After literally months of not caving, I had such a backlog of psyche that I needed a big ‘ole trip to vent it out on. So when I found out another similarly keen Kent was in the area in need of a vent themselves, I offered to do a quick run to Titan streamway so we could sit by the Event Horizon and excitedly yell “CAAAAAAAAAAAVING” into the void as is traditional for KUCC.

So we went out, entering around midday only to find a second line and another party preparing to go back up at the bottom of first pitch. Having annoyed them with our enthusiasm, we continued on our merry way and went down the second pitch screaming all the verses of hard caver that we knew. 

However, moving into the streamway, we realised that the super high psyche levels were not matched by our fitness levels. After around half an hour, we stopped for a break and spent some time reaffirming how much we love caving. Figuring we didn’t want to exhaust ourselves for the trip back up the 80m pitch, we turned around. 

At the top of the second pitch, I derigged while Elif went on to start on the 50m to the exit. But when I finished up and turned the corner to follow her, I found her still at the bottom, vacantly looking up with slightly less than maximum psyche. Naturally, I was concerned she might be so happy underground I might not convince her to leave. I asked what’s up.

“John, the rope’s not here”

Looking up the entrance shaft, I saw a two things: our rope, caught twenty meters above us on one of the metal wires, and the glinting sunlight of a warm day through the gate above it.

At this point, I began to cycle through the six stages of grief…

SHOCK: Surely the caver who was derigging in the last group wouldn’t have made this mistake? There has to be a rational, obvious explanation! Some cordelette to bring it down? Another rope hidden out of sight?

Obviously, these were stupid ideas.

DENIAL: I can’t believe this happened by accident. Did I rig it stupidly? Perhaps I am at fault? What did I do wrong? Emmott is normally of the opinion that I’m to blame, so that must be the case here too.

However as Elif helpfully pointed out, I’m stupid, but not that stupid.

ANGER: Dammit, based on my callout time and how long it’ll take DCRO to get here, we’ll be in this cave for 7 hours from this point. That’s twice as long as we’ve already been in here! AND I CAN SEE SUNLIGHT. THE ROPE IS TWENTY METERS AWAY.

Happily, I was immediately satiated by the knowledge that I got to spend additional time caving and my psyche returned. 

BARGAINING: Can I solve this problem before the callout? Could I climb that 20m? Could I lob the other 100m up that distance to snag it out? Could I stand on Elif’s shoulders and get her to grow another 16m taller? Maybe stack some rocks from the dig high enough to get out?

As I thought these thoughts, I had a moment of self-realisation in accepting how correct Emmott is about me.

DEPRESSION: Well damn, if I had known this earlier, I could have done MORE CAVING.

ACCEPTANCE…

So Elif and I got to work figuring out how to stay warm and happy for seven hours. We created a bed out of helmets, tackle-sacks and rope, and valiantly cuddled for our lives inside a group shelter. I’d even rate it as my best “cuddling while being rescued” experience to date. 

During our arduous wait, a few moments of interest. We had a brief moment of excitement when a sheep jumped on the gate, causing us to spring out of our cosy cuddle pile in excitement only to get cold and annoyed. From 9-10pm, we enjoyed a party hour (which consisted of some singing and more vigorous shivering) and we watched the sun set through the gate directly above us.

Finally, at 1:05am, after 7 hours of wet, cold, super psyched spooning, we heard the gate open and jumped up to show DCRO/SUSS how mega-happy we were to be in a cave. Unfortunately, after wiggling the rope a little bit, the DCRO guy mistook a chant of “We love caving, we do, ooooh caving we love you” for a celebration of the rope making it to the ground. Next thing I knew, the gate shut and I had to yell to get our rescuer to return and actually lower the whole rope down.

So our little expedition into Titan was over, and we became the most faultless rescuees I imagine DCRO has seen in a while. Great trip, very fun. I love caving. Psyched for Maskhill tomorrow. We do the best sport. Where do I get my “I was rescued by DCRO and all I got was this lousy facebook post” sticker?