Oxford University Cave Club

1998 Expedition: "Jultayu"

Picos de Europa, Spain

1998 Expedition Report - Contents

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27/9 survey

27/9. Bill's Cave or Cueva del Pastor Cantato

Description based on Log book entries with help from Keith Hyams.

Location: 065 to Cabeza Llambria, 118 to Jultayu, 156 to Cuvicente, 218 to La Verdulluenga.

Rectangular depression with rift entrance on east side of on the south-west upper slopes of Gustutero. Follow path from Martini pool, then climb up slope before reaching a large boulder. Spiky 10m entrance pitch to chamber (Bolt Y-hang with natural back-ups) with a horizontal squeeze through to 2s drop. Second 10m pitch leads immediately to a third 10m pitch in the same rift with progress barred at the bottom by a dig (BFS, Jo, Barry). This was dug into Rocking Horse Rift, where the cave becomes larger is just around the corner.

Boulders passed to enter "Rocking Horse Rift", with 20m pitch "The Chocolate River" reached through a small hole in the floor after 5m and named after the mud and calcite stream-way ahead (CJD, KH). A second hole in Rocking Horse Rift was pushed (AW, KH) leading to an 8m where a tight rift beneath boulders joins the base of Chocolate River. The two routes meet in a large chamber with the next pitch, The Singing Pasteur, in the corner. This is an impressive 35m pitch in a large rift. Care is needed at the pitch head, which appears to be solid, but is in fact very loose and you need to hide a surprisingly long way around the corner at the bottom to avoid ammunition. This lands in a large rift with a small stream.

Upstream, over boulders, leads to an exposed fee climb, leading to a high level phreatic running above the rift. A small, constricted inlet ("For Carbide's Sake") under a large boulder has not been fully explored but seems unlikely to go anywhere. Downstream leads through pretty calcite formations to the head of the 6th pitch, another 20m drop, the final pitch. This is blind, but a few metres above the bottom, a rift can be entered via a short climb, ending when the combination of tightness and an awkward S bend prevent further progress. There is a decent draft at this point, and hammering may be worthwhile to gain the widening rift below (DL, LB). Alternatively climbing up the rift over calcite flow-stone "Nocilla Streamway" enters "The China Grotto" a superbly decorated chamber with crystal pools, "Chinese Flames" and plenty of stal. A way on may exist over the China Grotto, but this would certainly destroy the formations with no guarantee of reward (HJ, KH).

Pitch Rope Rigging
Entrance (P9) 10m* Bolt Y-hang with natural back-ups. 
2nd pitch (P7) 10m* Y-hang from two wires around naturals. May need back-up before squeeze.
3rd Pitch (P6) 10m* Bolt Y-hang
Chocolate River (P22) 30m
Chocolate Bypass (P8) 20m
Singing Pasteur (P37) 45m
Final pitch (P17) 20m

     *Can be rigged with a single 30m rope.