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Hypothermia Crawl, Rowter Hole - 07/09/2007

Written by RobEavis.

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Sam Townsend (EPC)


Sam and I were after a quick evening trip before the Eldon Thursday night meet and I'd fancied a trip to Crewe Junction (the end of Hypothermia Crawl) in Rowter Hole for a while. Hypothermia Crawl was pushed by Stan Kowalik (CCPC), Mick Stratford (CCPC) and Ben Bentham (EPC) in 1975 and it's something of a collector's piece being just 25m of tight, wet crawling to Crewe Junction at the other side. The original write-up from the CCPC journal makes interesting reading and explains the name. Ben Bentham pushed it in a T-shirt! and ended up in a bad way. Sam, John Taylor and Tony Revell had been in a few times in previous years working on the choke but it's not a bit of cave that sees many visitors.

Both of our SRT kits were elsewhere which posed a problem given that you're not going to free-climb the Rowter entrance shaft. Fortunately between us we managed to cobble together two pseudo-SRT kits which just about did the job. We arrived, sorted the kit and got changed into full neoprene. Walked over to the Rowter entrance, tied the rope onto the scaffold bar and abseiled in. The start of Hypothermia Crawl is where a small stream emerges from a low, narrow bedding plane 9m up the wall near the bottom of the entrance shaft. We climbed up to the entrance to the hypothermia inlet. At this point helmets came off and neoprene hoods went on. 25m and some 90 degree bends doesn't sound like a long way but your helmet's off the whole time and there are a couple of squeezes to make you think. You're crawling upstream in a stream so it's not warm! The first squeeze is just after the first left-hand corner and that was fine. The crawl continues being tight but not desperate until the second (tighter) squeeze which is about 20m in. The second squeeze was not too bad and soon we were at Crewe Junction. To the right here is the fairly unpleasant-looking boulder choke that John Taylor and Sam had been working on. To the left are a couple of nice small chambers well-decorated with stal. We were very careful here as it would be easy to break something; the stal is right above your head. After a poke around and a look up into the choke we made our way out and back up the entrance shaft.

A very enjoyable evening trip in an unusual bit of cave. Crewe Junction manages to feel remote even though you're only 25m away from the bottom of the Rowter entrance shaft!