Here is a very incomplete list of some of the trips the Eldon have been up to recently.

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Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC) and Jim Lister (EPC& TSG)

An arrangement had been made for the two of us to meet up at Ink Sump dive base at 2:45 pm. Jim went into Peak in the morning diving through Ink Sump and into Doom's Retreat to do work on the upper ladder. I entered the showcave somewhat later than hoped at 2:05 pm and made my way quickly to the downstream end of Buxton Water Sump. Here I sat around for 10 minutes as my mask wouldn't de-fog due to the fact that I was sweating horrendously having motored from the TSG to here in 10mm of neoprene on a hot day. When mask eventually de-fogged I dived through Buxton Water Sump, de-kitted on the far side and started running up the Peak Streamway arriving at Ink Sump dive base a couple of minutes late and very knackered. Both of us yomped back down the streamway to the upstream end of Buxton Water Sump, kitted up and dived through to Buxton Water Aven. A quantity of old digging gear, wire and krabs was removed and stuffed in a tackle sack to be transported out. The tackle sack proved to be rather more buoyant than expected (could have been due to the large pieces of karrimat in it!) and something of a handful. Both exited without incident and spent a pleasant evening in good weather painting the roof of the Chapel garage and drinking tea.

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Jim Lister (EPC), Ann Soulsby (TSG), Chris Schofield (EPC)


After the SRT Rescues training yesterday we fancied something with some decent SRT and that would give a full day. Ann suggested J.H. and as Chris hadn't been in there before that seemed like an excellent idea. During the evening Jim established that J.H. was being left rigged overnight by Kent University Caving Club which made J.H. seem like an even better idea. We met at the TSG and after the usual tea and chat the party moved in the general direction of the entrance. We arrived just before the Kent University team who were de-rigging. The first pitch, Cartgate and Bitch Pitch all passed without incident and we arrived at the Workshop. I'd only ever gone straight across at the Workshop but this time we followed the alternative route down the slot in the floor to arrive at the top of a short pitch which leads to Leviathan. Down Leviathan to the big ledge and then on down the superb final pitch to the floor. Here we left SRT kits and headed down through the Boulder Piles to emerge in the Speedwell Streamway. A quick stomp upstream (much squealing from the girls at the back who were missing their neoprene!) to Main Rising and then back. On the way back we stopped to have a look at the Miner's Toast ("Health to All Miners and Maintainers of Mines") and the Yorkshire Raider's equally significant but later inscription (Main Rising -66m) before heading back through the Boulder Piles to the bottom of Leviathan. It turned out that the de-riggers were still off finding the bottom of Titan so we set off up the ropes. The trip out was uneventful and very easy with no bags whatsoever. Last time I was in here was ferrying diving gear and Ann has also done more than her fair share of that. Much as I'd like to say I'm obviously much fitter now than last time I was in here I suspect that the lack of bags was significant. By the time I arrived at the bottom of the first pitch I'd finally got the hang of the foot jammer that I've recently started using and soon I was on the surface. There are some lovely wild flowers around the top of J.H. at this time of year and it was great laying in the sun waiting for the others to make their way out.

 

   

 

Click on the images above to enlarge.
Miner's artifacts and conservation tape in the Workshop (J.H.).

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Gary Bode (EPC), Jim Lister (EPC), Jase Rider (EPC), Chris Schofield (EPC), Ann Soulsby (Masson Caving Group)

A 10 a.m. start at Pindale Farm for a day of hanging around on their SRT platform. As I left Sheffield the weather was better than I'd seen it for ages so we were off to a good start. Whilst I got the kit ready Chris made an excellent job of clearing out the grim brown flood sludge that coated the floor underneath the training platform. Soon Jase and Gary arrived and just as we were making a start Jim and Ann turned up. As it turned out six was a good number as we only needed to run two ropes on the platform.

Ann, Ralph Johnson and I had salvaged the old Block Hall rope from Peak Cavern that had been in there some years. I thought it would be interesting to see what sort of condition it would be in so a totally unscientific test was set up involving Chris, a knife and a slightly slack safety rope. Chris found that he had to cut through every strand of the core but two before it snapped under his static weight and when it went it went with a bang! We looked at changing over from abseiling to prussiking and vise versa and this highlighted a number of issues with kit. We then had a useful chat about improvising kit ("...help my Croll just fell apart!...") before starting to consider assisting "walking wounded" cavers out of caves. We looked at a number of techniques that could be used to belay and assist cavers up short climbs and pitches finishing with some hoisting and associated jiggery pokery to get the injured and feckless off at the pitch head. After a break for lunch we were back at it considering assisting yourself and other people on SRT ropes. We looked at a couple of the more straightforward techniques including a 'snatch rescue' (superb acting by Jim whilst Ann abseiled to the rescue) and a 'pitch-head cut' before a mid-afternoon cup of tea was called for (Chris produced a stove from somewhere and tea-making essentials apparently live in Jim's car in the same way that a spare wheel might live in other people's). It was very pleasant sitting in the sun having a chat about the PSM and all sorts of other stuff. The final session looked at the more complex SRT rescues including caver knocked out on rope above you (potentially very ill and definitely blocking your exit!), what are you going to do? We finished at Pindale at 5:00 p.m. and retired to the Nag's Head in Castleton for a drink where we had a good look at the 'Not for the Faint Hearted' book and planned a trip for the following day. I hoped to have time to cover some basic first aid but we found that there was plenty to cover in the day on rope. I may try to schedule some first-aid stuff in for an evening later in the year. Let me know if you think that would be useful.

Many thanks to the cavers who came along and Pindale Farm outdoor centre for the use of the facilities. From my point of view it was an excellent day and the feedback that I got from everyone was very positive. I will plan to run a similar day prior to the 2008 Eldon trip abroad.

 
   

Click on the images above to enlarge.
1. Jim Lister on rope.
2. The Pindale Farm chimney.
3. Chris Schofield prussiking.
4. Chris Schofield rigging.
5. Jase Rider prussiking.
6. Chris Schofield (top) and Gary Bode.
7. Gary 'snatch rescue'.
8. Ann Soulsby rescuing an unconscious Jim Lister.
8. Ann Soulsby abseiling with (a very relaxed-looking) Jim Lister.

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