Oxford University Cave Club

Extremero Expedition 1991


Expedition Diary

Jenny Vernon

26th JuneFirst expedition members and expedition vehicle leave Britain.
27th June Expedition arrives at Los Lagos. Base camp established at Lago Ercina.
28th-30th JuneGear carried up the hill; camp established at Ario.
30th June2/7Cave rigged to Flying Rebéllés.ADS TSH DEL
1st July2/7Rigged to the bottom of GTP.DJM DRB PAR
2nd July2/7Camping gear and ropes portered to the end of the rifts.ADS DEL MC
3rd July2/7Portering trip to the end of the rifts.DJM DRB TSH
4th July53/5Boulder blocking the entrance passage hammered.DEL PAR
5th July2/7Rigged to the bottom of Armageddon.ADS DEL PAR
6th July2/7Somnambulist Series investigated.ADS AC
8th JulySkull CaveRigged to limit and the Eft hammered.DH PAR
8th July2/7Rigged down to the Crash Pad.ADS DRB DEL
8th July53/5Boulder removed using pulley system.GL SGR
9th July2/7Portering trip to the end of the rifts.DJM AC TSH PAR CJD
9th July53/5Boulders loosened with crow bar.GL MC
10th July53/5Removed several boulders.SGR MN DH
11th-13th July2/7First camping trip. Day 1 - cave rigged to the Big Ledge and camp established. Day 2 - cave rigged to Primula Point and camp moved; route in London Underground marked with string; Tony's Back Passage found. Day 3 - returned to surface.DJM ADS DEL MC
11th JulySkull CaveEft hammered.GL
11th July64/5Cave dug and then abandoned as too dangerous.GL DRB DH
12th July53/5More hammering.TCG DH DRB
12th JulySkull CaveThe Eft and pitch head above The Hollow Men hammered.PMM CJD
12th July65/5Cave found.TCG DH DRB
13th July53/5Another boulder removed.DH JA AC TCG CJD SGR
13th JulySkull CaveThe Eft and pitch head above Hollow Men hammered.PAR TSH
13th July65/5Cave investigated and bottomed.CJD TCG
14th-17th July2/7Second camping trip. Day 1 - down to camp at Primula point. Day 2 - route through Bod marked with string; Clanger and Pimpernel pitches rigged. Day 3 - streamway traverse lines from camp to Bod and at the base of Colostomy Climb rerigged; rope rigged for swing across the streamway. Day 4 - returned to surface.PMM PAR CJD DRB
14th July53/5More hammering.TCG GL MN
14th JulySkull CaveHollow Men pitch head hammered.TSH ADS
15th July53/5Final boulder removed; Coffin Lid squeeze passed and Pterodactyl Pitch descended.MN SGR GL TCG
15th JulySkull CaveThe Hollow Men pitch head hammered.ADS TSH
16th July2/7Somnambulist Series investigated.DEL
16th July53/5Pointless Pirhana Pitch and a dead end found; Big Biscuit rift hammered and pushed to head of Witch Doctor; most of new finds surveyed.TCG GL SGR MN
16th JulySkull CaveThe Hollow Men pitch head hammered.ADS
17th July53/5Witch Doctor rigged and Shagging the Hedgehog rift pushed.MC DH TCG
18th-22nd July2/7Third camping trip. Day 1 - down to camp. Day 2 - discovery of Tim's New Bit. Day 3- Pushing in Tim's New Bit; 50m of new phreatic passageway and a climb up to a small chamber found. Days 4 and 5 - returned to surface.SGR MN TSH TCG
18th JulySkull CaveThe Hollow Men pitch descended and inlets at the bottom investigated.ADS DJM
18th July53/5End of Shagging the Hedgehog hammered and pushed to the head of another pitch.GL MC DV
18th JulyArea 5Surface survey from 12/5 to 53/5.DH AC
19th July53/5Pitch beyond Shagging the Hedgehog descended; rift found to become too tight. Survey through Big Biscuit rift and down Witch Doctor completed.MC GL
19th July53/5Silence of the Sheep surveyed.DH AC
19th JulySkull CavePitches beyond The Hollow Men descended; rift at bottom hammered.ADS JGV
20th July53/5Rift at end of cave hammered; squeeze passed to another squeeze.JGV GL
21st JulySkull CaveExploration of cave complex below Hollow Men; way on found down a 40m rift.ADS CJD
21st JulyLa JayadaUnsuccessful attempt to put dye into melt water - ice plug found to be frozen solid.DJM JA JGV
22nd-25th July2/7Fourth camping trip. Day 1 - down to camp. Day 2 - Choke Egbert investigated; stream swing rerigged to a pulley-line; Tim's New Bit dug. Day 3 - Tim's New Bit dug; Colostomy Climb rerigged. Day 4 - returned to surface.ADS DEL PAR DJM
22nd July53/5Shagging the Hedgehog surveyed.WJS CJD
23rd July53/5Shagging the Hedgehog enlarged; terminal squeeze hammered and passed into tight rift; start of Wol's Passage discovered.GL
23rd July53/5Inlets at bottom of Witch Doctor investigated; bottom rift hammered.JGV TCG
23rd JulyArea 4Shaft bashing.DRB
24th JulyArea 11Unsuccessful search for Pozu Optimisto. 2/11 discovered.PMM WJS
25th-28th July2/7Fifth camping trip. Day 1 - down to camp. Day 2 - digging in Tim's New Bit; Egbert investigated; pulley-line over the streamway rerigged back to a swing. Day 3 - explored previously undescended shaft in Bod. Day 4 - returned to surface.CJD DV JGV PMM
25th July53/5Inlets at junction downstream from Pterodactyl examined; Wol's House and Passage explored; pendule over Pointless Pirhana Pitch rigged and passages on far side explored.TCG WJS
25th JulyArea 4Shaft bashing.GL
25th JulyTrea ValleyCave marked on the map investigated; found to be only a scoop in the rock.GL RCG
26th JulyArea 11Shaft bashing. Unsuccessful search for Optimisto; caves 3/11 - 8/11 discovered.WJS
26th JulyArea 4Shaft bashing.RCG SGR
26th JulyArea 10Shaft bashing. Caves 7/10 - 12/10 discovered. Great excitement over 10/10.WJS SGR RCG
26th JulyArea 4Shaft bashing. Caves 13-26/4 discovered and explored.TCG
27th July10/10Cave explored to a choke and surveyed.SGR WJS RCG MN TCG
28th July10/10Cave identified as 2/10 - previously explored.GL
28th July53/5Decorated chamber above Pointless Pirhana Pitch discovered.WJS TCG
28th JulyJultayuJultayu climbed to get a view across to Iestyn's A Cave - an unexplored hole half way up the far wall of the Valle Extremero. Valley of Dry Bones discovered - a large strongly draughting surface boulder ruckle.RCG
28th JulyValley of Dry BonesDigs started in two places.RCG GL
29th July53/5Terminal rift hammered.GL
29th JulySkull CavePotential leads at bottom investigated.ADS
29th JulyValley of Dry BonesDiscovery of 66/5. Cave pushed down first pitch, through Corner Shop to head of the second pitch - Los Miserables.TCG RCG WJS
29th JulyArea 11Shaft bashing. Caves 9-12/11 discovered and explored; 2/11 and 8/11 examined.PMM
30th July53/5Photography trip. Rerigged Piranha Pendule and rigged climb beyond.DJM WJS DRB
30th July66/5Los Miserables descended and following rift pushed to head of Chock-Stone Pitch.JGV TCG
31st July66/5Chock-Stone Pitch and Route 66 descended.WJS ADS
1st-4th August2/7Sixth camping trip. Day 1 - down to camp; Tony's Back Passage surveyed. Day 2 - pit in Bod bottomed, surveyed and de-rigged; Reach for the Sky Hook climbed. Day 3 - Tim's New Bit surveyed and derigged. Tantalus pitch investigated - not fully descended due to lack of rope. Day 4 - returned to surface.DRB ADS DJM AC
2nd August53/5Started down cave to help with derigging, but gave up due to illness.DV
2nd August53/5Tape measure retrieved from head of Piranha pitch.PMM
2nd August53/5Cave derigged; Pirhana Pendule rerigged.GL
2nd August66/5Cave surveyed and de-rigged from the end to the top of Los Miserables.PMM DEL PAR
3rd August66/5Cave surveyed and de-rigged to the surface from the top of Los Miserables.JGV GL
3rd AugustArea 5Surface survey tying 66/5 and the Matterhorn in with 2/7.JGV GL
4th-6th August2/7Seventh camping trip. Day 1 - down to camp at Primula Point. Day 2 - camp packed up and moved to The Big Ledge. Day 3 - camp packed up and cave derigged up to start of rifts.GL DEL PAR JGV
5th AugustValle ExtremeroClimb up to investigate Iestyn's A Cave.CFW WJS
6th August2/7Meet campers from the seventh camp at Cemetery Gates. Help de-rig out as far as Ascension Pot.PMM CFW WJS
6th AugustValley of Dry BonesDigging in Negative Entropy ChokeGN BB
7th AugustSkull CavePhotography trip.BB ADS DJM UM
7th AugustArea 11Shaft bashing. Optimisto found. 4/11 explored.GN WJS
8th AugustSkull CaveBottom rift surveyed; cave derigged.DEL JGV ADS UM WJS
9th August2/7Final de-rigging trip. Ropes pulled out to the surface.ADS DRB DV JGV AC EB DJM DEL
10th-12th August - All the gear from 2/7 entrance and Ario camp carried down to Los Lagos. -
13th AugustBeach party.
14th AugustCamp packed up. Expedition leaves Lagos. Van clutch pedal breaks. Expedition drives to Santander without clutch.
15th AugustExpedition vehicle boards ferry back to Plymouth.