My first trip report! I feel as if after 18 months of caving I’m ready. Tom and I set out to go down JH to White River Passage and back again.

We set off early to arrive at the JH farm where we started to get changed, after putting all of my gear on I realised my first mistake of the day… I’d forgotten the battery pack to my light (bugger!) Tom set about laughing and I made the decision to go caving on my phoenix back up light on the lowest setting (3 lumens sometimes 13) to ensure it lasted all day preferring not to have to swap to my spare battery.

We carried all the rope to the entrance, as tom tied the ‘Y’hang I started been useful by sending the rope down the 50m pitch… to which Tom pointed out  that I had not fed the rope down the centre of the scaffolding I had fed it down the side (Bugger!) It was at this point that we agreed Tom should rig and potentially watch me onto the ropes as this was clearly not my day. Tom abseiled down and I shortly followed him.

The Cartgate passage way is not fun on a good day… it seemed endless whilst caving on all of my 3lumens. I arrived at the top of bitch pitch where tom was waiting… This was my first time down here since the collapse in the summer, there are still some boulders in precarious positions and knowing my luck of the day we weren’t taking our time on the way down. We carried on down the mine and got to the bottom. Pleased that there had been no more cock ups!

We headed down to the stream way and proceeded to walk along it, we were soon ball deep and nipple deep at points (bugger! Though not my doing) we got to the Bung the amount of water going down there was impressive there was no air gap. Tom whipped out his neoprene hood I hadn’t brought mine (Bugger!) instead I pulled my buff over my face. We both manned up and proceeded down the ladder it was FREEZING!

We arrived at Block Hall looking forwards to warming up with all the Prussiking  I headed up first and was very happy to have Tom to follow me up with his nice powerful…light. We crawled through the little passage way whinging as we went and came out in the White River series. We turned left at the end (different) and went to see the heaven passage (very pretty) we followed white river along and got to the ventilator. We rigged up our rope to traverse along the top of the ventilator wanting to avoid the in place rope as it was very gnarly, we went up to the true white river passage took our wellington boots off and went in, it was staggeringly pretty we were both really impressed with what was inside the passage and intend on heading back with the aim of photographing it.

We donned our wellington boots and headed back along White River, back through the crawl, abseiled down block hall, argued at the bottom of the bung which went something along the lines of “Tom cant thy do somethin’ about this er’ deluge?” “If you wanted to change the water you should have come with a different caver” (we had seen the hobbit the night before) eventually manned up, held our breaths and headed back up the bung (again with the unpleasantness!) fought our way up the stream way (nipple deep again) and went to the bottom of JH. I began climbing politely leaving Tom to de-rig. With every muscle aching and cramping I went up the entrance pitch. I waited momentarily for Tom on the Scaffolding bars (my old friends thanks to Rostam) and made it out still in daylight, surprised given how it had started how well the day had gone!