Given how many people have been saying they really want to do Titan now it’s back open, I was quite surprised that this trip ended up being only me and Jethro. Usefully though, this did make for a swift departure from Sheffield, allowing us to get to Hitch and Hike and pick up the key before they closed.
Soon we were changed and walking over to the entrance in a completely un-forecast gorgeously sunny evening. A bit of fiddling with the new lid and Jethro got on with rigging the entrance pitch while I worked out how to keep the key without strangling myself; I really need to patch my oversuit pockets.
Once we were both down the entrance, I caught up with Jethro at the breakthrough window. Both of us were sufficiently distracted by the single massive anchor that it took us a minute to spot the normal bolts that are positioned to allow the rope to hang nicely down the pitch. Confusion over, Jethro vanished down into the darkness, and eventually “Rope Free” echoed back up the chasm.
I set off down the rope, very glad to have a Scurion instead of the club Pixa I had last time I was here. It’s nice to be able to see the cave and not feel like you’re descending into the void. Despite the fact that we know SUSS now stands for Sheffield University Scurion Society, has there been any other entirely Scurion lit trips recently? Anyway between the two of us we quite enjoyed being able to see our surroundings as we traversed around the event horizon.
We came to the start of the streamway and as we got to the first of the cascade climbs, I was not especially happy to see that it was not just my fresher-tinted memories of these that seemed impossible. They are basically 2-3m high waterfalls with broadly smooth and handhold-less sides. However apparently my ability to chimney has improved somewhat in the last couple of years, and a bit of teamwork was only needed for a couple of them, rather than needing lots of help on basically all of them like last time.
We then reached the end of the cascades, where the passage becomes a selection of wet bedding plane crawls. We followed the main flow until it became flat out, then found the right turn that takes you, via a muddy flat out crawl, through a bouldery rift and into a very sudden chamber.
The way on is up a handline climb over some calcited rock that somehow manages to look un-naturally cubic and creepily organic at the same time. This is immediately followed by a slidey muddy rift. It must be said that this trip does not disappoint in terms of variety. A short bit of crawling and we reached the scaffolded boulder choke, carefully climbing up through that and into a chamber with the final pitch going up it.
At the top of the pitch we ditched our SRT kits, knowing it was soon to get both pretty and tight. We set off down the “Frozen in Time” passage, which is really very nicely decorated. Since it’s a fairly recent discovery it is particularly nice that a lot of the formations are still very pure white. The passage continues for quite a way and generally gets gradually lower, progress is slow as you have to be very careful to not damage anything. My favourite pretty was right near the end, where there was a flowstone that glittered, but glittered like holographic wrapping paper with lots of different colours.
The return was very quick, soon we were back at the event horizon. Jethro erm ‘volunteered’ to de-rig, so I set off up the rope. Heading back up the entrance pitch I got the chance to admire the excellent work done by Moose and the team in repairing the entrance shaft, it’s quite the feat of engineering. Thanks guys. At the top of the entrance pitch, I was greeted by a lovely red sunset. It’s been quite a while since I did an evening trip and got out in daylight. I hung around at the entrance, listening to the banging of Jethro trying to fit the 80m rope into the tackle bag. Soon Jethro joined me at the entrance, still just about in daylight, and de-rigged the last pitch. Locking the lid was slightly more difficult since the holes were just too small for Jethro to reach the chain. Luckily my hands were sufficiently smaller and we headed back to the car and an unexpectedly early night.
Overall, I think this has got to be one of the best, and certainly most varied evening trips in the peak. A great selection of breathtaking pitches, sporting streamway, crawls, pretties and even a scary scaffold-y boulder choke. All that, and we were only underground for about 3 hours!