Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Dave Cowley (EPC), Dunka (EPC), Pete Pollard (EPC)
This trip was suggested by Pete as a bit of a recce before the Eldon Giants trip in October. I'd not been in the Filthy Five before so was looking forward to seeing another new bit of Derbyshire cave. Pete and Dave had arrived earlier in the evening and headed into the cave whilst me and Dunka arrived afterwards. After changing me and Dunka went down the ladder on Garlands and into the Crabwalk. I'd never seen that water in Giants so low and we were hardly getting wet. Through there to the Eating House and carry on past the Bad Step Traverse towards Geology Pot. Pete had a rope rigged on there so we abseiled down that, through The Curtain (usually an easy duck but plenty of airspace today) and down to the East Canal. Pete had mentioned that you can traverse around the right-hand wall of the East Canal to get to the rope at the bottom of the Filthy Five and since I wasn't wearing a wetsuit I went for that. I'd previously never explored around this right-hand wall of the East Canal and expected it to be a longish traverse over very deep water. In fact, it's about three nice climbing moves around the corner and you can wade if you'd rather. Soon we were at the bottom of a short handline climb that leads upwards. The first handline climb is easy and lands you at the bottom of a proper pitch. A short prussik (up an incredibly muddy fixed rope) leads to the pitch head and a short traverse off. From here a 45 degree slope of wet mud leads up through an easy squeeze to the base of another pleasant (though very muddy) pitch. Up the rope here leads to another couple of steps up with particularly manky rope (some of it hawser-laid!) and the base of the first pitch. This is a nice prussik up which leads to the top where we met Pete and Dave. After posing for a couple of photos and a quick look at this side of St Valentines sump we headed out down the ropes. On the way out a good wash in the East Canal allows you to get most of the mud off and we returned via the Giants Windpipe (which again was as low as I've seen it).
The Filthy Five is actually more muddy than I expected and is an interesting place to do SRT. From the moment you step onto the rope you're struggling to figure out which is your Stop and which is your hand jammer cos they both look the same, being metal and covered in mud. The bolts and rigging are as bad as I've seen anywhere in the Peak. Looks as though the bolts are the original ones that Ken Pearce and friends put in on the first exploratory trips and they certainly weren't installed with modern caving traffic in mind. Definitely a place to go carefully and be careful what you trust. It's a good trip and perfect for an evening.