Tassie Pot and Owl Pot 23/7/11 (by Janine McKinnon)

Tassie Pot & Owl Pot 23/7/11

Party: Serena Benjamin, Trent Ford, Petr Smejkal, Janine McKinnon

This is my half of the “two caves in one day training for China for Janine, Serena and Alan” epic.

Alan and his crew of two got away from the cars first. No surprise there. I think Alan had already decided this was a competition. We weren’t far behind though and were soon rigging the entrance pitch of Tassie Pot.

Our rope lengths were interesting. One rope to the rebelay on the first pitch and then another from there to the bottom of the second pitch.  This meant that I really needed to have two anchor points at the first rebelay, the p-hanger there and a natural which is about a metre below. This took me a few (quite a few) minutes to get the length of the bunny ears right, time that Alan wouldn’t be losing rigging Owl Pot (he had been there recently and remembered the rigging well).

Not that I was in a race with him, or anything….

Second pitch rigging went quickly and smoothly, and then I hit a small snag on the third pitch. We spent some time rigging this. More time lost.

Not that I was in a race with him, or anything….

I got to Goodbye Chamber, with Petr close behind, and we waited for the others with the rest of the rigging gear. And waited. Where were they?

Trent hadn’t heard Petr call “rope free” and had been waiting at the top of the third pitch. Finally he decided to go down. More lost time.

Not that I was in a race with Alan, or anything….

All went smoothly once we had the rest of our party and we all got to the bottom of the 71m pitch. I immediately started up, as we still had another cave to do today and,

I wasn’t in a race with Alan, of course….

As I prussiked up to the top above the first rebelay I thought I could hear voices. No, couldn’t be…

Bugger, it was.

After waiting for Alan to do a suitable amount of gloating (not that he was in a race, or anything, you understand..), I continued out of the cave.  Serena exited close behind me, and Petr soon after.

We had lunch and waited for Trent.

After half an hour we were getting cold and keen to get Owl Pot done.  We checked Tassie Pot and Serena saw Trent starting up the entrance pitch. After a shouted discussion he decided that he wasn’t keen to do Owl Pot so we headed off from the cars at 2:40pm.

The trip down the cave was quick and efficient. Alan had shown remarkably little faith in our determination and had de-rigged the bottom rope, and left it at the top of the previous pitch (just in case we did want to go to the bottom). We picked this up and re-rigged the pitch and dropped to the bottom. This was quickly done as Alan had left all the knots in the rope.

Bottom bagged, and it was straight back out. I had remembered the entrance pitch/slope as very muddy and unpleasant. I hadn’t been there in 25 years. It is nice to know my memory is accurate sometimes, although I’d have been happy for this to be one of those occasions that it was wrong. It may be another 25 years before I go there again.

Petr and I (de-rigging) were back at the cars at 5.30pm. So it wasn’t an epic day at all.

Alan and crew beat us by about 1.5 hours. Damn.

Not that we were in a race, or anything…

Janine McKinnon

Tassie Pot rigging guide,

P1. 42m.          Belay to tree at the edge of the pitch. Back up to tree 2m behind.

Rebelay p-hanger approx 7 m down. A natural flake 1m down and 0.5m to the right (facing wall) if desired.

P2. 24m        Stay on rope from P1. 2 X P hangers on RH wall (facing down cave) at       Head height.

P3. 18m       Backup and safety line around obvious chock in floor. Anchor 2X P-hangers 5m down.

P4. 71m.  Tie back to very large boulder in floor, 5m from pitch head.  Allow an extra 20m of rope for this, or 10m tape plus rope. 2 X P-hangers at waist height on LH wall at pitch head. 1 X P-hanger rebelay at approx 8m, and another 1 X P-hanger rebelay at edge of lip approx 20 further down. 76m rope absolute minimum, 80m good length.