Crusader, New Oxlow - Alastair Gott

Friday, 30 March, 2018

First half of the bank holiday weekend, Crusader series in Oxlow on Friday folowed by an aborted attempt on bottoming lost johns. Crusader series has evaded me twice before, having got to the slot upto the "TSG squeezes" and then the second attempt was aborted because someone else struggled at the same spot. This time, I was with Alex Crow and Jess Stirrups. I told them at the beginning, i would be going to Crusader no matter what!

This nearly became one of those statements you never wish you said, as I promptly got myself lost in the inlet series. Jess pushed on, past the muddy passage I'd entered. And continued into the rocky grovel at the end (the start of the "flat out" section). Once Jess was through the first I asked if there was a climb up into the roof, she dutifully climbed up into the roof and said there was no way on. At about the same time, my brain started to recognise the grovel, and i followed, leaving Alex (the mule!) with the bag. Sorry Alex. This chamber was not right, but I saw the continuation, and again recognised the height and characteristics of the short flat out section. Bam! I was through to my first nemesis, the posting hole.

A short wait for a regroup saw us all together in this antichamber, awaiting our turn into the posting hole. I went first and straight into the "TSG squeezes" an upwards awkward section, followed shortly by a horizontal section (both SRT kit off!). I was now at my second thwarting point, but I wasn't to be thwarted today, no siree! My tripmates joined me through and we were off, climbing down into the Crusader series proper. A few antichambers here and a slot past a large boulder gained an easily navigable (without a survey) network of crawls (past the smallest drag tray ever, probably something like pink pearl hand soap) through to a pitch up and into a very short high level passage. This then opens out onto a fantastic development in line with the Filty Five pitches (Giants), but 50m higher and quite a few meters due south.

Now was exploring time, due south for a bit, then had a look down the hole in the floor and then up the chossy death above and due north of the hole in the floor. Due to time restraints, we called it once we'd put our lights on "the end". Having now looked at the eldon survey on their website, I now realise that there was a bit more we didn't see. There was some chossy death on the way up, much to the delight of Alex and Jess. I hid at the top, whilst they joined me and then retreated back down the choss. The return, nothing really to report, similar ground top feeling of having done something i hadn't done before.

Left with a feeling that there's far more to find out that way for the determined mind.