Lost John’s Cave: Ian, Simon, Adele, Denis (18th March 2017).
We met at Inglesport, picking up new tackle bags, with the weather very wet, although we decided to stick with the plan and keep to the original trip, despite the conditions. We knew that upon reaching the High Level Traverse we would be OK for the Centipede Route and look at Battleaxe.
Kiting up at Cowan Bridge allowed us to get some shelter and sort the tackle and cars for the trip up the fell. I was in a fleece, with the rest in wetsuits and Ian led in followed by me, Adele and Simon, finding the water levels to be on the limit of safety, making this part of the trip very sporty.
It came as a great relief to see the stream drop away – actually a raging torrent – at the High Level Traverse. Noise levels abated, the temperature rose and the wind dropped, so we assured ourselves that the return journey would be fine, despite having to wade against the water, as the water level would surely drop.
A short distance from the pitch head, Ian asked me to continue with the tackle, as he would go back and rig a line on the traverse above the worst of the steps above the hostile water and I set up my camera, hoping my breath would clear from the air on the arrival of the team.
Ian rigged the Mud and Centipede pitches on 1 rope and I followed. Once all down Adele and Simon headed back up to save time as Ian and I went down Candle and Shistol to look at Battleaxe, where there was lots of noise and water. On the way out Ian free-climbed Shistol and I ascended this twice, having forgotten to tie on the rope bag.
We arrived at Centipede to find Adele and Simon just exiting, so Ian then ascended, leaving me to de-rig, giving Ian a rope bag at the top of Mud Pitch to head out and catch up Simon and Adele. I de-rigged Hammer, steadily making my way out to find 3 smiling faces. All credit to them I thought until to my chagrin I realised that I had the car keys.
Pic by Denis.