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Photograph of the volcano formation in Witches II Cave

De Profundis, Notts Pot - A Rigging Guide

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This series of articles is intended for the guidance of experienced cavers, who may not be familiar with the details of the best routes through the more complex systems in the Yorkshire Dales. To echo the sentiments in Northern Caves, it "is intended as guidance for the wise, not the obedience of fools"

De Profundis, Notts Pot, Rigging Guide


This route provides an interesting alternative to Birthday Pot on Adamson's route, and descends the impressive shaft of De Profundis, originally discovered by Lancaster University Speleological Society in 1969.

Aerial Combat

This pitch has been bolted to save clambering up the steep, loose boulder slope from the first ledge of Birthday Pot. The traverse line starts from the top of Birthday Pot. A second traverse bolt may be found on the left wall before the floor disappears. Tip-toeing along the muddy ledge beneath chockstones past another traverse bolt reaches a Y-hang which drops onto the col between Birthday Pot and De Profundis. This and the next pitch can both be rigged with one 45 m rope.

De Profundis

Two bolts on the right wall above the col provide security, and a bolt leading out over the pitch on the left wall reaches a Y-hang that avoids the boulder slope below. A deviation at minus three metres prevents rope rub. The landing is on a pile of boulders overhanging the way on, so care should be taken.


A squeeze at the bottom of a dig at the base of De Profundis, or more easily and with greater safety, a small passage on the other side of the chamber, both lead into a small stream passage. A second squeeze downstream arrives on a platform overlooking the bottom section of Birthday Pot. Beware - the rock in this area is sharp and loose. A natural thread adjacent to the entry point on the left can be used to provide security, and a high Y-hang and a deviation on the opposite side of the shaft allows the rope to clear the sharp rocks round the edge, and just below the obvious ledge half-way down a deviation on the opposite wall allows the rope to clear the walls above and below. The pitch below is the final pitch of the Birthday Pot route.

Tackle Required

Rope: 20 m & 28 m (or 45 m); 20 m
Carabiners / Maillons: 10 (excluding first bolt on traverses)
Snap links: 3 for deviations
Deviation slings should be in place, but a short sling is required for the start of Pandora.

Note: This route was bolted as part of the CNCC Technical Group bolting programme.