The CNCC online booking site now cover Leck fell! I'm not sure if it is meant to or if it is a beta version or something like that, but having a look last night for something to do today, I was reminded that I'd be foiled in an attempt to go through the Monastery route of Lost Johns' so the plan was set.
Perhaps it was missing Mr V, or the excitement of caving again 3 times in three days, but I couldn't sleep at all so when dawn came I gave up and set about packing bags. I think I may have awoken a visitor as I met him in the kitchen and I don't think he was very happy about it, oops!
Leck Fell was looking tremendous, but the wind took offence at you trying to enjoy it, I got kitted up sat in the boot.
Having not been to the Monastery route I was not exactly sure where it was and just having a rigging topo which I copied and encapsulated at the school house (nice), but no description, I was not really confident I was going the right way until I arrived at a set of bolts and fingers crossed it was the right 10m rope pitch! Heading forwards I finally arrived at the Old Roof Traverse. I found it by getting to the point where I couldn't go any further and back tracking. It was a successful technique, if annoying with two bulging bags. The initial Monastery traverse was over before I realised and I arrived at some bolts, which was the first small segment of the Monastery pitch before the swing to a little passage and a dryer descent. Meant to be rigged from a flake and a bolt, I could only see a CNCC bolt, a random Troll bolt perhaps and a piece of rope jammed in the wall. I couldn't fit a sling where the rope was so I opted for my first triple figure 8 and used all three anchors, despite their dubious nature. Typical that that is the 40m pitch!
Off at the bottom the water runs into a narrow rift with a cascade. I was put off by this. I couldn't tell from above if I could climb it and dropping down it to find I couldn't when on my own would be a tad foolish. In the end I used the tail of the main pitch rope and a sling to put in a handline and set off to Piscine pitch.
It was at this point my confidence left me. I wasn't sure if I was going the right way ( was it zig zag passage?) I was really cold, the joys of wet kit from late finish yesterday and a stuffed drying room [no oversuits in the drying room please, but where else can you hang them?] and I just settled for half a trip and decided to leave the rest for the possible exchange trip in the future.
Back at the cascade, I could climb it, nothing elegant but I was up and starting the long slog up Monastery pitch, gingerly thinking of those unknown quantities, 3 not ideal anchors and my knot tying ability. Very glad to arrive at the small passage and even more glad to only go a metre down the inlet not the entrance passage on the way out.
The sunshine was very welcome at the surface, the wind was still trying to blow me over and a quick change was slowed by the arrival of a friendly bloke wanting to chat whilst I was stood in a dripping furry suit teeth chattering.
Heading back along the lane I managed to get stuck behind a flock of sheep being moved and so that gave me chance to enjoy the view. Leck Fell is really a very attractive place despite it's inhospitable barren nature when it wants to be.
Apart from a possible end of the year trip if the stars align, that's my caving done for the year, seven trips, blimey! not the energetic caver I once was.
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