Dale Head Pot

20 June 2010

Posted by
Matt Ewles

We had a short but enjoyable trip down Dale Head Pot on Saturday.

The cave is very easy to find, and the obvious entrance shaft can be rigged from metal stakes and a single bolt rebelay just over the edge (hidden by foliage). The bottom of the 5m shaft is horrible, being home to several rabbits in various states of decomposition, and the smell was aweful. This cave would probably benefit from some kind of lid!

The scaffold shaft heading down is reassuringly well done and stable and is an easy free-climb down scaffolding. From the bottom, the low Heartburn Crawl heads off back underneath the scaffolding. Removal of our SRT kits was essential for this, as it involves several metres of very low and tight thrutching before opening out slightly, followed by a couple of minutes of awkward small passage to reach Boulder Chamber where SRT gear may be reapplied and the going becomes easy.

Following the obvious for several minutes reaches the first underground pitch - this is VERY awkward indeed, as the slot onto the pitchhead is narrow, and the Y-hang is right in the middle, restricting access. It doesn't look like it should be hard, but it is, particularly on return!

Once through, a nice couple of pitches follows landing in pool of water at the bottom - which I suspect gets rather wetter! Gary and Rich went on to rig the next few pitches, however, they didn't get far down before the quality of the bolts deteriorated, with most of them hanging half way out the wall, and one popping out in Garys hand! There were no safe ways to rig the ongoing main shaft and so we were forced to turn around.

We were out by 4pm, and despite being short this was a very enjoyable trip.