Oxford University Cave Club

Cave Research Group publication 14

1961 Oxford University Expedition to Northern Spain

1961 Expedition Report (CRG 14)

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Some Notes on 1963 Discoveries

A further expedition to the Picos de Europa area took place in the summer of 1963, when members of the OUCC spent their third summer in the region, this time joining forces with certain members of the Gouffre Berger 1962 team to form the Oxford-Derbyshire Expedition to North-West Spain 1963. The Refugio de la Vega de Enol was again used as the expedition base.

A pothole close to the track to Lago de Enol, thought to be associated with the drainage of the polje Vega de Comeya, was found to be 250 feet deep, much smaller than was hoped.

The Pozo los Texos, in the remote Vega Maor, a dry valley at about 1300 m. above sea level, was explored. A 300 foot pitch leads to a scree slope which descends to passages about 600 feet below the surface. A nearby pot of 450 feet with little development was also explored, as well as another 600 feet pot nearer Lago de la Ercina.

A more interesting discovery was the resurgence cave in the valley of the Rio Redumana. A large dry entrance soon leads to a fine stream passage and large chambers. A climb up a 50-foot waterfall leads into an older part of the system which contains interesting contorted formations covered with bergmilch. The explorers were trapped in the roof series on one occasion when a freak thunderstorm broke. The source of the water in this cave is a matter of interest, for the 1961 survey of C15 shows the active rising at the inner end to be under the upper part of the valley of the Rio Redumana, and it may be that the two are connected.

Other interesting explorations in 1963 were the Pozo Altiquer to the southeast of the refugio and the Jou Cabau on the ridge to the southwest of the Vega Redonda shelter. Pozo Altiquer is at least 300 feet deep and may be deeper, but heavy rain prevented further exploration. Jou Cabau has a large open shaft and may be over 250 feet deep.

These new discoveries whetted the appetites of those present, and as a result yet another expedition to the area is planned for the summer of 1964. It may be many years before the Picos de Europa finally gives up all its underground secrets.

M.J. Walker, London. April 1964 .