Ireby Fell - Kevin Francis

Saturday, 30 January, 2016

Present: Kevin Francis, Edd Willatts, Vicky Bailey, Adam Walmsley, Chuck Holder

A bit of a last minute trip to the Dales to stay at the BPC, meant I had to rush trying to dry our gear from the Thursday digging!

We decided Shadow route should be dry enough and after a quick stop in Ingleton we headed to Masongill to get changed in what was becoming a chilly day. Hats and gloves were worn on the way to the cave to be stored at the entrance. I don't think I've ever been to Ireby when it has been warm. Edd was rigging, but managed to make it into the cave last with the first rigging bag - something about his harness changing size. He soon headed off to rig the traverse and route down. This seemed to take a while so to entertain ourselves we set up a Newton's Cradle of cavers dangling on the traverse lines. It became apparent Edd had missed a critical junction and descended directly instead of following another traverse. Silly Edd. Error rectified we continued down. I was not impressed when upon reaching the last pitch of the entrance series I found myself getting drenched whilst doing a deviation. I thought deviation helped us to stay dry. It seemed this one only served to prevent rope rub as it didn't seem to take us out of the water much.

Soaked we dashed through the rest of the cave, which was quite pleasant compared to the waterfall that was awaiting us on the return. Ducks were passed, further pitches dropped and before long we were in Duke Street plotting pyramid building to enable Chuck to play on dusty slides. We headed to the sump, had a water break and then returned back. We began talked about our descenders as I thought my rack was looking a little worn, Vicky showed us hers and I was shocked at how well worn it was. We agreed a trip to buy fresh bars was in order as we had no idea what was giving her any friction on the way down! I asked Adam if a certain inlet was South East Inlet (leading to Rift) as I was sure he had pointed it out to me a few years ago. He denied all knowledge, but "remembered" once we got back to the hut with a survey in front of us!

Edd, Chuck and Vicky dashed up the ropes and Adam and I began to derig. Once we reached the wet pitch it began very apparent that my digger oversuit should only really be taken digging. Not only did it let water penetrate it completely (I miss my PVC) but I was the only person on the trip that didn't have a hood. The prussick up was a chore, but everyone got up really quickly. Very soon we were at the entrance putting out hats and gloves back on. The keener types ran in their gear back to the cars. The few times I sped up led to me falling over, so I slowly plodded back.

A fun trip, only a few hours next time we should aim to get less wet and then we'd be keener to do more of the stuff around Jupiter Cavern.