'On the Ordnance Maps it is wrongly printed as Alum Pot.'"

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2020, 03:38:34 pm »
Well done Langcliffe.  :thumbsup:

Offline Duck ditch

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2020, 09:41:37 pm »
Thanks Mikem.  Posting the YRC report on the first exploration of Meregill. A superb read. God they were hard in them days.

Online mikem

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Re: SRT and discoveries
« Reply #40 on: April 20, 2020, 09:57:29 pm »
There are still some hard nuts out there, they just have to push the envelope further these days...

Life was altogether harder back then, which meant more people were used to it.

 

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