Mossdale Session 29 - 28/12/17
'The reality of this process gets stranger by the session'
I've attempted to write this one up several times since New Year. But couldn't settle with any of it.
Some experiences are hard to translate in to words. Having one hand tied behind your back has a marked effect as well.
These past months worth of Sessions have changed me for sure. I envisaged enough I thought to articulate. What ever it was was always on the tip of my tongue. I gave up trying long after everything but the urge to share was lost.
'I haven't revised my opinion relating to this place being a killer. What I have revised is the fact a great majority of those with an opinion regarding 'what it is' are full of shit'
An unexpected visit, during a brief frost over the Christmas Holidays.
I was out of touch with the weather so hadn't known what to expect relating to conditions. I left a call-out with Adele for the following day. Some 20+ hours in to the future. I wasn't planning a long session but something told me I should leave a large margin.
Today was my last chance of 2017 for definite. The weather was about to close out till after the New Year. Heavy snow was forecast to arrive long before my call-out expired.
The sink loomed unnervingly large and swollen! Another uncertain visit!
After peeling away the layers of Ice I realized it was just an illusion and not as bad as it seemed. Water levels were far lower than they appeared. I wouldn't know for sure till I got down there though. Thankfully I wasn't wrong.
Levels were well down from Session 28 and similar to 27. They'd seemed remarkable at the time, but now they just seemed normal.
'My training regime was simple, you make something exceptional commonplace'
The Swims were almost crystal clear in places. I think better lighting as helped highlight this event, more than it was a freak.
I don't remember much about the journey in. Likened to one of those absent driving experiences.
I'm beginning to feel oddly placed in this scenario. As if the place I expected to be bears little resemblance to the one I've found.
I made little effort to get comfortable at the working end. I relaxed into what I was doing, but everything felt rushed, clumsy and for the most part hurt. One consolation was my ability to put up with and ignore the suffering, which I did. I don't usually bruise enough to show, but had a few afterwards.
This was my 2nd Session excavating a route down through the choke - North-Easterly - towards a cavity. Plugs and Feathers were incorporated to break-up a number of boulders I'd failed to shift the previous session. Even though I was careful I dropped one of the shims! Recoverable hopefully once the route is opened a little more. Two final pieces of timber were removed. One of them, again, appeared to be a well wedged prop. I said in previous Sessions that I'd chopped all the timber out, either I hadn't noticed them or just forgot they were there. At the time they were doing no harm. I couldn't find the folding saw, but found they were so rotten a hammer and chisel sufficed.
The hours appeared to fly by accompanied by the feeling I'd again gone well past my limit. Yet when I checked the time, it was only 3pm. I'd been underground for less than two hours!
To save weight I'd only taken one drill battery. Operations were largely governed by power which ran out before my resolve. It was almost four when I left the choke, but I could have continued for a few more hours had I brought the resources. Two wedged boulders stand in my way for next time. I could have dealt with these but decided not to risk my plugs/feathers. They're oddly shaped and wedged together in a gap. A single well placed cap would be the best option. But this means compromising on my antiquated approach. We will see. A short period was spent making more room to work before I left, shuffling boulders about. A large flake like boulder I'd resentfully shared the cage with since early on was split in to a few pieces and shifted out of way.
The only significant mention during exit was a fall in water levels of at least a couple of inches. The marker spot in question - situated at the end of the swims just before the climb up to Boulder Hall - was dubbed the 'Beach Head Marker' during this visit.
Darkness had long settled by the time I reached the surface. The only thing that bordered above from below was the grass. The night of this place is absolute.
'Strange sounds are carried to Scar by night, reflections of the world left behind' - 'Marathon Obsession'
© Simon Beck, 2018. The copyright for this article and photographs remains with the author. It should not be reproduced without permission.