IX: Triple Pot

Copyright (c) 1997 by Ronald Bourret

Bill just grinned, as if to say, "Welcome to caving on Vancouver Island." Waiting for us had left him almost bouncing with energy and, as soon as he had coiled the saturated roped and handed it to me, he grabbed his pack and hurried up the knee-wrecking crawl back to the second canyon. Ben and Paul followed soon after.

Taking advantage of my status as tail-end Charlie, I leaned back against a rock, opened my cave suit, and leisurely dried the lenses of my glasses on my T-shirt. Unfortunately, this was the extent of my rest. I knew that the others would be waiting and reluctantly shouldered my load, took a final look at the thundering waterfall on the far side of the pit, and ducked into the passage above.

The crawlway proved no easier going up than coming down. By the time I could stand up again, I was panting like an overweight businessman running to catch a plane and wondering if I had reached that station in life where athletic activity consists mostly of talking about the exploits of one's youth. It's just dehydration, I told myself. Still, I stopped every fifty feet to rest.

I caught the others at the base of a short chimney. This proved more difficult than it looked and I was pleased to see that they had as much trouble with it as I did. However, they vanished into the canyon above and the next sign I saw of them was a pile of packs at the junction to a narrow side passage. Guessing that this was a scenic detour, I followed it to a small room. The others were waiting in its entrance.

"The base of Triple Pot," Bill explained. "It bypasses Block Pot."

I took a quick look, then followed the others back to our packs. As we splashed up the stream in the main canyon, Ben remarked that the water seemed higher than on our trip in. Still, six inches of water in a narrow canyon didn't prepare us for what we saw at Block Pot. The waterfall near the base of the cliff, which had dribbled harmlessly down a side wall during our descent, was now a curtain of water fifteen feet wide and six inches thick.

Our rope ran straight through the middle of it.