On the 21st of January 2012, after the Christmas break and (some) exam’s I needed my caving fix and thought I would tag along with Chris and Tom1 for a trip to JH with hope that I might get further than the Leviathan pitch this time, but on the journey there we heard that someone visited it the day before and didn’t want to do the pitch due to obsessive water flowing down the pitch. So me and Tom, being on the trip a couple of  months before and had to end the journey at the same point due to the same reason decided that a trip elsewhere would be more worthwhile. After realising that there weren’t really any decent caves in the area that would be decent in this rain we decided to give suicide cave a visit to teach me some rigging and for Chris to practice his rescue techniques.

On the drive through the valley to the speedwell cavern car park at about 10:30, many walkers were falling over and struggling due to the wind giving us a good laugh at the misfortune of other people. Than Tom parked his car and it started wobbling excessively giving us a sign of the force of nature awaiting us outside. Getting changed wasn’t actually too bad ( tier 2) but the walk up the valley required a decent amount of effort with us arriving at the entrance of suicide cave out of breath even though it was only roughly a 100 meter walk, which did involved a few too many falls.

Upon entering the cave everything felt a lot more calm and peaceful, we quickly arrived at a (the) pitch where I  tied a figure of 8 to make a traverse line to the drop, then had to tie a few butterfly knots which normally required a couple of attempts each, went down slightly on the stop to put a pointless rebelay just over 1 meter down on the opposite rock face which took a bit more faffing than normal but after that we could finally descend to the bottom of the pitch, all 3 meters of it. As the original trip plan was to go to JH, the shortest rope we had was 50 meters,  40 meters of which was resting at the bottom of the pitch.

We were confronted with a few different routes so we put the other 50m rope down and went exploring, a few minutes later we had pretty much explored the cave and found ourselves at the very top of the original pitch, about another 5 meters us, so I went back got the 50m rope, walked back to the top and as we couldn’t be bothered to walk back up here a third time, I rigged it so we could derig using a pull through at the bottom. Descended to the bottom (again) and noticed that the rig in the wall we used for rebelay was probably to rebelay this pitch and that now there was about 80 meters of messy rope covering the floor of the 2 pitches. After collecting some rope and Chris and Tom getting up the 5m pitch, Chris decided to pull me up the pitch for rescue practice. I waited a couple of minutes for him to set up the rig to pull me up, then sat on the rope moved up a couple of meters fairly quickly but they wanted to change the rig a bit to try and simplify things, so I sited patiently waiting for a few minutes, refitted my foot loop, ate a bounty bar, readjusted my foot loop again than stated moving again to the top. After spending just under 2 hours in the 30 minute cave we headed back, suffered another few stumbles outside due to wind, got naked in front of some tourists (standard) and than got some tea before 1pm.

Spent a while in the pub debating on what to do now, with the question “what should we do?” being asked a lot more than any idea’s. In the end we decided to take a walk up a hill towards the titan entrance. After some hailstone, a lot of wind, walking upstream and then even more wind we got to the top of a hill and then headed back down with wind and hailstones simultaneously battering us. met up with Ali for another brew and some cake and talked about people dying (standard), then headed to the tsg chapel and decided we were right not to head to JH after hearing the conditions in peak caverns and by 7 o’clock I was back in Sheffield still suffering from cave withdrawal symptoms but at least with some good knowledge of cave rigging and hopefully a correct sized foot loop.

 

Sam Goodyear