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Stream Passage Pot - 12th Dec 2009

Saturday December 12th 2009

Members present: Caitlin Brumby,  Gary Douthwaite,  Luke Brownbridge,  Matt Ewles

Report by Matt Ewles

I have to admit that I had forgotton that Stream is a little more challenging than I remembered.

We made quick progress down the entrance pitch, which is a little awkward at the top (rig rope from scaffold bar at top of pipe for return journey). We followed the streamway down until we reached the second pitch, which we started rigging at stream level from some naturals, however, although something didn't seem right. We then realised that the pitch is actually rigged from peahangers higher up in the rift, which involves ascending several metres back and traversing. The big pitch soon followed, with a wide and slightly nerveracking traverse/take-off onto a massive Y-hang! A good test of not getting strung up!

The final pitch ensued, however, the rope was approximately 10m too short - but we did seem to have a spare rope left! We suspect that drunken bag packing at 3am that morning may have been to blame. But with a spare rope and only 10m to go a knot pass seemed like the obvious answer! We eventually got down at about 2:20pm, however, routefinding to Sand Cavern was a bit confusing. We got there nontheless at 2:40, only missing the other team who had departed at the 2:30 agreed turnaround time only ten minutes earlier! Gutting!

The journey out was enduring, as speed-derigging was necessary to ensure getting out in time to get to the christmas meal! Gary and Caitlin went ahead and Luke and I derigged. Gary and Caitlin managed to stay one pitch ahead of us all the way, so the derigging was nonstop and I was absolutely knackered by the time we got out!

I like it when a trip has a bit of a 'kick', and the unexpected difficulties encountered on the trip certainly provided several 'kicks'. We got to the bottom, a little late for the exchange with Dihedral but I think we all had a great time nontheless, and Caitlin enters the club logbooks as yet another member to learn a knot-pass for the first time while half way down a pitch - a sure sign of a good caver! Didn't want to go up two big nasty 60m pitches anyway!