Author Topic: D'you nick a Golf?, Monday 2nd February 2009  (Read 1954 times)

Offline Cap'n Chris

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D'you nick a Golf?, Monday 2nd February 2009
« on: February 06, 2009, 11:55:53 am »
Menacer organised this trip to Juniper Gulf, and I was voted in as the rigging monkey - fab! JG had a good write up and I was eager to spring along and enjoy some ropey stuff oop north as it had been quite a while since our last trip. Trouble was that some so-so weather was forecast but we went anyway, on the grounds that we weren't lame Nancies, like the rest of Britain appears to have been for the last few days.

Our Plan A was to drive and park up near Crummock Farm as it was going to be a four bag carry between me and Menacer, plus personal caving kit + SRT gear but at least we weren't bringing the 4 tackle sacks back with us as we were the advance rigging team, with a further five fit and healthy cavers arriving later on who were deployed to sack retrieval duties.

Plan A soon got voided, however, when the road leading to Crummock was too icy for the Peugeot to handle (we could have driven down into a steep valley, easily enough, but that would have been the end of that! So, we hastily retreated and dusted down Plan B which was to park in Clapham and bite the bullet for the long walk up towards GG and across the Allotment that way. Being the only car in the car park wasn't too reassuring but we were soon joined by a smiley friendly chap who parked alongside in his shiney bright Landrover. Menacer quipped "That's what you need in weather like this...", nodding towards his spritely 4x4, and he instantly chirruped, "What are you up to?", so we told him our plight. "No bother, I've got nothing to do for a while, as I wait for my daughter's school group (they were on an outing and he was helping), .... I'll gladly drive you up to the farm... load up your stuff". Brill! - So it was that we got a fabulous ride, courtesy of the marvellous Howard Hinckley (in his private reg landie), all the way up to our principle dropping off point, half the walking distance we had girded ourselves for. I said he'd get a mention in dispatches. Top chap, Howard!

Some fettling of the GPS occurred and we stomped off up the hill.

The white beauty of the Dales, February 2009-02-03

We appeared to have the Allotment to ourselves

Despite a few slips and trips, the walk was eventually over and we were quite toasty for the efforts; the GPS took us directly to the cave, after about 2km, and thus began the rigging once we’d changed out of our surface poor weather gear into our underground kit; a bit of snow gardening revealed some p-bolts and I was off… Grrrrr!

The entrance pitch, plus snowy stream!

The vertical entrance is exactly as described by Mr. Gardiner, “It is an excellent daylight pitch, with attractive fluted rock, and with shrubs, moss, and ferns providing a bit of colour. After a couple of metres, the shaft widens out, and the preliminary grovel over the edge turns into a pleasant free hang…. The rope lands on a shingle bank in the streambed. Upstream, the water can be seen falling from some narrow rifts; downstream, some large wedged boulders form cascades that can be awkward to climb back up. Beyond the cascades, the rift narrows as it goes underground”.

We stashed our waterproof sack containing our dry clothing, hanging on a flake, at the bottom of the pitch, and set off, one bag down, on the slippy ice-coated boulders, leading to the traverses and darkness. Obvious bolts and good naturals provide quick going, apart from an awkward section where the rift widens and some acrobatics on my part were required but that little hurdle was rapidly negotiated and the rigging of the traverse line for the others was quickly despatched, wherepon the dry second pitch was reached; it has a cosy start but soon opens, landing at a watery gulley and the continuing traverse which was far nicer than the descriptions would have you imagine. Pitch three is a lovely little number, but with a narrow pinched take off, quickly opening to a fabulous free hang, and at the base instantly leads a more impressive traverse over a classic deep trench, with the echoing waterfall at pitch four giving an inspiring background ambience.

Traversing below pitch three, leading to the monster pitch ahead!....

The traverse leads to an awkward manoeuvre over an upright boulder blocking the passage, which momentarily bars access to the fine aspect of the final pitch ledge, a sharp drop away from the right hand wall, with a fine 45m free hang alongside the waterfall.

Again, quoting from John Gardener’s description of the cave: “Looking up, we realise that the route that we have been following has entered the shaft part way down - the walls soar upwards for at least 30 metres, and a stream emerges from somewhere out of sight. This is thought to be the stream last seen in Juniper Cave - what a final shaft would result if that through exploration were to be made! Below us, can be heard the stream we have been following, falling into the depths.

By following a ledge round to the right, a rope can be belayed to a couple of bolts, and a descent made for half a dozen metres down the wall, to just below the lip of the ledge's funnel. From here, a final belay drops one into the shaft proper - 45 metres of free-hanging pitch down the centre of a massive rift at least 30 metres long, with clean beautifully fluted rock on either side. About 15 metres away, the main waterfall accompanies us - an impressive sight, especially in wet conditions. The descent of this shaft is an experience to savour”.

Me humping the awkward boulder (it’s an overhang, which you can’t discern from the photo).

Rigging the approach traverse on the ledge overlooking the final impressive pitch

Returning up the fine third pitch.

Clambering up the icy cascades  approaching the final pitch to daylight, nice and toasty but soon to return to the frozen wasteland of the Allotment.

Menacer during a brief moment of uprightedness, on the return hike

« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 10:00:48 am by cap 'n chris, Reason: removal of the word \"soon\" three times! Repetition is my forte! »


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