Saturday 31st July - Lost Johns'
I think I am poorly calibrated for summer caving as although it was a damp-ish weekend the subterranean world was quite dry which made our choice of wet weather caves seem a bit silly. Still better than being drowned.
We visited Lost Johns' on Saturday, doing a Dome/Centipede exchange with a crack subteam descending Valhalla. Ana and Diss shared the rigging down Dome and Fiona, Clive and I followed. Above Battleaxe we met the other group and reformed into new teams. I eschewed both the exchange and the deep opting instead to take photos in Dome with "willing" volunteers.
Sunday 1st August - Alum Pot
Alum is a classic but we tried a route I have not done before, the spectacular North West route. Beginning with some faff, we picked the wrong tree to descend off, but it was okay because we also picked some wild strawberries. Cecilia encouraged Dave back up to try again with said strawberries. Once on the correct tree and subsequent bolts we were down quickly. The descent is magnificent, right next to the main waterfall, and give a very good view of the rest of the shaft.
We continued our faff at the next drop by failing to find the deviation necessary. We speculated that the bolts had definitely been destroyed by falling rocks and so we were not to blame (the survey suggests its a natural deviation we found out later in the hut but I didn't see it so it was also definitely destroyed by falling rocks). We tried the other bolts with more success though these ones drop you above the small waterfall climb. We had not been here before and were a bit unsure about the climb so used our final rope to rig down it, denying us the final pitch. Clive suggested that he had been here 50 times (insert correct number here) and that this was only the second time he had seen anyone rig that climb. On the way it did seem an easy climb so maybe he was right.
Back at the bridge we met the other team and exchanged. I think they were dissapointed to find that they did not have time to reach the bottom (and make a sensible journey back to London) but hopefully the ascent of the North West route lifted both themselves and their spirits.
We exited via Dolly Tubs. Cecilia, Dave and I were not lost and knew exacly where we were going and deliberately decided to come out of the furthest exit. We did get to look cool in front of a family who were wandering around the day lit areas though.
I took many photos using the ambient light and some of them were okay.