4th January 2003
People present - Adam Cooper, Martin Donaldson, Alan Gray. Turned up very late - Duncan Jones, Pete Dale
The plan was to meet up at the bottom of Alum lane, The weather had been below freezing all week there was a dusting of snow around so every thing looked really nice, I wanted to get a few bits from Bernies so that meant that I would be a few mins late so I sent Dunc a text message to say he then replied to say that he had a puncture and would be very late so I continued to find Martin and Alan all ready changed. I was really looking forward to this trip so I was a bit pissed off that Pete and Dunc would be late we didn't rush Alan had just got a brand new SRT kit so we fitted it up to him took a few photos jumped in the landy and went up the track up to the gate watching out for big rocks.
We thought that we would have a look in Long churn The main plan of this was one to kill time and two to keep warm (it was a lot warmer in the cave) we all agreed that we needed to keep dry otherwise we would freeze later on this proved to be the best decision of the day! We had a good play in long churn with Martin and Alan doing the cheese press I had to give it a miss I could only get my feet in!! So I continued around the normal route and had a look over the dolly tub pitch and came back to meet up with Martin and Alan only to find that Alan was just coming through.. erm its tight. We then had a rest and went to have a look at the top of Diccan pot we went as far as we could with out getting wet then turned around and came out. Just as we got to the outside I slipped on a green slimy rock and dislocated my right thumb OUCH it had popped out and I knew that I had to put it back in so with a quick pull and a twist back it went this hurt more than doing it in the first place. I packed it up with snow and caught the other two up.
We walked across to the top of Alum only to find that Dunc and Pete had not arrived we waited around for maybe 30 mins we were feeling the cold now we were thinking about going back down and getting changed when Martin spotted two people coming up the lane we guessed they were bog trotters because they had no caving gear on and rucksacks But as they got closer it was Pete and Dunc with the rope on there back for us oh well just looks like the three of us then Martin rigged and went down grumbling all the way now its Alan's turn, then he told us that he couldn't remember how to pass a re belay What.. You've done it before we all said ...And how do you thread a descender..
He had a practise at the top between the two trees and although very slow he made it to the top of the craggy ledge then froze can't go any more he said we all said yes you can get on with it (-3C) so with a lot of help from me he changed over into the y-hang to the top of the next ledge all this must of taken about 20 mins we were all very cold he then abbed right into the loop taking all the slack with him, then fear set in as his lamp failed! He's shaking like a leaf he wanted me to come down and help but didn't want me near in case I knocked him off although he was perfectly safe when I finally got to him he had his cows tails clipped in to either side of y-hang, hand jammer clipped in above, chest Jammer in rope below and his descender somewhere under his legs in the loop !! The only way was up and he had to start unclipping bits (By now you can smell his fear) After a lot of shouting I got him out of the mess and back up top all this carry on took well over a hour as now it was starting to get dark! I shouted down to Martin to get out. Dunc, Pete and myself retired to Bernies for a break down of the days events.