Author Topic: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot  (Read 1113 times)

Offline langcliffe

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Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« on: May 13, 2020, 10:54:57 pm »
This photograph purports to be in Alum Pot. It was probably taken just after the war. It shows a lady climbing a substantial iron ladder up a pitch. The only possible candidate is Dolly Tubs, and I have never heard of there ever being an iron ladder on Dolly Tubs.

I think that the photograph may have been mislabelled, and that it could be the iron ladder on the Lancaster Hole entrance pitch (those of us longer in the tooth will remember the start of it leaning against the bottom of the pitch, and various fragments of it dotted round and about further up).

There are other photographs in the set from Lancaster Hole - in particular the Colonnades, so it is not out of the question, although it is adjacent to three from Long Churn and Alum.

Does anyone have any views, or remember the shape of the rock she is climbing past?

Offline damian

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2020, 07:29:00 am »
Could it be the chamber above the short climb before the Dolly Tubs pitch (thus bypassing the ascending rift)?

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2020, 08:26:15 am »
Could it be the chamber above the short climb before the Dolly Tubs pitch (thus bypassing the ascending rift)?

It could be - but it looks a little high for that.

Having had another look at the photograph, I was wondering whether the pale blob in the right lower corner could be the ledge system along one which one can approach the Lancaster Hole entrance shaft?

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2020, 09:21:00 am »
The caver looks fairly muddy, so unlikely to be in Alum Pot / Long Churn.
But there's something familiar about that spot; I'll ponder . . .

Offline MarkS

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2020, 09:40:51 am »
FWIW, here are a few recent-ish photos of the bottom of the Lancaster entrance pitch for comparison. I'm not really sure if they help or not, but having dug them out then I thought I may as well post them!


Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2020, 09:51:27 am »
FWIW, here are a few recent-ish photos of the bottom of the Lancaster entrance pitch for comparison. I'm not really sure if they help or not, but having dug them out then I thought I may as well post them!

I find the middle shot very convincing. The fluting on the right seems to me to be the same, and the general angles of the rock just above there, and to the right are similar as well. I'm now confident that it is Lancaster Hole, and a rarish shot of someone climbing the iron ladder. Interestingly, I can't see a lifeline on the caver, but then we used to shin up and down the iron ladders in Fall Pot without lifelines.

Thank you, MarkS.

Offline grahams

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2020, 11:31:53 am »
I think you're right Lancliffe. My memory is that the Lancaster ladder was in a couple of sections with a slight bend at the joint. The joint can be seen 3 rungs above her hands.
Sceptics wanted!

Online Fulk

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2020, 12:25:15 pm »
I agree, it's probably Lancaster Hole; I remember the scrappy bits of iron ladder at the bottom of the entrance pitch, which gave you a bit of a start to get to your own (electron) ladder – made it a bit easier – but I've never seen or heard of iron ladders in Alum Pot.

Offline cavingbiker

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2020, 12:50:28 pm »
Has the photgraph been re-labelled, because it clearly says Lancaster Hole!

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2020, 01:02:51 pm »
Has the photgraph been re-labelled, because it clearly says Lancaster Hole!

Yes - I relabelled it having seen MarkS's photograph.

Offline Redmire

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2020, 01:30:12 pm »
John, here's one of the entrance pitch in Lancaster Hole from a slightly different angle. The photo was taken in the early 1970s.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2020, 01:36:39 pm »
John, here's one of the entrance pitch in Lancaster Hole from a slightly different angle. The photo was taken in the early 1970s.

That's how I remember it! The ladder is less steep in your photograph, but it is undoubtedly the same place. That first 20' on the iron ladder saved a lot of energy...

Offline mikem

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2020, 01:58:25 pm »
This is an interesting read, it mentions the ladders being fitted (from railway signal boxs) & the top sections removed, but doesn't tell us the years (& the first photo includes a lady in a skirt):
http://www.rrcpc.org.uk/easegill/text/Early_explore.htm

CRG Trans includes pic of those at Fall Pot:
https://www.abebooks.co.uk/first-edition/Lancaster-Hole-Ease-Gill-Caverns-Casterton/30128025911/bd

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2020, 04:12:07 pm »
This is an interesting read, it mentions the ladders being fitted (from railway signal boxs) & the top sections removed, but doesn't tell us the years

The iron ladders were installed on the entrance shaft on 13th and 14th September 1947.

The lady in the picture of the Colonnades is Christine Rawling.

I think that the lady in the archive photograph may be Kathie Gilbert, who first identified Kath's Way as a possible route, but there is no way to be sure.

Offline mikem

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2020, 04:19:57 pm »
"shew" in 2nd paragraph!

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2020, 04:22:12 pm »
"shew" in 2nd paragraph!

What's wrong with that?

Offline mikem

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2020, 04:28:28 pm »
Well, I suppose it is referring to 70 years ago...

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2020, 04:30:19 pm »
Well, I suppose it is referring to 70 years ago...

I don't have a portable telephone, either.

Offline mikem

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2020, 04:35:18 pm »

Offline Duck ditch

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2020, 04:38:41 pm »
Great link to Kathie Gilbert.  I had heard that story before but not read anything before.

You used to climb up the iron ladder then clip into the lifeline when you reached the electrons.  Well I did anyway.

Offline darkdescender

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2020, 12:58:55 pm »

One of me climbing a rope ladder, bottom of Lancaster, early '50's. Around the time of the 'Yorkshire key'  :ang:

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2020, 02:56:45 pm »
One of me climbing a rope ladder, bottom of Lancaster, early '50's. Around the time of the 'Yorkshire key'  :ang:

We now have photos in this thread depicting the main ways of negotiating Lancaster Hole entrance shaft used over the last 70+ years: iron ladder, rope ladder, electron ladder, and SRT. I think that is fabulous!

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2020, 03:34:22 pm »
(& the first photo includes a lady in a skirt):

I have been corrected by someone who is just a little older but a lot more knowledgeable than I am, that the lady in the photograph was Christine Rawdin. My copy of the photograph is wrongly captioned. Apologies for having propagated an alternative truth.

Offline JasonC

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2020, 07:31:41 pm »
This is an interesting read, it mentions the ladders being fitted (from railway signal boxs) ...
http://www.rrcpc.org.uk/easegill/text/Early_explore.htm


It is an interesting read!  It makes the shenanigans at a certain Welsh cave look tame in comparison.

Offline Allan

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2020, 07:46:58 pm »
Ah more fake news.
Seriously though, do we have a picture of Kath Gilbert (nee Bingham) in the archive?

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Iron Ladder in Alum Pot
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2020, 09:08:53 pm »
Ah more fake news.
Seriously though, do we have a picture of Kath Gilbert (nee Bingham) in the archive?

Only the one here

 

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