Oxford University Cave Club

"Ario 2000" Expedition Final Report

Picos de Europa, Spain

3rd July - 22nd August 2000

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Cave Descriptions



Ascend onto the Cabrones ridge via the scree gully at the north east end, and follow the ridge for about 500m. The cave is just below the ridge to the south, just before the subsidiary ridge leading to Robliza. The best way to get to the cave is to start down the subsidiary ridge, and then contour across.


The obvious way to rig the entrance shaft is from the lowest point on the rim. This route descends for about 50m, via a number of rebelays, to land on snow. It is possible to descend further, between the snow plug and the walls, but no route looks promising. The GER reportedly descended to a depth of 150m at the south west end, although this route was blocked by snow in subsequent years. There is an obvious rock arch to the south west at a depth of 25m, with an unexplored window visible beyond.

The way on to the deeper parts of the cave is to begin rigging from high up on the east side, descend a gully, then swing left into the next gully; 15m lower, swing further left to the start of a permanently rigged traverse line, which leads onto a ledge.

The ledge is at the top of an 80m pitch. Descending the pitch fully lands on a steeply descending snow slope, in a large rift heading north east, ending at a blank wall with no obvious leads. Alternatively, there are two windows visible on the opposite side of the shaft at depths of 15 and 25m.

The lower window can be reached by a pendule and traverse along the left hand wall. Ahead, a short drop leads to a hole in the floor, which leads back down to the snow slope. An aven above is believed to connect with the upper window. Traversing across the hole leads to a climb up, with no way on at the top.

The upper window has not been reached, but remains an excellent lead. It could be reached via a pendule and long traverse (about 8 bolts) on the right hand wall. There is a strong draft at the head of the 80m pitch; some of the draught is met again at the lower window, but then appears to head up the aven towards the upper window. Gavin

F80 Rigging guide

Pitch Rope Rigging
First pitch, direct route (P60) 75m Bolt and spike Y-hang; natural rebelay; 5 bolt rebelay to snow; 2 bolt rebelays down side of snow.
First pitch, to ledge (P25, T12) 45m Bolt and spike Y-hang; spike rebelay; spike rebelay for swing into next gully; bolt rebelay; bolt deviation; thread deviation; bolt rebelay; bolt at start of traverse; bolt in middle of traverse; bolt at end of traverse(replace traverse by further descent and pendule, followed by ascent up loose slope).
Second pitch, direct route (P80) 90m Two bolts; bolt rebelay (needs a second bolt); spike deviation; 5 bolt rebelays; spike deviation; bolt rebelay.
Snow slope 25m Bolt
Second pitch, to lower window (P25, T10) 45m Two bolts; bolt rebelay (needs a second bolt); spike deviation; bolt and spike Y-hang rebelay; bolt at start of traverse; thread belay; spike belay; spike belay at end of traverse.
Descent and traverse (P5, T8) 20m Spike belay; bolt at start of traverse; thread belay; spike at end of traverse.