Oxford University Cave Club

1998 Expedition: "Jultayu"

Picos de Europa, Spain

1998 Expedition Report - Contents

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New Caves Explored and Some Old Caves Revisited.

Descriptions based on Log Book entries.

Area 5 including Valle Extremero.

60/5 (LB, FAL, DL, HS). A small descending vadose passage round base of cliff to the right of 8/5. Described as requiring someone small to push squeeze at end. Someone small (LB) was unable to get out of daylight. No draught.

70/5 The Grotty Grovel. (DL, LB). Squeeze passed to reach standing passage (!) and two 25 foot climbs to total choke. Thank Christ.

72/5. (GL). 0 to base of Jou de la Cistra. 276 to Gustuteru. On slope overlooking Jou de la Cistra, about 100m west of Jultayu path. 2m diameter pot. 5m deep. May have rift leading off at bottom.

73/5* (JW) Cabeza Llambria 065, Jultayu 143. Likely digging site in steeply descending rift at edge of Jou de la Cistra.

74/5* (JW) Jultayu 146. 1m square hole in centre of green depression in Jou de la Cistra, suitable for midgets who like flies and caterpillars. Hole filled with ferns and with a wide rillenkarren catchment to south west.

75/5 (labelled 72/5). (ML, Lenik) UTM ref 434E890N. 50-100m S of 27/5. Found by contouring east from Martini Pool. 2m high rift at base of shakehole with a small phreatic tube at top. Boulders removed to make accessible to thin cavers. Slight draught and bigger passage or chamber about 2m in.

Another 72/5. Therefore 76/5. (RG, LB) 30m E of 54/5. 1m diameter phreas ending in a calcite blockage. View to passage beyond.

Valley of Dry Bones.

Several draughting holes.

1.Steep sloping dig of yore. 5-10m from base of cliff. Has received much attention in past. Dug to reveal small rift into chamber with three draughts (TG, LM, Jo). Both left and right are diggable with extreme care but have been left for another day (TG, LM, RG, LB).

2. Pozu Jenga. Under cliff. Smaller of two holes with noisy draught coming from rift. Diggable. Cliff face demolished to gain entry to a 6m pitch "Gravity Crisis" in the rift. Squeeze through boulders including the chockstone reaches a very draughty chamber. Easy digging in this unstable area looks really promising.

3. Far end of valley. Last of draughting holes. Short climb down, then head steeply down to boulder dig.

Trea Area

14/10 (CJD, LB) Cabeza Llambria 052, Cueto-La-Requexada 126, 170 to spur between CLR and Jultayu. Walk down Trea path until junction between CLR and route down to Huerta del Rey. Entrance is found by heading up grassy slope towards local peak. Entrance below peak, under small sloping overhang. Body sized rift drops into body sized tube. This heads down for 3m to top of 3m pitch in rift. Rig using ladder from flake. This drops to a sloping, bouldery floor to diggable, calcited, draughting dig in rift. Digging revealed a continuation of the passage (CJD, BL) but more digging is necessary before it can be entered by cavers.

Oston Area.

10/13 The Windy Cave of Oston (RG, JC). About 200m along the ridge W out of Oston towards Ario, a small draughting hole 10m to the left of the path. Sharp horizontal, triangular entrance enters a hading rift about 1m high. After 10m this opens to a chamber with old stal and choked passages ahead and to the left. To right, 3m climb to junction. Right leads to crawl after 4m. Left is more open and draughty and leads after 20-30m of easy going to crawling over fossil stal. Unexplored beyond.

Off Ario Path.

In valley to the left of head of Sod 2, by the alternative path. 20m W of draughting boulder collapse. Ladder pitch (ML).

Area 7

48/7 (JC, FL). 083 to Jultayu. 006 to Ario Refugio. Small entrance on slopes of Cuvicente overlooking Jultayu bowl. Slightly restricted shaft, that bells out into a chamber. 10m entrance pitch (not 20-30m as described in shaft bashing guide). No way on at bottom.

?/7 (BL, NP). Jultayu 144 and 10m W of 23/7 on Jou ridge. Small rift parallel to 23/7, 1m wide and 3m long. Stones rattle for 3-4s. 40m pitch?

Area 9

1/9 (JW) Large 300m diameter shakehole 200m SSE of TLJ, includes marked entrances of 7/9 and 8/9. Bearings of central boss of 1/9 shakehole. 172 and 191 to Cuvicente. 233 to La Verdelluenga. Gustuteru 316.

3/9 (JC, FAL). Also labelled 28/5. 020 to Ario Refugio. 130 to Cuvicente. Two shafts beside path that traverses scree slopes of Cuvicente. Higher shaft a 7m free-climbable but blind pot. Lower shaft known to be considerably deeper (see shaft bashing guide). Well positioned relative to upstream 2/7.

Unlabelled entrance (JC, FAL). Bottom of boulder filled ravine down slope and to true right of 3/9. Possible to drop between boulders into small chamber, but all ways on are choked.

7/9 (JW) 10m ESE (120) of central boss of 1/9.

8/9 (JW) 10m NNE (10) of central boss of 1/9.

10/9 (JW, KH, RD). 126 to Jultayu. 161 and 172 to Cuvicente. Below rillenkarren on west wall of rift valley between two rocky shakeholes. The valley runs N-S below summit of Gustuteru with view north to Lagos path and south to Cuvicente. Obvious hole above right of actual entrance goes nowhere. Small rectangular entrance into small chamber with very strong draught from narrow squeeze at far end of chamber. Ledge 2m below and quite large passage continues down. 2s rattle. 10m pitch lands on rocky floor with too tight rift. Hole in wall halfway down pitch leads to short walking passage with bones (Animal? Human?) to pitch-head with 1.5s drop (KH, AW, HJ). This is a 6m pitch landing in an awkward 3-4m high rift with a small stream. Possible to traverse along rift at various levels for about 20m to almost passable squeeze (LB, DL). Rift widens beyond and rocks tossed ahead land in with an echoing splosh in a deep pool.

14/9 Bara Shigri. (KH, AW, HJ) Relocated but not where shaftbashing guide suggested. At end of valley containing 10/9, on SE slope of Gustuteru heading towards La Jayada and almost directly below 27/9. Large walk-in entrance, 4m high, 6m wide, used as an animal shelter. Phreatic tube in roof leads up for over 10m. Choked horizontal crawl to rear of entrance chamber draughts. This was dug to low arch into open passage. Rift 5m long, 1.5m wide and 1m high but choked (HJ).

23/9 (JC). 035 to Ario Refugio. 112 to Cuvicente. On karst above La Jayada, approximately 200m upslope and to left of spur from main ridge. Thin crack opens out to 5m free climb. Choked at bottom.

24/9. (LM, KH). 037 Ario Refugio. 114 Cuvicente. On karst above La Jayada, approximately 200m upslope and to right of spur from main ridge. Body-sized vertical crack needs hammering to reach a small chamber.

25/9. (JC, LM, KH). 037 Ario Refugio. 114 Cuvicente. Several shafts in depression just to the north of Cuvicente-La Verdelluenga ridge, roughly halfway between the two peaks. Subsequently identified as 16/9 but has been tagged 25/9 a-e.

25/9a*. Bridge Pot. Large open shaft with 3s drop to snow plug. 40m rope did not reach snow-plug, but 70m rope reached snow and allowed some progress between snow and walls before these pinched in (LB). A rock bridge part-way down the shaft leads to an alternative pitch which also lands on the snow-plug (PH, KH). May be interesting in lower snow conditions. Revisited towards end of expedition (NJM, FAL) but still snow-plugged.

25/9b*. Downslope of 25/9a and obvious continuation of the same rift. 10m pitch but choked.

25/9c*. Two shafts separated by a rock bridge down to a snow plug. This can be accessed by clambering through boulders from a depression down-slope from the shafts. No way round snow-plug.

*25/9d*. 10m open shaft to snow-plug. The bottom of the shaft can be reached from a depression upslope of the shaft. Upslope in the depression leads to a 5m crawl, then 10m of walking passage to a moon-milk decorated chamber with skylights to the surface. Rig a 20m hand-line from top of depression to climb down loose slope to reach the bottom of the snow-plug. From here a 20m pitch between boulders can be rigged (JC).

25/9e. Unentered smaller shaft to west of main group. Keith's Lost Caves. (KH) On a line between 25/9 (16/9) and Gustuteru, roughly as you cross another (imaginary) line between La Verdelluenga and Ario, in an area of karst high up on the eastern of the valley below El Regallon. Two unentered holes in a small rifty valley.

26/9 a,b,c. (PH, KH) 162 to Cuvicente. 190 to La Verdelluenga. Three holes at the bottom of the northwesterly (southeasterly?) slope of Gustuteru located in the corners of 2 small rocky depressions.

*26/9a. Jultayu 134, Cuvicente 176, La Verdelluenga 226 (KH, FL). Short climb down in corner of higher depression to head of 10m pitch in rift. One way on at bottom choked, and others routes are choked, but a passage can be seen beyond and there is a slight draught. Half way down the entrance pitch a squeeze enters a continuation of the rift which can be free-climbed to a very (howling) draughty junction with a pitch down and a continuation of the rift blocked by a large boulder.

26/9b. Hole in opposite corner of depression from 26/9a. Possibly the same rift. Appears to choke but not thoroughly investigated.

26/9c. Hole in corner of a nearby depression in same rift line. Tight squeeze to probable boulder choke. Unentered.

27/9. Bill's Cave or Cueva del Pastor Cantato (LM, JW, BFS). See elsewhere in report.

28/9 (JW, KH, RD) 067 to Cabeza Llambria. 124 to Jultayu. 168 to Cuvicente. 227 to La Verdelluenga. Large rillenkarren-ringed depression on south slope of Gustuteru, about 100m below obvious rock shelter. Small 2m deep rift blocked by rocks.

29/9 (JW, KH, RD). May be 5/9. 063 to Cabeza Llambria. 115 to Jultayu. 152 and 172 to Cuvicente. 236 to La Verdelluenga. 350 to Gustuteru. Large (30m x 40m) bouldery depression with rillenkarren on east slope of La Verdelluenga above Tras Le Jayada. Various ways into meandering rift with strong draught. Stones rattle for up to 10s (?!) Rigged 10m pitch/climb in meandering rift to bouldery floor (KH, JW, HS). Rift continues over short traverse to a squeeze and tight 3m climb down. Rift at bottom too tight.

30/9 (KH, JW, RD). 120 to Jultayu. 144 and 169 to Cuvicente. 211 to La Verdelluenga. Shake hole by path from C3 col down valley on SW slope of Gustuteru, on right of path going down. Block-filled rift. Climb into rift and crawl under surface boulders. Looks into hole at top of meandering rift 1 to 2m deep. Too tight. Not worth talking about.

31/9 (KH, JW, RD). 059 to Cabeza Llambria. 120 to Jultayu. 175 and 185 to Cuvicente. 230 to La Verdelluenga. draughting dig at bottom of a shakehole. Dug to reveal a pitch, down which a crowbar was lobbed. Ladder pitch for 5-7m to boulder floor and too tight rift. May be diggable (KH, FL). Not clear if crowbar was retrieved.

SIE Mark1. (KH, JW, RD). On path from C3 col on left hand side of valley slightly lower than TLJ. Within 5m of path on RHS going down. Circular shaft with snow plug.

SIE Mark2. (KH, JW, RD) 123 to Jultayu.167 and 182 to Cuvicente. 229 to La Verdelluenga. Circular depression with rillenkarren benches.

??/9 (BL, NP) On west of Jou ridge beneath the scree slopes. Cuvicente 192. Two small entrances in rift on either side of large boulder. Choked but diggable with slight draught.

???/9 (BL, NP). Found in clag on path between Jultayu bowl and 27/9. At lowest end of valley that has a cairn at its north end. Small entrance beneath boulders in left hand wall. View through boulders to continuing passage below. Hand-line may be needed.

33/9 (JW) Jultayu 130, Cuvicente 190 & 199, La Verdelluenga 237, Gustuteru 299. Below scree slope down from path leading from Jultayu to the La Verdelluenga valley. 2m square entrance leads to narrow rift with small draught. Needs digging or hammering.

34/9 (KH, FL). 1-2m open shaft with 2s drop. Cuvicente 154, La Verdelluenga 240. Undescended. Described as 33/9 in logbook.

Area C

C21. Found on near western col of Cuvicente-La Verdelluenga ridge whilst looking for 21/9. Near to C3 and C10. 10m pitch. Bottomed (FL, NM).

Area D

D16. (PH). Found by PH in 1997. 20+m pitch to snow plug and choked chamber with inlets. Possible connects with draughting squeeze in D17.

D98. (PH) Follow Aliseda path to cairn at turn off for Top camp. Head N (away from TC) and cave is found 250m N of cairn in direct line of sight to small peak. Where grassy slope meets lapiaz there is a group of down-dip entrances. Good draught into cave. Entrance leads to 15m pitch with continuing passage above, then free climbable pitches of 5m and 10m before undescended 10m pitch. Good prospect.