Helen, Pete, Matt, Ray
Another case of a hastily rearranged trip in view of the weather. The original plan had been Red Moss, but that was certainly off the menu given that it hadn’t stopped raining for at least 40 days & 40 nights. Yordas had briefly been discussed as an alternative, but quickly dropped in favour of a look at the newly bolted Monolith Traverse & Pitch in Bull Pot.
We cut a sorry sight struggling up the hillside, with both Helen & Ray limping along on their respective walking sticks. No route straight up the fellside tonight, rather a long sweeping loop out to the right and back. That left us with only one problem on top of the fell – finding the cave. Luckily this didn’t take too long and we were soon swinging off the normal 1st pitch, around a rock buttress to find the 1st bolt of Monolith Traverse. The traverse is quite nice, generally with good ledges on either side of the shaft, leading into a tube with a nicely-placed y-hand at the end. A bit cramped for rigging/derigging, but nothing too bad.
Monolith Pitch lands nicely at the old high-level traverse to the 2nd pitch. 3 or 4 anchors then take you round a couple of bends to the top of the 2nd pitch. There was quite a lot of water flowing down this, so the deviation (thankfully already complete with tat) was very welcome. From there it’s just a couple of metres down to the ledge. The slot was really the only 3rd pitch option in the prevailing moistness. This was quickly descended by all, past the easiest rebelay in the Dales. At the bottom, Ray went on to have a look at the 4th pitch. His rather drenched appearance on returning seemed to be enough to put everyone else off even having a look. Needless to say, descending the pitch was not an option. We did all agree, however, that we should definitely return to bottom the cave in drier conditions. Matt even agreed to lead such a trip… perhaps after a bit of pressurising.
Pete offered to derig. No mean feat, given the water levels and the fact that the top pitch was brand spanking new to all of us. With Matt offering moral support, he did a great job. There’s no going back now for you Pete! It wasn’t too long before everyone was safely out and slip-sliding back down the hillside.
A great little wet weather trip. Congratulations to the team that set the new Monolith route… whoever they are.