11 June 2024

New topos and updates

Our anchor and topo team have been busy over spring and we have lots of news to bring you.

Fossil Pot

Fossil Pot near Grassington is not a well-known cave but is an excellent and quirky day out. 

The cave features an assortment of short esoteric squeezes (typically suited for slim or average sized cavers) and short climbs/pitches, with a splendid but all-to-brief section of main streamway at the bottom.

We have hosted a route description for nearly four years, however, work to install CNCC anchors has just been completed and we have added a rigging topo to our website. The tackle requirements of this trip are minimal so cavers can be offered a short but very satisfying adventure.

North by North End Pot

North by North End Pot is a brand new discovery for 2024 between Masongill and West Kingsdale, courtesy of The Space Miners, a prolific Yorkshire Dales digging team.

This is a 35m deep dug surface shaft which breaks into the Ireby-Rift-Large Pot system at the top of Llean Bean Aven near the end of The Eastern Front. A more thorough report will appear in our immenent June 2024 newsletter and this is also covered in the most recent Descent (298), with a more thorough future article planned in Descent. 

North by North End Pot has been anchored, with work completed only a few weeks ago and the topo is now online. However, we would like to raise a few notes from our anchor installer team for anyone considering a trip:

Locating sites with adequate quality rock for anchors was challenging in several places. In the entrance shaft this was almost impossible and so the tops of upright scaffold bars must be used. Avoid using horizontal bars as they are only held in by wall-pins in some places. As with all such non-standard belays, it is entirely incumbent on the rigger to evaluate these for safety.

The top of Llean Bean Aven has many loose rocks and although it might be tempting to kick them down as part of the usual ‘gardening’, we advise that this is only likely to make the situation worse. Much of the wall and floor here, and on the subsequent big pitch, is very loose indeed, and extreme care is required when someone is beneath as they are in the firing line for any dislodged rocks. 

For all the pitches, it is recommended for anyone above a descending or ascending caver to remain totally still until the vulnerable caver is safe from any dislodged rocks. 

This is not a cave for large or inexperienced groups, and it is not an easy route into The Eastern Front. There are many dangerous loose rocks and cavers who avoid these must then endure a long crawl through The Pig Trough which delivers a thorough coating of porridge-like mud.

Nonetheless, we are conscious that there will be some cavers who will take advantage of North by North End Pot to explore this end of the system, or to undertake a through/exchange trip with other entrances. Enjoy, but above all, PLEASE GO CAREFULLY. 

County Pot

By popular demand, we have just published a rigging topo for County Pot

Previously, the ropes required were detailed in our route description, but three separate requests for a dedicated topo were made, and we listened. The topo shows the pitches which are fitted with CNCC-anchors (first pitch, Upper Trident and down from Poetic Justice) with optional ropes listed for non-anchored climbs including into Broadway and the chimney to Poetic Justice.

Marilyn and Disappointment Pot

For years we have been receiving reports of poor anchor locations at Marilyn on Gaping Gill (which drops into Disappointment Pot before the third pitch). This has now been rectified, with extensive re-anchoring of Niagara (which has always been tricky due to loose rock) and the 4th and 5th pitches of Disappointment. The work has included installing new anchors, removing old ones and new drilled threads.

An updated topo has been published and the description will be updated in due course.

Simpson's Pot

Last year we performed work to improve the anchoring in Swinsto Hole. The aim of this work was to improve the anchor positioning and safety particularly for those undertaking a pull-through trip. In doing this, we hope to avoid incidents of stuck ropes and a proliferation of compensatory ‘tat’, while replacing any anchors showing movement.

Similar work in Simpson’s Pot commenced earlier this year and is now complete as far as the duck below Storm Pot. The topo has been redrawn and republished to reflect quite a few changes to the anchor locations, all of which should make pull-through rigging safer and more reliable.

Work is now on hold for the summer holidays but will continue for the pitches below the duck later in the year.

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