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Caving

Second SRT training session

I went to the caving club again tonight, and trained so hard that I got totally drenched with sweat and developed three blisters on my right hand, one of which burst. Free-hanging changeovers are still proving difficult, but I've (re)discovered that changeovers against a wall are far easier (I'm not totally sure why, but not spinning around every time you stand up to unclip the chest jammer might have something to do with it).


These were all taken with my unfortunately rather crap cameraphone, with its lens seemingly made from a blob of Vaseline.

Me attempting to look happy while taking a picture of myself hanging from the top of a rope as sweat drips off my fringe and runs down my nose:


Looking down from the platform at the old climbing wall on the left, the new climbing wall on the right, the electron ladder, various ropes, and the crash mats:


The rope in the centre-left of this shot is the one I was hanging from in the first shot. The big fibreglass stalactite hanging from the roof is purely decorative ;)


I decided to take the scenic route back along the canal instead of the main roads. It probably took longer, but it was prettier and I had plenty of time before the bus was due.

The crappy camera actually does you a favour here because it hides all the rubbish floating in the water and strewn on the banks.

This one was taken from the aqueduct right in the town centre. I think the old crane was at one time used to lift cargo down to/up from the main road below. There's a disused mill chimney in the background with a tree growing from the top.


From the exact same spot as the previous photo, facing the other way. The hotel to the right of the picture is the Keirby (which has changed its name many times over the years). The club once did a sponsored "vertical mile" abseil from the top of it, which was fun but not terribly successful financially as we wore out the (admittedly old) rope doing it, and barely raised enough money to buy a new one. It was amazing to witness the number of people who strolled straight past without giving us a second glance, as if a bunch of blokes abseiling from the roof of a hotel is something you see every day.


Apologies to those who read this via planet.uknot.org and got everything without the benefit of a cut tag to hide the pictures (blame Livejournal's RSS feed).
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Comments

I've (re)discovered that changeovers against a wall are far easier (I'm not totally sure why, but not spinning around every time you stand up to unclip the chest jammer might have something to do with it).

Lol: surely the 'spinning' is the best bit?
Unfortunately the spinning happens at the worst possible moment, when you're trying to unclip your chest jammer from the lower rope and clip it onto the upper rope. If you run out of energy and sit back down in the middle of it, it's possible to get "hung up" and be unable to move up or down. Which can be a bit embarrassing. Luckily you don't tend to encounter free-hanging changeovers in real caves, which makes me wonder why we bother to practise doing them.

The thing you do get in real caves but not in the training tower, is pitches with bloody awkward exits, where you have to really thrutch and contort yourself into all sorts of weird positions to get off at the top (often you reach the knot and can't climb any higher on the rope, but you're not high enough to get off, and there's nothing to stand on to climb higher). That and very long pitches, where the rope stretches by a couple of feet when you get on it, and you waste a lot of your energy just bouncing up and down. And waterfall pitches where the water keeps blowing your lamp out. Come to think of it there are many things you get in real caves that the training doesn't prepare you for...
I'm not making caving sound very appealing am I?

There are fun parts, honestly :) The people who keep on caving after their first couple of trips are the ones for whom the fun outweighs the hardships.