Speedwell, Calcite Aven, Titan - Ann Soulsby

Saturday, 4 August, 2012

Present: Ann Soulsby, Roy Rodgers & Phil Wolstenholme

Our group were going in via Speedwell to re-rig Calcite Aven and then going on to de-rig Titan for the group that were doing a through trip. Titan had actually been double rigged to make sure that the group got down safely so Martyn was de-rigging the 8mm on his own. We reached Calcite Aven without a hitch and Roy went up with one bag. Phil was supposed to be going up next with the knife to cut the old ropes out but Roy thought I would struggle getting on a rope with a knot part way up so he told Phil to help me get on the rope and he could follow me up.

We got off the traverse at the top and Roy realised that they had not been rigged with maillons so the whole bolt had to come off to enable a knot to be tied. This took rather longer than expected. Once we had made sure Roy had enough rope we left him rigging the traverse and abseiled down to the next ledge. As this was the wet ledge Phil started to get very cold so I sent him to the bottom which is a bit warmer. Made sure that Roy was sorted with the ropes for the rest of the rig and went down to tell Phil to start making his way to Titan if he was still cold. He was but he didn’t know the way to Titan or through Peak. This was a problem so I asked Roy if it was okay for us to set off while he finished rigging.

We met up with the others at the divers platform and I was surprised to see Martyn with them as he was supposed to be de-rigging - apparently Jess had done a swap. I sent Phil up first and told him to wait for us at the breakthrough window. I managed to set off before Roy appeared so all was going well. Phil was on the top rope and I reached the ledge where I waited for Roy. At this point matters deteriorated fairly quickly – Roy had trouble getting the rope into the tackle sack and miraculously, as they do the ropes managed to knit themselves together in an unholy tangle. Once I was sure that Roy had managed to untangle the ropes I headed off out with one of the tackle sacks.

As it had taken so long Roy asked if I would mind tandem prusicking, which I said, was okay. Unfortunately I had never done this with a pantin and it was an absolute pain. To get any distance I had to manually lift my leg up. When I reached Phil he was nigh on hypothermic so I told him to take the tackle sack out and that Roy and I would manage to de-rig the other rope. We dragged the rope up the pitch and stuffed it in the tackle sack it weighed a ton – there’s a lot to be said for 8mm! Roy was not convinced that tandem prusicking was a pain so he went in front and told me to get on behind him. He took the tackle sack and set off – I got on after he had gone a short way. He quickly realised what I meant about it being a pain. Even more so when his hauling cord got stuck in his pantin. Luckily I wasn’t far below him so I took the weight of the tackle sack on my short cows tail and helped him remove the pantin. This is the way we tackled the rest of the pitch. I wish we had a video camera – there were amusing moments…..

Eventually out by about 6.30pm to be met by Jess and Mark. Back to the Chapel for a well earned cuppa and a biscuit from Luna’s never ending supply of foreign goodies!