Oxford University Cave Club

Huerta del Rey Expedition 1992

Final Report

OUCC Home Page

Expedition Reports Index

1992 Expedition Index

Small Caves in the Ario Area.

Area 4

This is the area beyond the Cabeza Covu - Cabeza Julagua ridge.

5/4 Location: 40m SE of 7/4, bearing 294 to Cabeza Julagua in 10m diameter shakehole.
Description: Large shakehole with a wedged boulder (small rocks can be dislodged from behind this onto the pitch). 15m pitch lands on a snow-plug with a steeply sloping rift heading NW. A climb and ladder leads to more rift with a perched lump of snow. Pitch drops 20m. To NNE a small stream passage leads off but it is too small to follow. Digging here woudl be very time consuming. To NW three more shafts connect from above, presumably 7/4.
7/4 Location: 295 to Cabeza Julagua, 100m SE (down valley) from 9/4 and 40m SW of the tree.
Description: Boulder slope with 2m free climb leads to a chamber with no way on.
9/4 Location: 30m from tree on bearing of 335, in cleft. Marked SIE partexpl.gif (131 bytes).
Description: At base of 18m entrance shaft two shafts lead off. The left hand shaft is about 25m deep and completely choked at the bottom. The right hand one is about 8m deep and partly climbable although a ladder is recommended. At the bottom of this shaft a passage zig zags for a short way before coming to an end. On the outside of the second left hand bend is a 4m climb leading to a hole that was not investigated.
10/4 Location: Over the ridge from 5/4, in a green depression, a small hole between boulders in the valley floor. Marked SIE noted.gif (128 bytes).
Description: 3m climb down to the head of 15m pitch, rigged from thread, which lands on a snow plug. At the bottom a bolt gives a 6m descent, with squeeze past second snow plug, onto third snow plug. There might be a way on under the snow, but this is unlikely.
11/4 Location: Upslope from 10/4. Marked SIE 1 bottomed.gif (134 bytes).
Description: Descends about 20m, free climbable with care, to a snow plug. Near the bottom a slot on L might be passable by a determined team with chisels, but doesn't look very promising.
15/4 Location: Same as the unnumbered shaft by 7/4 marked OUCC 88 bottomed.gif (134 bytes).
Description: Descends 8m to a choke.
27/4 Location: 5m to the right off the Culiembro path, 5 minutes over the Julagua ridge. Shaft with beech tree marked SIE bottomed.gif (134 bytes). 10-15m to a snow plug.
Description: Undescended.

Area 5

This is the area around Ario and includes the lower slopes of Jultayu and the Valle Extremero down as far as 53/5.

27/5 Location: Opposite Xitu, 500m distant and out of sight of the refugio on the slopes of Gustuteru. 040 to top of hill above Xitu col, 075 to Cabeza del Covu (the hill with the shepherds' huts on it), 234 to Gustuteru. Marked OUCC 80.
Description: Doesn't go at all. No sign of draughts mentioned in shaft bashing kit.
Unnumbered  Location: Possibly in area 9. Just up slope and 3m up valley from 27/5.
Description: Two blocked shafts. The larger of the two contains many butterworts (Pinguicula grandiflora). Between the two blocked shafts, and under the rock arch separating them, is a 3m drop, best negotiated via a short crawl from the larger shaft. Not descended, but worth a look.
Unnumbered Location: Just below the top of Gustuteru, approach from the left side of Gustuteru and climb up the obvious gulley near some sheep shelter caves. Bearings Jultayu 135, Cabeza Llambria 095, Cabeza del Covu 074.
Description: Two shafts 20-40m deep, marked SIE bottomed.gif (134 bytes). 'May be well worth a look'.
67/5 Location: 20m from 66/5 on a bearing of 300. Narrow shaft in shakehole.
Description: A shaft into too-tight rift, dug open but no way on.
68/5 Location: 40m W of 67/5, at base of cliff.
Description: A shaft which chokes, with lots of perched boulders at the top .
69/5 Location: In the Valley of Dry Bones, a strongly draughting hole.
Description: Dug to 5m depth. A little unstable.
70/5 Location: In the green valley going W from the metal signpost on the Trea path towards the site of the 1992 flooded campsite. A bedding plane crawl on the S side of the valley at an obvious overhang.
Description: A T-shaped passage, a bedding plane with a rift in the floor. After 5m it becomes flat out and two moonmilk stalactites impede progress slightly. Beyond a wiggle and squeeze, the Squish, leads to a right hand bend which must be passed on one's right side. Ends in a knob of rock which needs hammering to reach an enlargement of the passage. Total length about 25m.

Area 7

This area is made up of the Jou del Jultayu, the bowl between Jultayu and Cuvicente and the slopes of Jultayu and Cuvicente.

43/7 Location: above 46/7 on left (true right) hand side of limestone.
Description: Apparently undescended.
44/7 Location: Small hole 5m S of 46/7.
Description: Undescended 5m climb.
45/7 Location: 30m WNW of 46/7.
Description: Rift with snow plug: possible way on past snow.
46/7 Location: W of Jultayu bowl.
Description: Snow plugged.

Area 9

This is the area around the 306m vertical shaft Tras la Jayada between areas 7 and 8.

16/9 Location: Just below Cuvicente-Verdelluenga ridge, 100m to col on bearing of 160.
Description: Several 30m shafts with snow in them.
17/9 Location: To right (true left) of La Jayada is a green area with an obvious choked shakehole. Uphill to the right over a little ridge is a shallow valley with a snow plug. In the (true) right side of this wall is a cleft.
Description: Clamber down and double back under boulders. Not pushed further.

Area 10

This is the area on and beyond the Green Ridge of Jultayu and including the Valle Extremero below the 53/5 bowl.

17/10 Location: The cave is reached from a point on the green ridge of Jultayu, overlooking the Trea Valley, about 50m above the Trea path and 10m below a prominent lump of rock with a tree in the Trea side. Bearings: Cad la Requexada 92, first bunch of trees in the Trea valley 120.
Description: An exciting 50m abseil (two spike belays, bolt 8m down, bolt just above lip) with fine views of the gorge, lands on a vegetated ledge. The cave is at the top the ledge, and visible from the prow in the Trea valley. Chokes immediately.

Area 11

This is the area behind the ridge behind the Ario refugio, first investigated in 1991. It is marked as Jou de Ario on the maps.

13/11 Location: On the SE face of the first ridge, about 600m on a bearing of 310 from the peak of Cabeza Julagua.
Description: Small system with 5 separate entrances, 3 easily passable. Cleft in cliff can be entered into a rift about 10m long, access to entrance is easier at higher level and the rift widens out after about 2m, where small skylight entrance can be seen above. The rift closes down again, although it may be just passable, about 7m into cave, where daylight is visible beyond the constriction. This comes from one of two entrances in large cleft near ridge top, and this entrance gives access to the remaining 3m of rift beyond the above noted constriction. Doubling back under this entrance, the rift continues slightly to the right and can be followed for about 2m to an easy squeeze into a roomy chamber. The other entrance comes in above this squeeze. The chamber is about 5m long and slopes away from the entrance. Halhvay down the right hand wall an inlet comes in along a tight sinuous rift through which the fifth entrance can be seen but is too tight. At the bottom of the chamber a rift leads off downwards but is choked after 4 metres by largish boulders. No way on or draught is apparent.
14/11 Location: In valley below 13/11, at bottom of shakehole.
Description: Two large bouldery rills with trickling water draining into a shakehole.
15/11 Location: On NW face of Cabeza Julagua 50m below summit, just above one of the paths leading to Ario. 2 Obvious entrances.
Description: Right hand entrance: short climb up, obviously blind. Left hand entrance: entertaining traverse to reach sizeable entrance and vestibule about 4m long and 2m deep. Three ways off, all appear to be silted up. Bottom entrances seep water, and appear to be probably resurgence entrances rather than inlet entrances. Not speleologically exciting, but very obvious landmarks from valley below.
16/11 Location: On the NE side of Cabeza La Forma, 5m N of the path leading to the Ario Refugio and on top of a small spur. Cabeza La Forma 193, Cabeza Julagua 101, Cabeza Las Campanas 345. Not marked.
Description: Obvious hole in the ground. Triangular vertical shaft about 2.5m by 1.5m at the top and 10m deep. A passage heads S at the bottom by a small snow plug several metres high.
17/11 Location: Not recorded.
Description: Surface rift 0.75m by 5m at the top and approximately 4m deep with a bouldery floor. The rift is oriented N - S, and the floor slopes slightly to the S. At the bottom a tight squeeze leads E, passable if a few boulders were removed. Beyond the squeeze a narrow passage leads N. On the surface, 10m to the N, a tight vertical slit is almost certainly the end of the passage described above. 2 or 3 small holes in the rock lie along the line between the end of the passage and the second surface slit.

Area 12

This is the area on the slopes above Culiembro. It is of interest because it may be the site of a fossil resurgence of 2/7.

6/12 Location: On Culiembro path, obvious large entrance in cliff at altitude of around 800m.
Description: Might be 3/12. Chokes immediately.
7/12 Location: A bit below 6/12, another large entrance.
Description: This might be 3/12 too. An artificial staircase of rock leads up to a wooden fence across the entrance. Chokes immediately.
8/12 Location: Follow the higher of the two Culiembro paths from Oston. Where it starts zigzagging down the valley go straight on at the first bend and follow a goat track round onto the rib. Climb down and continue traversing downwards to meet a narrow and exposed goat track round the edge of the rib to suddenly arrive at the cave.
Description: Chokes immediately.
9/12 Location: Same height as Oston, on a bearing of 050 to Oston.
Description: Triangular entrance 3m high, 1.5m wide. Chokes immediately.
10/12 Location: 40m above 9/12.
Description: Large entrance under overhang with fir tree in entrance. Large chamber with artificial walls at back. Crawl at back chokes immediately. Climb to right leads to second chamber with 10 cm wide continuation.