Oxford University Cave Club

2005 Expedition: Asopladeru La Texa

Picos de Europa, Spain

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La Texa Camp / de-rig, 25-28 July 2005

Harvey Smith

Some of you may find this amusing.

Every expedition I find what appears to be the ideal opportunity for a wash, and every time disaster befalls me. This year I decided that I had finally learnt my lesson, and resolved not to even attempt to wash on expedition.

Instead I decided that, rather than sleeping rough near Oviedo airport the night before my flights, being woken up by an angry dog, damp and covered in slugs, and then nearly being arrested by security guards when trying to wash in the toilets, I would treat myself by booking into a hotel with a posh bathroom. (I'm embarrassed to confess this, I'd never normally dream of staying at a hotel unless someone else is paying the bill, but this was my holiday for this year, it was straight back to work when I got home, and I reckoned I deserved a relaxing journey.)

The result of this radically different approach to removing expedition stench? Despite making it to the surface from the bottom a 900m deep cave, it appears I was not capable of making it up the stairs to my first floor hotel room, without ending up in hospital (having my finger stitched back together no permanent damage).

We all know that the journey to/from expedition is the riskiest part, but combining this with an attempt to wash is clearly tempting fate too far.

Gavin: It's somewhat ironic, given my mis spelt e mail about expedition members' legal liabilities, that it was ME that ended up getting "sewed"! (Fortunately after I'd left the expedition, so no paperwork....)