A very enjoyable trip down Hurnel Moss on a swelteringly warm spring day! I've been wanting to do Hurnel Moss for years, as it is one of the Yorkshire classics that I had yet to tick off my caving wish-list. I was expecting a good vertical adventure and I wasn't disappointed.
Chad made quick work of rigging the entrance down to the traverse. Everyone else seemed to find the entrance pitch simple, however, it caused me great difficulties on the way in and out - it's quite a constricted pitch head with a flat out crawl leading onto it (only 2 m from the entrance), and maybe this is one where being 6 ft tall goes very much against you!
From the bottom of the entrance pitch a slope of rubble leads to the traverse. The traverse was nothing like I was expecting, and involved a very exposed traverse across the head of a huge drop along a tiny ledge - and this is probably the only traverse I have ever done where the only way to do it is to hang on your cowtails as you go along. We had to swing from P-hanger to P-hanger with arms hooked over the rope to old yourself upwards and against the rock face. Quite scary and not something you get in many caves - nice to do something different!
Beyond here, Poseidon pitch followed - which wasn't quite as spectacular or long as I had expected, but nontheless provided some much needed SRT fitness training and an uncomplicated bit of high level sightseeing! From the bottom we spent a little while discussing how to rig the way down to the streamway rift that continued onwards (there are several places this can be rigged from boulders but all involved some rope rub). We found a knob of rock with some polythene over it which seemed to suggest this was the best way, and this seemed to work fine.
The rift at the bottom provided an entertaining ten minutes before the final pathetic sump was reached where the water disappears into the floor and the rift ends abruptly - this cave could definitely do with something a bit nicer at the end! However, overall Hurnel Moss was a clean, quick, uncomplicated SRT day out with an exciting top traverse! Very good for photography too (see photo gallery)!
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