Notts Pot Anchoring
8 June 2020
Notts Pot is a classic northern pothole on Leck Fell, offering a multitude of upper vertical routes, converging at the lower streamway, where a splendid series of pitches and traverses then descend to the sumps.
The cave was fitted with resin anchors in the 1990s as part of the CNCC’s early anchor scheme. However, the need for some improvements became apparent in more recent years. The 25m pitch marking the top of Centre Route in Three Ways Chamber has always been tackled by an almost 90-degree deviation from a natural belay at the far side of the hole. Not only did this present some serious challenges getting on and off the rope safely, but it also made for a high fall factor in the very unlikely event of the failure of the deviation. Furthermore, at some point, one of the anchors used as an original belay in the floor of Three Ways Chamber had been hammered flat.
On Sunday 31st May, a small CNCC team led by one of our approved anchor installers headed down Notts Pot to address these issues. The hammered-flat anchor in Three-Ways Chamber was extracted using one of our new anchor pullers; a short video can be found below.
The hole was filled with resin and dirt rubbed on to camouflage it against the surroundings. A thorough inspection of the approach to Centre Route identified the challenge the original installers had faced, there being very few suitable anchor locations. Two new anchors were installed in the roof above the pitch to create a Y-hang, with the approach being protected by a rope belayed to two existing anchors at the foot of the climb up to Adamson’s Route at the opposite side of the chamber. This allows the pitch to be rigged in a way that is more accordant with the principles of SRT and should make this pitch much safer for everyone.
A few bits of ‘tat’ were removed from the pitch-head, and it all looks much tidier now.
The work at Notts Pot was finished by a little gardening of the grassy slope above the entrance, which had been partially washed out by the February floods, leaving a few large rocks at risk of rolling down. These were manhandled up the slope to a safer area, although cavers are urged to remain vigilant to this as the slope remains loose.
Photo; Gary Douthwaite installing anchors above the start of Centre Route (photo by Matt Ewles)
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