magfish: (the hills are alive)
[personal profile] magfish
hurrah for trying new things! this weekend was spent in wales in the fine company of [livejournal.com profile] willmate, [livejournal.com profile] nisaba and [livejournal.com profile] denalyia, during which we were introduced to the wonderful world of caving by [livejournal.com profile] willmate. i've always been totally daunted by the idea of caving - for some reason, the idea of going underground into a dark and dingy cramped little space scared the bejaysus out of me. it wasn't that i'm especially (if at all) claustrophobic, but i got the same sick feeling in my stomach at the thought of caving that i used to get when i thought about diving. anyway, being the stubborn old boot that i am, the fact that i feared it meant it was inevitable that i would eventually have to grasp the nettle and go underground...

and i had a fabulous time - i have no idea why i thought i'd hate it, as it actually seems to be totally up my street. ok, i know we only did two really REALLY easy routes (even i could tell that they were pretty straightforward and unchallenging, despite not finding them entirely so this weekend), but i thoroughly enjoyed the experience. it was like climbing and hiking and paddling and rolling around in the mud and adventure playground trekking and more climbing all rolled into one, and it was FUN. although it wasn't like any climbing i've done before - we were wearing wellies, for starters! i'm actually amazed at how much grip you actually get on a vertical wet rock face in a pair of wellies - i wonder if us rock climbers have missed a trick there? it was a bit of a challenge for me to stop myself climbing like a climber (technique, showing off your skills and a lot of fancy foot/hand work) and climb like a caver instead (brute force, getting the job done by hook or by crook, technique be damned), but i think i cracked it on sunday afternoon as i was pushed by my feet across a rock table on my stomach... i had to be pushed as i was too busy laughing uncontrollably at the thought of how glamourous i must look to have any strength to pull myself across under my own steam.

in some ways, it reminded me of my abortive attempts to learn to dive - there seems to be the same sense of camaraderie amongst cavers that i found in my six months in the diving world, as well as the same obsession with kit, the same degree of pre-trip faffage and the same sort of post-trip discussions around the fire. although i've yet to decide which group is more insane... ;-)

i can't be bothered to type it out again, so i'm just going to lazily link to will's post instead. ;-) if you want to see some pictures, there was a lot of climbing down great big rock piles like this, crawling through holes like this (aka the corkscrew) and a lot of this and this.

now: when can we go again??! *bounce*

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 09:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rich-r.livejournal.com
for some reason, the idea of going underground into a dark and dingy cramped little space scared the bejaysus out of me

Is that why you drank so heavily in Ziggys? Not only a dark, dingy, cramped underground space - but also full of goths and rockers?

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 10:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rich-r.livejournal.com
That is impressive!

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 10:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
Oh God. I have nightmares which look very like the Corkscrew. Sounds like you had an excellent time, but I don't think it would be my cup of tea at all!

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steer.livejournal.com
That really does sound great actually. Spooky though that weight of rock. I'd definitely like to try it sometime.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 10:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sara-lou.livejournal.com
One of the loves of my life was an avid caver. :-)

As usual, it looks like something I'd really like to try but... are there worms, or similar horrible squelchy slimy things?

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-prickle.livejournal.com
Sounds like you had a really great time. Love the photos.
(deleted comment)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nils.livejournal.com
Ooh, that sounds rather cool... ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-07-10 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoo-music-girl.livejournal.com
Well done, I feel claustrophobic just reading about it!

I was hoping I'd catch you at the tube station this morning to hear all about it but the closure put paid to that!