Giant's Hole - Charley Cooley

Saturday, 1 August, 2009
Present: Glyn Roberts, Larry Blanchard, John Sharpe, Thomas Spriggs, Keith Smitheman and Charles Cooley

The party met up at Peakshill Farm for a sporting trip into Giants, aiming for East Canal.

We charged off through the entrance passages and past ?Base Camp Chamber? etc and Larry rigged ?Garlands Pot ? for a short descent down the 20? pitch to meet the start of the 610m Vadose canyon somewhat appropriately known as the Crab Walk (try it and find out why!). This is a wonderful winding route, switching left and right as it makes its way downstream with varying degrees of restriction as you progress, easily (!) passed by breathing out and sliding sideways. One well known restriction is called ?The Vice? which usually involves a quick dip to get past! Pushing on we encountered various drops and chutes, one having an iron ladder in-situ and due to the amount of rainfall recently, there was no way of avoiding a soaking! We carried on passing ?Eating House? (no time for snap, we had a boat to catch) and after dropping down a couple more pitches, including the alternative Geology Pot pitch (eyehole above pitch to the RHS) rigged by Glyn, and then cascade pitch which was rather wet but it didn?t matter because we would soon be going under the ?Far Curtain?, a small duck, we duly arrived in the ?East Canal?. All the pitches/ climbs/ traverses at the bottom of Giants (including Geology) had rope on them at the time of the trip. The rock changed texture and colour to a sandstone(?) hue and the place seemed quite serene after the raging waters of the previous section.

We decided that the water was too deep to comfortably wade so elected to make slow progress by means of bridging over it. At one point Thomas decided that was no longer fun and took a swift dip only to not re-surface for what seemed a lifetime, luckily Larry was on hand to haul him back out, somewhat bemused and surprised by the depth! We made our way back out carefully SRT?ing back up the 2 pitches and at the junction the group split into 2 with just Larry, John and myself electing to climb up into ?Maggin?s Rift?, the others heading back via ?Crabwalk?. We made good progress, pausing only for a minor diversion into the connection to Oxlow Cavern ( a trip for those with gills perhaps!) and once into ?Ghost Rift? we were faced with the ?Giant?s Windpipe? a 23m tube that can easily sump out so expecting the worst with all the rain, I tentatively entered, however, to my surprise found the level not much higher than on our previous trip (27/6) so carried on with consummate ease. Once we were all safely through we headed back to the exit, initially taking the high level route, lowering ourselves back into the ?Crabwalk? a short distance from ?Garland?s Pot? where we met up with the rest of the crew and after SRT?ing back up the rope, we de-rigged and headed out past a group of around 15 youngsters in pac-a-macs who appeared to be on a geology field trip!

Another cracking trip!