Saturday February 15th 2014
David W, Gary, Laura, Margot, Matt
After two months of constant rain it was hard to find much worth doing that wasn't flooded but we gave Marilyn a go with little knowledge of how wet it got.
No problem with the first couple of pitches, a bit drippy but nothing to cause a problem. At the top of the second pitch I heard the raw or water and descended with a sense of doom. The water in the streamway at the bottom was pretty normal to my surprise so we pushed on.
Some discussion about the couple of low sections followed but with the water still looking pretty low we carried on to the top of the last pitch. Unfortunately at this point the passage was joined by several inlets and the water heading over the last pitch was of a significant volume. As we had a relative novice with us we thought better of the descent through water and gave up.
It would have been nice to see the master cave in flood but we also thought we might not get through the boulders at the bottom. The rigging on the last pitch could do with a couple more anchors further along the ledge to offer a hang well away from the water. Maybe one for a drill next time!
David W wrote...
An good round trip, the entrance to Marilyn was quite a surprise, nice hefty gate. To say this was my first deviation trip was fairly easy (in the words of Mr Douthwaite - "to be nice and give you the shorter deviation haha").
Bit of loose material at re belay levels. Was great seeing the streamway not in full flow, but still a hefty amount of water, too which a pool present was enticing (if it were summer) to jump into but as it's in the single figures upstairs... maybe not! Made it to the last pitch, a wonderful flow of water present, it was decided not to venture any further :s with a thought of I'm OK going down that pitch with the waterfall.... but coming back up... hmm maybe not!! Again something for the summer time where the water might be a tiny bit warmer.
Loads of wonderful stalagmites and stalactites, and a fossilized area with the phrase "way blocked 10/11/1949". Coming back up was good, apart squeezing up through the pothole and finally getting out, hmm finding a way to climb out was interesting... with 2 others commenting on my split in a certain area.
"Mental note... must take flask next time ready for a warm brew on exit!!" :p
Saturday June 20th 2009
Marilyn Pot to Henslers Master Cave
Gary, Matt, Laura
Our original permit was for Rat Hole, however following concerns about the impending rain on the run up to the weekend we were able to change the permit to another equally interesting though less floodable alternative: Marilyn, the new entrance to the Gaping Gill system.
After meeting up with some folk from YUCPC who were doing Flood Entrance and Dihedral on the same day, we had breakfast and headed over to Clapham. After some faff with the tacklesacks we headed up the hill to arrive at Marilyn at around 1:15pm. The entrance was easy to find: Simply take a bearing to the right approximately half way between the wall and the footpath after crossing the double-style near Bar Pot, and walk for approximately 50m. The entrance is a huge and rather well constructed concrete-surrounded metal tube in an obvious shakehole.
Gary headed down to rig the first pitch and Laura and I soon followed. The first shaft reaches a rebelay. Below here a short scramble/descent reaches a further rebelay, above a slightly constricted rift which descends several metres to a ledge with lots of back-filled spoil. A further rebelay leads onto another short scramble/descent to the bottom of the pitch. A 40m rope, one sling and four bolts were ample for the entirity of this section.
A short blasted crawl leads soon to the top of Niagra pitch. There is a lot of loose rock at the pitch head, as well as on the ledge part way down, and so despite the pitch being rebelayed, it would be advisable for each person to completely clear the shaft before the next descends or ascends. A bolt about three metres back from the pitchhead provided backup, and a Y-hang was then possible off the right hand wall (one bolt in situ and one required placement). This descends to an easy deviation (in-situ hanger), and the spectacular proportions of the shaft become apparant. The rebelay is then reached (one more bolt required), on a muddy sloping ledge with lots of loose rocks. One further deviation (in situ hanger and cord) and then the floor is reached, only 30m upstream from the third pitch of Disappointment Pot. We had a 30m rope for this entire pitch, however we had to rig very tightly, and so ideally a 35+m would be more ideal in future.
The route down Disappointment was then followed with maximum efficiency, as the water levels were nice and low. Our only problem came in finding a backup point for the penultimate pitch, and we had to trust a non-too steady looking block, on the assumption that we weren't going to require it's assistance! The chamber between here and the final pitch was quite impressive. We soon reached Henslers Master Cave: We had intended to do the connection to Bar Pot, however, with a meet-back time of 8pm in Clapham arranged with the others we decided conveniently against the 15 minute muddy crawl. Instead we had a stomp down the amazing and huge downstream passage, took a few photos and commenced an enjoyable and efficient ascent.
Overall a very pleasurable trip, quite easy going with no real awkwardness or difficult bits, but lots of fun short pitches and impressive chambers, and the excellent Henslers Master Cave streamway to reward us at the bottom. Would be nice to return for a longer trip to explore the connection to Mud Hall: A trip from Marilyn to main chamber via Henslers old crawl and Mud Hall would be an excellent trip, although would probably require getting underground before 11am.