Ian & Adele.
Some caves offer total enjoyment, whilst with others the only pleasure comes in retrospect having endured the challenge. Peterson Pot definitely falls into the latter camp. We had intended a Hammer Pot trip, but the wet weather meant a change of plan and having done Pippikin recently at least we wouldn’t waste time searching for the entrance in the rain. After calling in at the farm for a chat with the ever-friendly family, we changed in the car and trudged down in the steady drizzle.
I had packed a few bits of 8 mm rope – enough for the connection to Pippikin, but not being fans of muddy passages that we had heard abounded on this route, we decided to do the tight bit of the cave and return by the same route.
The entrance pitch sported a bit of tatty rope, but we placed our own for the descent and upon looking at the following section I suggested we dump all the gear and climb down with only Adele’s phone to carry to get some pics. A few flutings for holds and a bit of bridging saw me down, whilst Adele spotted a shorter route with a squeeze through a hole. A wriggle through a jagged window and the smooth tube of ‘Roly Poly Passage’ was spied on the right.
A series off twisting manoeuvres through the initial section, like Pippikin, well-polished by hundreds of students’ bottoms, led to the dreaded keyhole roof traverse. This proved to be not particularly tight, as per Hagg Beck Sink, for example, but unrelentingly jagged and painful and wearing my nicest wetsuit I was taking great care to avoid damage (I know it’s a dry cave but a furry suit doesn’t cushion my skinny carcase, so there). Steady progress with one or 2 resting spots at slightly wider sections was made despite my unwise decision to remove my helmet and clip the camera bag to it (I wore it all the way out without any bother), with my profaning chum at my heels.
The exit from this section was allegedly a 2.5m intimidating drop, according to Mr Cooper, although looking rather greater as I contemplated falling onto my skull whilst trying to hold helmet and expensive phone in one hand. Thankfully being not too averse to a bit of space beneath my feet, a bit of wriggling and I was wedged on two mucky footholds to stick my lid on and clamber down to a stance. Adele poked her head out, not looking too impressed with the situation, but knowing that she had to come down to get out, made a pretty fine job of popping through the slot, getting reversed using the in-situ tat, standing on my head and getting back into the traverse.
With Adele leading out, I followed at a snail’s pace, determined not to damage my precious neoprene or get too many bruises and as is generally the case in my experience, the exit was much easier than entry – psychological or what?
On my back in the frictionless final tube section, a pull from Adele had me out like a cork and we were faced with the freeclimb that Adele polished off without a problem.
I couldn’t be bothered to put on my kit again, so climbed out of the exit with a couple of tugs on the rope, desperate for some liquid to soothe my parched throat.
Good fun – not really, but a fine experience nonetheless was our agreed assessment.