I rappelled the 120 feet to the 45° slope ahead of Betsy. As I passed the Fishhook, no lines were on it as it should be since we had not gone past the slope area to the next drop. The next thing I know, Betsy is hung up on the Fishhook. Her rope was perpendicular to her hung up on the projection. Her rope wasn't really in the Fishhook but on the flat projection just above it. I told her to pull in about six feet of rope, loop it, then throw it at the projection. She could not pull in the rope (200 feet still being down below her) and was getting concerned. I didn't have my ascending gear on so I told her to rest a minute while I put my Rope Walker system. I then climbed up to her, pulled about 6 feet of slack in the rope and threw the slack at the Fishhook which took it right off. All was well then. I changed over to descend and we dropped the rest of the way down to Rita and Pat making sure the ropes were well away from the Fishhook.
Betsy at the bottom of the
coming into the walking section of the cave.
At the bottom of the rappel, Betsy and I met Pat and Rita. The drawing on the front cover only shows the rappel section of the cave. We were going to try to explore the walking part of the cave but decided to exit. It takes so long to come and go, one must worry about everyone standing around too long and getting cold. Since Pat and Rita came down first, they started up. About 20 minutes later, I could barely here Rita yelling to me, "Joedy, you need to come up. We have a problem!" I raced up to where they were. Rita was at the bottom of the 120' drop and was sitting on the only flat area in one corner of the 45° mud slope off rope. I was on her rope, rope two. Pat was suspended 20 feet off the floor and totally exhausted. One or more of several things had gone wrong. Either his foot loop rope from top ascender to feet was too short, he was pushing his top ascender up to far forcing him to lay back instead of keeping his feet under him as he ascended, he was out of shape, or, a combination of all. In any event, he couldn't even lift his arms. Quickly ascending up to Pat, I assessed his situation. I did not have my pick off strap or pulley with me. They were in my bag topside. Pat had to help. I got him to stand up an inch and got his Croll ascender off rope. I then put his rack on and tied it off. I had to then climb up and have him stand an up inch again and got off his top ascender. I then climbed down loosening the Gibbs ascenders one by one and got him started down. He then had to rappel down and walk 15 feet to Rita on the 45° slope. In his weakened condition, it took a couple of minutes to have him understand that he had to stand perpendicular to the slope to walk to her instead of upright slipping in the mud. Once over to Rita, she hooked back into his rope. I then told them that we were going to have to haul him out of the cave. I would climb to the surface, set up a haul system, and once I was out, Betsy should start out, then Rita.
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