Saturday April 10th 2010
Hurnel Moss Pot
Cat, Chad, Gary, Matt, Thomas
A cracking trip down Hurnel moss :)
The weather was beautiful, which meant that it was a little warm on the long walk up. We came across what may have turned out to be Grey Wife hole first (?) thinking that was our pot - alas no. So more walking, but we were soon at another large shakehole, the correct one. Yay!
The entrance is a short crawl to the pitch head, rigging the pitch head was a little constricted, but I was soon down to the next set of rebelays, and then onto the traverse to the Poseidon pitch. I was rattling along at a decent pace. The traverse was awesome, minimal footholds; it was literally hanging on to the p-hanger time. I think that they could have put p-hangers in so you didn't have to do the traverse but where would be the fun in that.
Then it was onto the huge the Poseidon pitch, split in the middle by an easier traverse, with a massive Y-hang before going down the second part. This cave is just one huge pitch really, I was rigging tight (as per usual :-P) to try and avoid having to use the pre-rigged knot pass (plus I needed that bit of rope at the bottom). In reality the rope lengths suggested by the rigging guides are way longer that we needed, so in the end I didn't need to worry about it.
At the bottom there are loads of boulders, where Matt and I seem to spend ages deciding the best way down to go and see the "sump". Eventually we plumped on going off a flake protected by a tacklsack and a piece of plastic left in situ, backed up off a rock jammed between boulders. Once down is was a case of walking along a fine rift before suddenly the cave ends in quite a pathetic sump - there must be potential for more here though.
The way out was a fun prussik with additional camera flash duties...
A really nice day, spent with Cat (+others :-P) ending up with some good food in Austwick :)
A very enjoyable trip down Hurnel Moss on a swelteringly warm spring day! I've been wanting to do Hurnel Moss for years, as it is one of the Yorkshire classics that I had yet to tick off my caving wish-list. I was expecting a good vertical adventure and I wasn't disappointed.
Chad made quick work of rigging the entrance down to the traverse. Everyone else seemed to find the entrance pitch simple, however, it caused me great difficulties on the way in and out - it's quite a constricted pitch head with a flat out crawl leading onto it (only 2 m from the entrance), and maybe this is one where being 6 ft tall goes very much against you!
From the bottom of the entrance pitch a slope of rubble leads to the traverse. The traverse was nothing like I was expecting, and involved a very exposed traverse across the head of a huge drop along a tiny ledge - and this is probably the only traverse I have ever done where the only way to do it is to hang on your cowtails as you go along. We had to swing from P-hanger to P-hanger with arms hooked over the rope to old yourself upwards and against the rock face. Quite scary and not something you get in many caves - nice to do something different!
Beyond here, Poseidon pitch followed - which wasn't quite as spectacular or long as I had expected, but nontheless provided some much needed SRT fitness training and an uncomplicated bit of high level sightseeing! From the bottom we spent a little while discussing how to rig the way down to the streamway rift that continued onwards (there are several places this can be rigged from boulders but all involved some rope rub). We found a knob of rock with some polythene over it which seemed to suggest this was the best way, and this seemed to work fine.
The rift at the bottom provided an entertaining ten minutes before the final pathetic sump was reached where the water disappears into the floor and the rift ends abruptly - this cave could definitely do with something a bit nicer at the end! However, overall Hurnel Moss was a clean, quick, uncomplicated SRT day out with an exciting top traverse! Very good for photography too (see photo gallery)!