Marble Steps by Peter Benn

Marble Steps: Phil, Peter, Richard and Adam Evans (19th April 2009).

Following a curry night with the NPC at Greenclose to talk about Berger, myself and Adam Evans (independent potholer) and none of the NPC set off to meet up with Richard at the pump house having stopped for some breakfast in Ingleton.

Quite a few turned out for this one and as an SRT practice it proved to be an excellent day out.  Richard and Adam rigger the wet route, then the dry route, whilst Ian scuttled off down the gully and off to investigate the depths of Marble Step – his has written a review of his adventure.

With the sun shining it was hard to get motivated, but once Phil had said he was off for a dump, I started down the wet route, which traversed above the streamway (since we didn’t have a long enough rope!) and looped round back to the top of the gully.

That seemed fairly easy, so with Phil, we decided on the dry route next…memories of a nasty pothole in France. Tight all the way as this is a drilled out route until finally arriving at the first pitch – nice for contortionists and a good test of rigging your descender without being able to turn your head to see what you are doing!

Once past there it all became a bit vague…apart from stopping at the top of a drop and wondering where to go next? Phil was someway behind cursing (as I had done) so I though I’d wait…whilst waiting I noticed some SRT scratch marks on top of a small shelf on my left and decided to plod on to see where that went – lo and behold a pitch in a rift behind the drop I was waiting at. Down that pitch and down another…well not that efficiently as I’d made the mistake of re-belaying to the wrong rope and went the wrong way, only to see my mistake and the go back to the top of the second pitch.

Finally arriving at the bottom of the gully with no sound of Phil, I decided to go up the gully to see if anyone way about.

Phil finally emerged from the entrance of the dry route having descended and retuned the same way not looking happy (does he ever?) – “I lost a battery” (I assume at the top of the first pitch) and “How did you cope with the climb-down?”…hmm what climb-down? I used the rope!

An excellent day out! And a big thanks to Richard.