Oxford University Cave Club

1998 Expedition: "Jultayu"

Picos de Europa, Spain

1998 Expedition Report - Contents

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The Downstream 2/7 Leads List

Descriptions of potential leads that were worth checking in the order that they are met in the cave. Each lead is given one to five stars, depending upon how good Gavin Lowe thought it was pre-1998. Italicised text denotes 1998 explorations

Before Primula Point

[**] At the end of The London Underground, at the base of Paddington Choke, a rope is rigged up the left-hand side, ascending about 20m. Alternatively, it is possible to ascend to this point by an "interesting" climb on the right-hand side. At this point, it is possible to penetrate the choke, and various routes have been pushed to no conclusion as yet. The most explored of these is Lost Paul's Rift. Another way on may be to continue the climb up the left-hand wall. May have been checked by Paul and Lev but not pursued fully

Between Camp and Pimpernel Streamway

[**] At the top of Postman Pat, there are various climbs, and routes down through boulders.

Bright Lights and Hunt the Crowbar: The most significant find in this area was Bright Lights, a 60m climb to the right of the main drain starting opposite the bottom of Postman Pat. Several bolting trips (PM, JW, TS, AH, CD, JS) reached a 45 degree muddy slope in a upwards heading phreas heading perpendicular to the main drain. This broke out into a muddy rift where a 30m pitch "Hunt the Crowbar", dropped into an attractive, small, active streamway. Two short pitches (3m, 12m) and a short, wet crawl reached the head an undescended 15m pitch. The stream was, however, heading directly back towards Druscilla so it was believed that this was yet another inlet (JC, GL). It may be possible to follow the inlet upstream either at stream level or traversing from the head of the 30m pitch. See survey.

[**] In Bod, just before the climb into Soup Dragon, is a 10m diameter, 27m deep circular pot, Big Sloppy Job, dropping onto a flat, mud floor. A small cascade passage leads off at floor level. A 5m, overhanging climb leads down to a short pitch into a chamber with a suspended boulder roof. A tiny stream flows down a tight, muddy rift reminiscent of the top of Drucilla. The rift eventually closes down at a draughting hole from which comes the sound of roaring water. (see London Underground survey)

[***] In the left wall of Soup Dragon, is a large hole, the entrance to Tantalus. A short pitch leads to a muddy, loose slope. Round the corner is a second, larger pitch of about 50m. Initially the descent is in a narrow rift, but soon opens out to give an exposed hang in a large chamber, with an inlet entering from one side. The pitch was not fully descended due to lack of rope.  (see London Underground survey)

Tantalus Fully rigged, bottomed and surveyed. Appears to be inlet back into main drain (PM, JW) (see London Underground survey)

[**] The route through Soup Dragon passes the base of two small inlets, the White Inlets, which flow down over moonmilk. A ledge is visible at the top of these, which may be worth further exploration.

[**] Straight ahead from the White Inlets, reaches a short drop. Penduling across reaches a ledge at the bottom of a promising looking climb. However, on closer examination it was found to continue upwards, getting steeper and chossier, rather than gaining a higher level.

Neither of these appear to have been checked out thoroughly though a higher level was visible about 25m up (GL)

[****] Just before the descent to Pimpernel Streamway, a pit is passed on the left. This can be descended for thirty metres, to a floor from where a miserably small rift leads off. Alternatively, from half way down the shaft, penduling rightwards reaches a ledge form where a route over large boulders continues, unexplored.

Both drop back into Pimpernel (HJ, RD 23/7/98)

Pimpernel Streamway

[**] Part way along Pimpernel Streamway, on the right hand side, just after the first traverse, is a beach, at the foot of Colostomy Climb. Colostomy Climb ascends for ten metres over two horrendous rubs, to a ledge, which can be followed, to a choke, Not Colostomy Choke. Alternatively, continuing up the rope for a further 25m reaches a platform of boulders, very similar in character to Bod. It is possible to see from here to Clanger Pitch, and so it is believed that this is a continuation of the old high level. Traversing round to the right, reaches a choice of two routes. A climb straight ahead reaches a further climb up to The Black Hole. This is unfortunately just a route over boulders, leading to a shaft back to the streamway. An inlet enters from above, but was not ascended. Alternatively from the foot of the climb, continuing to the right reaches Colostomy Choke, which draughts strongly, and which appears easily diggable.

Pixie Steps From beach at end of third traverse, holes visible 15m up, back on right. Bolt climb started. (GL, FL 23/7/98). Hole reached - just a pocket. Possible climb up same fault, basically up side wall of main passage could attain point where substantial drip enters. (RW, RD 24/7/98). From stream corner a rope leads in two sections up a 25m climb, the Pixie Steps; this provides safe access to Colostomy Choke. Various leads to examine (TS, AH, PH 30/7/98): (see London Underground survey)

A: Follow rope as far as it goes. Go towards the big black space and sound of water. It may be worth bolting up from the high point (PH)
B: Up from the large boulder by the top of the rope. Not worth the bother. A further 10m up a small drafting chamber was reached with a ????? roof. Only way on was filled solid. Derigged. (PH)
C: Rift directly up above chockstone belay. You may die if you try this. And it didn't go anyway.(PH)
D: Colostomy choke. It's lovely and safe?? (PH)
E: Inlet too small to follow after 10m (TS)
F: Briefly looked at probable drop into streamway (TS)

[**] From the beach at the end of the second (third!) traverse, various muddy side passages lead off: most end in chokes, but further exploration may be fruitful.

[*****] From the beach described above, continuing straight ahead, a mud bank can be ascended to a climb into a loose choke; at the top it is possible to look through small holes into an open space beyond. This appears to be the continuation of the main rift.

All routes at top are choked and do not draft. Perhaps try lower (HJ 24/7/98) Committing (GL)

Survey: Downstream 2/7 between Primula Point Camp and Egbert, showing new finds in 1998.

Digs in and Around Egbert

[****] Just before Egbert, a low, wide crawl leads off from the right hand side of the stream, Tim's Bit. After several grovels in gravel, the passage splits. To the left is a series of very loose climbs up into a chamber in a boulder choke; several routes lead off but none go. Ahead, the passage continues as a low, wide, flat roofed phreas with boulders on the left. The passage ends at a boulder blockage which may be diggable.

Dig at end is cold, wet, miserable and very long term. Takes massive draft but not feasible as a going lead. Dig on left a short way back led to boulders. (DL)
More determined (and better prepared digging) took dig about 5m in where roof gave out to nasty cobbles that fall on your head. (JC, GL)

[**] It is possible to climb into the choke at various places, but no way on was apparent.

Passage opposite fourth traverse drafts and stream heard in Egbert. (HJ, AH 24/7/98) Hopeless (DL)

[*****] The stream splits in two, with both branches sinking. A Flood Overflow continues straight ahead, between the two branches. This leads into the choke for about twenty metres, to a short drop which needed some boulders removing from it. Just above this was a very dangerous chute, which had the annoying habit of dropping boulders onto unsuspecting diggers.

Looks long term (GL, FL 22/7/98) Serious walling needed. Nearly killed me (RW 24/7/98)
Dig through breakthrough to retrieve crowbar and wall up right hand side. Now reasonably safe for digging to continue (RW, AH 25/7/98)
Digging continues through clean washed boulders. Draught and sound of water getting stronger. Still a promising lead (JC, PH, HJ, NM, FL, CD)