Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC) and Phil Baker (Masson Caving Group)

We arrived at the parking opposite Braida Garth in Kingsdale at lunchtime to find dry and settled weather. Phil had done Rowten years before but I'd never been in there so was particularly looking forward to this trip. We crossed the wall and headed uphill to find the very impressive Rowten entrance shaft. I rigged the first few drops to land on the rock bridge that spans the huge shaft. An easy traverse along a muddy ledge leads to another pitch head, a rebelay and then a short descent leads to a swing into a rift beneath the muddy ledge. Here a straight drop can be rigged from opposite walls of the rift allowing a spectacular descent to huge boulders jammed across the shaft. Impressive place this! One of the biggest open shafts in the country and it has a distinctly Jurassic Park feel about it. Phil took over the rigging here and a pitch head at the left hand end of the boulders leads to a tricky swing into a cross-rift. Here some easy traversing on good ledges leads to the final drop into the streamway at the bottom. We had a quick trip to have a look at the Rowten sumps before heading out up the rope. Despite not doing many big SRT trips recently, the journey out of Rowten didn't feel too bad. I suspect that's because the vertical sections are broken up by short sections of traversing which allow a bit of time to recover. The trip took three hours in total and we emerged to fine afternoon sunshine. We stayed the evening at the YSS hut, Helwith Bridge which provided excellent and reasonably priced accommodation.

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