Author Topic: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!  (Read 1425 times)

Offline Pegasus

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Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« on: November 15, 2020, 09:28:56 pm »
WIN 2 PAIRS OF SEALSKINZ SOCKS!!



Following on from this thread:

https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=27196.msg332304;topicseen#new

I've had a rummage and found 2 pairs of Sealskinz socks as prizes for a quick competition  ;D
(Both size medium - ideal Christmas presents if your feet aren't a medium!)

To enter, tell us any tale on the subject of 'cold feet'....

I'll select a shortlist and then it's over to random.org.

Just a bit of fun  ;D ;D

Entries in by 10pm Sunday 22nd November please.

Good luck!!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 02:46:40 pm by Pegasus, Reason: Deadline brought forward \'cos I\'m impatient :) »

Offline Badlad

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2020, 08:05:32 am »
My feet are cold just thinking about all the times my feet have been cold. 

One of the worse was down Lost Johns.  At the time I was a young tiger and out to impress my companion that day the legendary Mike Boon.  I was wearing normal walking socks as I had got quite used to just doing SRT trips.  Mike, of course, insisted on going all the way to the sump and my feet just froze to a couple of stumps with no sensation from the knee down.  I blithered from side to side in some distress back to the pitches all the while pretending to Mike there was nothing wrong.  He never said a word about my struggles and I wondered if he even noticed.  I vowed not to make that mistake again but of course I have.
 ;)


Offline Duncan Price

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2020, 08:52:46 am »
After my first trip down Daren Cilau in 1985 to the White Company & back.  I got there from Mendip riding pillion on my mate's motorbike.  I wore my caving wellies for the journey to save weight.  They were wet through for the trip home and my feet were frozen by the time I got back to Somerset.

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2020, 09:28:19 am »
A big mistake I made was after a New Year trip up to Great Douk in the evening where I forgot socks and had to choose no socks caving or no socks after caving.  We were staying over so I thought Great Douk is only an hour, I'll be fine for that long.  There was enough water out the resurgence to fill my boots but popping out the top we were greeted to a pretty decent snow shower walking down the down hill I was starting to struggle in that I couldn't tell if my feet were on the ground flat and I went over a couple times obviously once into a flipping iced over puddle that drenched and covered me in crud.

By the time we got into the Hill Inn my feet were just not there, I could see them, a pale blue and blistering but I couldn't feel them at all until I sat too close to the fire in the pub and found the sensation of feeling coming back was excruciating. I couldn't believe how cold I'd got on such a short trip.  I lost both big toe nails, probably more to do with the steelies I was wearing but flip flops were an ugly sight for a fair few months after that.



Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2020, 09:33:12 am »
After my first trip down Daren Cilau in 1985 to the White Company & back.  I got there from Mendip riding pillion on my mate's motorbike.  I wore my caving wellies for the journey to save weight.  They were wet through for the trip home and my feet were frozen by the time I got back to Somerset.

I did exactly the same as Duncan but in one of our caves in the Dales and it was my own motorbike I was riding back to the cotton mill town in Lancashire where I lived. During the trip it had snowed a bit and things were grim on the road that night. I'd also worn my caving wellies with no spare footwear but mine had steel toecaps. It's the nearest I've ever come to getting frostbite.

Online nobrotson

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2020, 10:24:08 am »
I seem to get cold feet much more easily than most, and it's affected me from a young age. When I was 11 my family and I were cycling across northern Italy to get to the Slovenian Alps. It rained for a week solid, and we'd packed for summer cycling. I regularly lost all feeling in my feet which makes it feel like you have become a mere extension of the bicycle. We would stop in cafes to warm up every now and then, and in need of a hot drink but not liking hot chocolate (strange child) I started drinking coffee. And so began a life-changing addiction which continues to this day.

When I started getting into fell running last winter, I entered a race called the Marmot Dark Mountains Marathon with fellow caver Emmott (there was strong caver representation at the event: apparently a certain mindset is necessary to enjoy slogging in the dark of the north Welsh hills on a January night). I actually bought some of these Sealskinz socks for the race, and they were extremely effective until about 4 hours in when I lost any semblance of nervous communication with my extremities. The terrain was quite aqueous, in the nature of extreme bog-trotting. I was glad the conditions were pretty mild for the time of year; if it had snowed I doubt we would have finished, or maybe even started. You can read about that more on my blog if you're interested.

Finally, when caving I've been very cold many times (especially when caving in the Dales), and it usually starts with my feet. I got into the habit of wearing two pairs of wetsocks when caving in the Dales, but after only really caving in Austria in 2019 I'd largely forgotten why this was as there is no reason to get involved with any water out there. Not long ago, Peachey, Brendan and I had a trip into Langcliffe Pot to continue removing rubbish from the cave. We'd hoped to go to the camp beyond Nemesis but water levels in the Nemesis choke were very high making some of the way through the choke nearly impassable so we retreated. I'd forgotten about the double wetsocks rule and was wearing canyoning boots as I thought they'd be a better choice than my totally flat-soled wellies (I never buy wellies but instead inherit them; currently I have Botch's old ones. This saves money but also means you have to learn to compensate for zero grip). This was a poor choice as my feet turned into very unwieldy lumps of flesh encased in highly inflexible rubber casings (wellies at least bend if necessary), which caused some displeasure renegotiating the squeeze back into Boireau Falls Chamber and quite a lot of tripping over myself in Langstrothdale Chase. Peachey had himself forgotten his wellies (still not really an adult), and was wearing steel toe-capped work boots with Sealskin socks. He had similar issues with inflexible footwear in the squeeze going in the other direction, with Brendan having to excavate one of his feet from below after it got jammed in a crevice. He seemed to fair better on the temperature front though.

I was driving on this trip, and I've only recently obtained a license. Not being able to feel my feet still, my clutch control on the way home was not good. I neglected to remember that cars have specific heaters for your feet, which would have helped.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2020, 10:39:45 am by nobrotson »
the man is mentally ill. I have seen him eat a plastic pie.

Online nobrotson

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2020, 10:25:49 am »
My feet are cold just thinking about all the times my feet have been cold.

Yes this thread hasn't helped with that. I can feel nausea rising from the pit of my stomach thinking about cold times in caves now.
the man is mentally ill. I have seen him eat a plastic pie.

Online PeteHall

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2020, 10:39:30 am »
New Year's day 2010, I decided to take my new girlfriend on our first lunch "date", to the Miners Arms in Nenthead. Since I'd recently got some fairly chunky tyres on my Land Rover, I decided to take the back roads through Rookhope, Allenheads and Coalcleaugh. For those unfamiliar with these roads, the first is generally wide enough for two cars to pass and meanders gently up to a summit on the border of County Durham and Northumberland. The road then drops fairly steeply down to Allenheads. From here the road via Coalcleugh is single track and crosses a couple crests and valleys before dropping down to Nenthead.

The first road had been ploughed the day before, but the snow had blown over night into deep soft drifts. Keeping a steady speed, the Land Rover punched through these drifts quite easily. Everything went dark for a few seconds, then we popped out as the wipers struggled to clear the windscreen. At the summit, the wind had kept the route between the piled walls of snow fairly clear and we had a spectacular journey through a snow "tunnel", meeting the days snow plough coming up the hill the other side.

Enthused by the success of the first summit, we pushed on, onto the single track road out of Allenheads. This had been ploughed up the hill to the last farm, where the tractor and plough clearly lived. From here, the Land Rover was the plough.

The further we got, the more committed we were, or rather, the more committed I was; I'd got us into this and I had to get us back out of it! Past the first crest and the going got a little easier but a little more intimidating; while the snow was only a couple of feet deep and nice loose powder, it was a smooth and featureless expanse, leaving only the marker posts to guide the path across the fell. The danger here was the unknown edge of the road, hidden in the soft powder snow was a solid wall of ice where the road had previously been ploughed.

Descending into one of the valleys, my nightmares materialised as I felt the front left wheel crunch into the ice wall. Unable to back out as I was pointing downhill and unable to move forwards due to the wall of ice, this was a very worrying situation.

My legs were already soaked to the skin and boots full of snow from previous digging to make progress, but this was going to take a lot more work and there was absolutely no chance of turning back. Armed with a pick and shovel, I set to work; digging away at the snow and ice, returning to the cab to try to move, back out to dig some more. Again and again, slowly digging out underneath the Land Rover and slowly inching out of the ice and back into the powder snow. Hands and feet slowly loosing all feeling, turning to icy stumps hacking away at the snow.

Eventually we got free and by some good fortune, managed to avoid further major incident, passing only one vehicle, buried solid under the snow. A stark reminder of what could have happened to us if we'd not been so lucky. Despite my desire to keep momentum, I got out one last time and dug through to the car window to check nobody was inside.

Finally, about 4pm if I remember, we arrived at the Miners Arms to thaw out by the fire and enjoy a well earned (rather late) lunch.  :beer2:

We took the main road home...

Despite the slightly shaky start to our relationship, a few years later she said yes and we've been married since. The Land Rover hasn't fared so well and after stripping everything worth keeping, I scrapped the shell last year, but not before I'd found a replacement  ;D

Suffice to say, dry feet would have been one less thing to worry about!  ;D
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Offline Fulk

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2020, 10:43:24 am »
Not so much cold feet as cold everything.
Many years ago I attended a Gritstone Club annual dinner held at a pub in Swaledale in the middle of winter, when the younger members of the club camped in about 6 inches of snow on the banks of the Swale, which at that point was quite wide and deep. The morning after the dinner a friend challenged me to swim across the river and back, and bet me £5 that I wouldn’t/couldn’t. So I went to get my wet-suit, and my friend stipulated that I was not allowed to wear it, but I had to do it in swimming trunks only . . . I was stupid enough to agree, but in my defence, I might remark that in those days, the purchasing power of a fiver was probably more like that of at least £50 – or much more – now (‘when I were a lad’ and started drinking, you could get 12 pints of beer for a quid). So we decided that if I did two widths, he’d give me £5; if I wimped out I’d give him £5; and if I got in, fully submerged, and got out without completing the two widths honour would be satisfied and the bet declared null and void.
So I jumped in, swam there and back . . . and emerged feeling absolutely chilled to the marrow of my bones; walking in the snow on my frozen feet was excruciating, and I needed help to get dressed. Fortunately for me some of the older members of the club were staying in the pub overnight and they got permission for me to go inside and sit in front of a roaring fire – but it took a good two hours before my temperature was back to normal.
PS – my friend never did cough up the money!

Online scurve

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2020, 12:51:08 pm »
My story of cold feet is from the morning of my wedding, in Matienzo, two years ago.


With the ceremony not taking place until evening, the bride, groom and the majority of the wedding guests were able to manage some caving on the big day. Needless to say, I did not go to the same cave as my betrothed; one must maintain a certain level of tradition on such occasions.

One of the guests - Silly old Dan - had apparently decided that Spanish caves were basically like beaches on the Costa del Sol, as he turned up in a pair of sandals. However much we tried to persuade him that Reñada has quite a muddy entrance series and he really ought to wear wellies, he just would not budge. 

After traversing several pools where Dan was repeatedly warned to "mind the wet patch", we carried on through the unavoidably aquatic Blowhole. Not content with asking me ON THE DAY OF MY WEDDING why I had broken up with my ex, as in his opinion we had been a good couple, Dan then decided he needed to be escorted out of the cave as his feet were turning blue. A small group of us thus had to cut our trip short, in order to take him back to the Spanish sunshine. His cold feet had caused us to turn back just before the wonderfully decorated Stuffed Monk Gallery. To compare this to a British caving trip, we had gone through the Tidal Sump in Otter Hole, but turned back before the Hall of Thirty.

When the underground part of the day was over, we all met up at the Baker's Bar for drinks and tapas; then a cake with our picture on it was brought out and the race was on to see who could eat my face.

I'll give Alex Sheppard one of the pairs of socks if this wins.

Offline Goydenman

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2020, 03:46:50 pm »
We were once helped out in one of our digs by a gang from a university club. Part way through the dig one of the guys said (after working very hard) that he was going as his feet were a bit cold as he pulled off his wellies to empty out the water. To our surprise he had bare feet! When asked why he said 'I forgot me wet socks so I chose to come like this so I a have something to change into when I get back to the car'

Offline Brains

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2020, 04:05:55 pm »
On a Peak Cavern tourist trip many years ago, a guy turned up having forgotten his socks. As above he opted for the barefoot option, but also failed to ask if anyone had spares at the Chapel. He did the standard tourist stuff, but due to the cold he couldnt feel his feet. Back at the chapel it looked like his feet had been attacked with a sander! The inevitable sand and silt that got in had shredded his feet, like a pair of raw steaks! He refused dressings but put his dry shoes and socks on to go home. Never saw him again, but reckon his socks would need soaking off when he got home. I would suggest going home without socks having worn the only pair underground would have been better...

Online nobrotson

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2020, 07:35:03 pm »
We were once helped out in one of our digs by a gang from a university club. Part way through the dig one of the guys said (after working very hard) that he was going as his feet were a bit cold as he pulled off his wellies to empty out the water. To our surprise he had bare feet! When asked why he said 'I forgot me wet socks so I chose to come like this so I a have something to change into when I get back to the car'

That was Rowan Scott. I was on that trip and remember it well. It was the first time we (ULSA) came digging with you guys. You had a big bag to catch all the water that should have been flowing into the passage. We were lying in the sump passage at Telegraph Aven removing silt from the far end! I definitely got cold that day. Also Mike Butcher turned up later with a flatcap on as he'd forgotten his helmet. We came across just as you'd expect university cavers to: hungover, disorganised and very pleased to find that the day ended in an excellent pub, the Crown in Middlesmoor.

Back when Rowan used to still do stupid things like caving, you wouldn't see him in there now.
the man is mentally ill. I have seen him eat a plastic pie.

Offline ian.p

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2020, 09:44:44 pm »
Back in 2010 I ended up on an expedition supporting a diving project led by Martin Groves to Castleguard cave in Canada. Getting to the cave involved a long days snow shoeing and sledge hauling over the Columbian ice field. To get to the sump we were helping Martin dive in you didn’t need to get your feet wet, so I went with only one set of boots to cave and snow shoe in. Being an impoverished student who had just spent all his money on flights to Calgary those boots where a pair of Hi Tech Quebec’s (the cheapest leather boots you could buy, about £40 a pair if memory serves). During the expedition we ended up doing a sport trip into the main cave which involves 4 pools one of which requires a waist deep wade…..
I had to defrost my boots over the stove in the mornings to soften them enough to get my feet into for the remainder of the trip and needless to say I kicked the toes through on my boots so I was quite nervous about the snow shoe out at the end of the trip, poor weather could have easily resulted in frost bite, fortunately the weather was fine on the day we left and I got back with all my toes chilly but intact.
 

Offline ian.p

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2020, 10:15:24 pm »
On another ocasion i went up to place dye detectors in Leck Beck Head to check for background contamination ahead of a BCRA field meet where we were conducting a dye trace of shep pot. 
It was winter (i think february) I didnt have a car at the time so i planned to get the train out and cycle up from clapham station. On my way to Leeds train station my chain snapped and i had to stop of to repair it meaning i missed my intended train and arived at clapham several hours later than intended. Really heavy rain then rolled in as i was cycling up the farm tracks towards the rising, it got dark so i aborted and retreated to ingleton for the night where fortunatly Mike Bottomley and Steph Dwyer put me up for the night.
The next day i opted to try again given the heavy rain the previous day i decided to cycle up to Bull pot farm and walk in from there rather than cycle up the valley. As i got to Bull pot farm it began to snow, undeterred i headed on down to Leck Beck Head. Ariving at the rising i took my boots of rolled up my trousers legs to the knee and got into the pool at the resurgence to install the detectors....the water came up to just above my knees and soaked my trouser legs.
Detectors installed i headed back to bull pot farm to collect my bike. By now there was a thick coating of snow on the road out from bull pot and i opted to push my bike most of the way back to main road. once on the main road the road was cyclable but every car that passed hurled a dowsing of snowy slush and grit over me. By the time i reached clapham station i was saturated and freezing cold,I then found i had a good hour or so to wait for the train. I realised i was in trouble i didnt have any spare cloaths so i had to strip of all my wet cloaths and get into my sleeping bag in the platform shelter it was then just a case of timing how long i could leave it to put my cloaths back on before the train arived!

Offline ian.p

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2020, 10:37:46 pm »
As a teenager i was invovled with the shepton dig at gibbets brow. Sometimes id get a lift up with Ed waters but a lot of the time id hitch up. I used cut down ankle hight wellingtons because they were lighter to carry. On one occasion just after J rat had deployed a substantial amount of chemical persuasion in the cave we went in to clear spoil.
I had forgoten a second pair of socks and i didnt fancy having to hitch home the following morning without socks so i jammed some bits of carry mat we had spare down the sides of my wellies and of we went. two hours later with wellingtons full of gravel from the blast debris and feet that didnt hurt only becasue they were completly numb i regreted that choice.

I really think this is the sort of competition i might be able to win....

Online PeteHall

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2020, 10:48:12 pm »
I really think this is the sort of competition i might be able to win....

I think you are right! If you don't win, we're going to have to buy you some neoprene socks!
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Offline Judi Durber

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2020, 11:11:40 pm »
Quote from: ian.p on Today at 10:37:46 pm
Quote
I really think this is the sort of competition i might be able to win....

Especially as he features in nobrotson story too   :lol: :lol:

Posted by: nobrotson « on: Today at 10:24:08 am »
Quote
Peachey had himself forgotten his wellies (still not really an adult),
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life waiting for us.

Offline aricooperdavis

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2020, 09:48:32 am »
Sam Richards once told a few of our novices that wetsocks are great because they keep your feet so much warmer. They didn't realise that he meant wetsuit socks, so filled a teapot up with warm water and decanted it into their wellies just before a trip to make their socks warm and wet. 5 minutes into waiting on the surface in the falling snow and they were looking daggers at him  :lol:

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2020, 09:55:25 am »
Sam Richards once told a few of our novices that wetsocks are great because they keep your feet so much warmer. They didn't realise that he meant wetsuit socks, so filled a teapot up with warm water and decanted it into their wellies just before a trip to make their socks warm and wet. 5 minutes into waiting on the surface in the falling snow and they were looking daggers at him  :lol:

Hahahahahahahahahahaha   :thumbsup:

That is hilarious.

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2020, 02:46:04 pm »
I am bringing the deadline forward for this competition to this Sunday 22nd November at 10am (Because I have another competition all ready to go  ;D) - so if you have a tale about cold tootsies, best get writing!!

...and thank you to all those who have entered so far  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:, made entertaining reading  :coffee: :coffee:....brrrrrrrrr.....

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2020, 05:48:43 pm »
A few years ago I helped Dr Wrong with a dive in a slate mine in mid wales. A great little place for the dry caver, with one or two galleries, but with a few bottles to carry it made for sweaty but dry work, so carrying the bottles in normal clothes was possible (as far as I remember) but I took my wellies for good measure splitting them from my normal caving gear. After the trip we threw all the kit back into Dr Wrong's car and then shuttled back to my car so that we could go our separate ways.

Having no plans to use my wellies for another week, i left them in Dr Wrong's car and got on with whatever I was doing that afternoon, I think driving out of llangollen I got distracted by cliffs of limestone and ended up driving through the single track roads through Esclusham Mountain and down to Minera.

The week after following some PM's and posts on UKC, I found myself back in North Wales on a trip into a mine level with a local fanatic called Mike. what a trip we had planned, I again left my car behind and jumped into his van never having met the guy before.
 We get to where we were getting changed and I empty my bag, then I shuffle the stuff I've emptied around the floor a little, look under the bag i've just emptied it all from. place all the gear back in the bag and take it all out again. Nope, No wellies!

I'm there stood in some cheap trainers I bought a couple of weeks before thinking hmm what do I do now... I know I'll be wading, but how bad can it be. I mutter something under my breath and admit to Mike who I'd met not half an hour previously, that I didn't have my wellies on me so I'll have to wear the trainers!

By this point Mike must have been thinking who IS this muppet I've agreed to take on a trip.

Still we made our way down the mine past the ladders and assorted bits and pieces that Mike and co have put down this mine, the handiwork is great! We soon get down to the level, and Yeh what a mine level it is, quite wide with space for a boat on one side, and if memory serves me right, the water was between knee and ankle depth nearly all the way. perfect welly territory! Ah well.

Still muppetman carried on the trip, thankfully muppet's feet at this point were not freezing as he just had to keep moving.

On getting out of the mine, there was no option but to put on dry socks and wet shoes for the drive back to the Derbyshire hills, surprisingly wet and cold feet for a June or July evening. Then began the task of trying to get the shoes dry (the only pair of footwear I had on me!), first by putting them in the club drying room while I wandered round in damp socks. Then wearing them to try and dry them out with my body heat, being cheap trainers they absorb water and dirt into the fabric of the shoe.

Finally by Tuesday I think they were touch dry, and I noticed that wherever I was going I was being followed by a duet of tiny out of tune trumpets. squeak squeak!...squeak squeak!
 I wore these shoes for another couple of months, as they were not too old by that point and had plenty of serviceable life left in them, I was surprised one day to find that one of the pair of shoes had mysteriously disappeared from my car. So I can only assume that though the shoes had a few more months of life in them, people I know did not have months worth of squeak tolerance! ;)

Offline CavingPig

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2020, 02:07:07 am »
Where do I start? I get cold easily. I’ve been cold on many occasions underground – some would go as far as to say most. I have a safeword for if I’m feeling particularly chilly while caving – I mutter “Penguin!” and one or other of my well-trained friends will usually come and huddle. I had to use a foil blanket in anger in Borneo.

There’s the Swinsto pullthrough one snowy New Year’s Eve, where my toes were already numb in the entrance crawl and I couldn’t feel below my knees by the time we got to the split pitch. The time I didn’t actually get down Eldon Hole because I didn’t think my hands would work, so I just sat wrapped in a foil blanket by the stake we'd rigged off while the others went and had fun. Every Short Round I ever do.

But these are mere shivers in the great caving trip of life.

A few years ago, a Polish student from one of my caving clubs decided he would like a taster of caving in his home country, so he contacted various clubs until one of them agreed to let us tag us along – and so the long weekend in the Tatras was born. The caving we would be doing was going to be broadly similar to Yorkshire potholing, except the temperature underground would be 3 degrees. Fine, I thought – I’ve caved in the Alps, just stay dry and pack a balaclava.

A 6 am flight and a supermarket spree later, myself, Haydon and Radost had been packaged into a small hatchback with Jakub (the only member of the club who could speak enough English to be trusted with us) and were headed for a hut not far from Zakopane. Upon arrival we were introduced to Soplica (a brand of vodka that comes in many delicious fruity flavours) and informed that “This is a national park, so we aren’t allowed to walk to the caves in caving gear. Everything needs to go in your rucksack, and please try to look like a tourist... Here are some crampons, and this is your ice axe.” At that point in my life, I’d never even held an ice axe, let alone used one, so getting to the cave entrance the next day was a bit of a steep learning curve. Bit of a steep mountainside too, for that matter. But we found the right hole, and got changed among the icicles adorning the entrance chamber (you can probably see where this is going…), then set off into the darkness.

We made our way downward, then upward for a bit (it seems the Polish love a good mid-trip aid-climb and detest fixed aids in caves, unless displaying horrendous amounts of galvanic corrosion), and across some fairly exciting traverses. We admired mud formations and stretched catlike around some pools to a bit of the cave I was informed was called “The Nest of the Golden Duck”. Visions of cave pearls as big as eggs soon evaporated – what lay before me was instead a replica of Swildon’s Sump 1, but tighter, and with a silty, gravelly bottom.

I was already pretty chilly, robustly hungover from my induction into Polish drinking culture, and I hadn’t been expecting a wet trip. But our new friends’ boots were rapidly disappearing through the murky water, so I gave myself a pep talk, took a deep breath and thrashed my way through … to find that the way on was waist deep wading as far as the eye could see. Reader, I cried. However, this only served to make Haydon even more gleeful at my abject misery vis a vis the situation, so after a bit of a sniffle, I decided that as I was thoroughly soaked now anyway, I might as well keep going and not give him the satisfaction. The “very beautiful sump” that was the aim of our trip involved a wriggle up a very long chimney and a bit more SRT, both of which were complicated by the fact that my legs might as well have been wooden stumps. The Golden Duck grit had also found its way into every conceivable moving part of everyone’s metalwork, so we had to spend quite a long time sucking it out, the plentiful water supply having buggered off by this point. The sump, once gained, was alright I suppose – not very big, but quite blue. And then it was time to survive it all in reverse.

Entrance regained, I was exceptionally glad of those dry hiking clothes to change into before commencing the icy three-hour trek back to civilisation. I was even gladder of the wild strawberry vodka and smoked cheese awaiting me by the fire in the hut, and the feeling had started to come back to my toes by the second round. It usually does.

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2020, 10:41:31 am »
My third ever caving trip when I was a new student caver, after the obligatory Long Churn and Bar Pot ventures, was White Scar Cave. Having no SRT, our club had judged this an excellent option for a large number of freshers equipped with ancient and ineffective fleece undersuits and wetsocks that were more hole than neoprene (and were wet from the off from trips the weekend before).

We merrily stomped through the showcave looking forward to a couple of hours of glorious streamway. Turns out there’s a deep lake to cross. Who knew! Our experienced leaders (who were in wetsuits... turn out they knew) led us into the lake, but with zero thermal protection, the shrieks must have reverberated through the show cave, making anxious tourists wonder what was in store for them.

Miraculously, as many students emerged from the lake as what went in, freezing and miserable. Most seemed to warm back up as they stomped down the river passage, but once I get to that state of cold, warming back up requires a warm radiator and a steaming cup of tea. I waddled down the stream passage, barely able to stand up due to the agonising cold in my feet.

A few of the leaders took pity and handed me their neoprene gloves and a balaclava, which addressed my immediate cold, but I had no choice but to turn back.

Clearly this trip was terribly irresponsible, and the club has certainly learned from such things. However, it gave me an understanding for the hazards associated to getting cold in a cave, and a life-long appreciation for good quality kit (I believe that the weekend after I was spending my student loan at Bernies). Moreover, I have never since taken warm feet for granted!
York Caving Club

Offline MarkS

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Re: Win two pairs of Sealskinz Socks!!
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2020, 10:54:33 am »
I'm quite enjoying reading these stories, but am I the only person whose feet don't really seem to get cold? :shrug: I'm not sure I can remember any trips that would qualify as an entry for this!

 

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