Members present: Myself, Thomas Smith, Olly Hall and Adelaide de Deisbach
We departed Sheffield at a reasonable time of 6:15pm with much excitement for the trip ahead. Maskhill has been a trip I have been wanting to do for some time as I have only ever been to West chamber via Oxlow. However, we didn’t get to bottom it, but instead made a good attempt in the process.
A brisk wind meant that it was a bit chilly getting changed into our caving gear but we were soon in our appropriate garments and making our way to the entrance. By the top of the hill I was well heated up for the wait as the others descended down into the nether regions of the Earth.
I was last so got myself clipped in and then shut the lid but realised my descender was the wrong way around which was a faff to sort out in the position I was in. But, none the less I was soon descending myself and with the others.
I ended up descending into some random little side passage at some point but other than that it was a quick descent down into the natural Maskhill. There was a bit of a wait here as the traverse was rigged and the top of the second pitch so me and Adelaide went into a bit of a sing song. Some classics were sung such as “Savez-vous planter les choux” and “Rains of Castamere” before Adelaide descended down.
I carried on humming to myself and then from the depths below great sounds rose, lost voices trying to escape from the hell that they had been forsaken to. It just turned out to be Adelaide shouting.
I was soon heading down and realised Adelaide’s struggle. There was a mid-rope changeover which I think the last time I had experienced one was two years ago. I sat there for a few minutes just figuring out what to do and then it clicked and I was down. A couple more rebelay’s and I was down with everyone else. There were not enough crabs to reach the bottom but enough to do one of the Tyrolean traverse’s.
After a couple of seconds of fun, we had a chocolate break and then was heading back up to the surface. I decided to wait for Adelaide at the top of the mid-rope changeover to make sure things were all okay and she was soon passed so I carried on up to the traverse and waited here again.
Got a bit chilly sat waiting here and started hearing the voice of Adelaide shouting “stupid dickhead”, which I thought she was aiming at me. It was later revealed that she was shouting ‘pitch head’ the whole time.
I waited for Olly to ascend next and took a bag off him for the entrance series. It was a bit of a slow start for me because I managed to bash my hip quite hard as I stepped up after the second rebelay. It didn’t take long to arrive at the lid to find it was a bit heavy due to snow on top of it! I got the lid open and then my light decided to start failing on me but I got myself out and curled up in the snow which was surprisingly comfortable. I waited for Adelaide to appear into the maelstrom that was surrounding me, and I shouted down to let the others know we were starting off for the car, then we made our way to the wall for a bit of defence.
Must say that changing conditions weren’t very pleasant but it did take me back to a very bad memory back in my first year stood in a snowy car park for p8 absolutely frozen and we hadn’t even gone caving yet! I’m glad that memory stays well away * shivers *
10/10 would cave again