Paul Mackrill: For those wondering why we did the cave
upside-down it was quite frankly because I couldn't see how to get
all the gear down the cave without wrecking it and us ! Also we
didn't have a paired team on the other side as the teams last year
had set up. Finally we had to find our way in from the bottom
through a lot of unknown cave [very impressive and knackering
unknown cave]. The weirdest thing was coming UP at the bottom of
the cave which felt like nipping in via the back door [in spite of
10 hours caving to get there]. The commitment was also enhanced
for us on the return journey when the ropes were literally pulled
up behind us within an hour or so of us starting the dive out ...
And the more you look at both sides there must surely be a dry way
to the massive 2/7 streamway... Now to straighten out my back.
Paul Mackrill: Had one of the most amazing trips of my life
along with Tony Seddon completing the Culiembro - Xitu traverse
and reversing it two days later. All possible only after years of
expeditions and efforts by so many people. It was a privilege to
be in place when at last the tiny window of opportunity arrived. A
truly Alpine commitment feeling and fantastic to finally achieve
the sink to source trip that has been dreamed of since the 1980s.
Thanks to all involved!
Fleur Loveridge: I can now add that the return through trip
was indeed completed yesterday in a staggering 14 hours.
De-rigging now underway.
Fleur Loveridge: The third deepest through trip in the
They (Tony and Paul) are due to go top to bottom today to take out
the bottles. That was how the logistics were going to work out
best. It's been a huge effort from those in the gorge and the team
up top to get everything rigged and set up for this to happen. Not
to mention the 30+ years of exploration by all those involved in
the area. Well done the team.
David Rose: You gotta look for the Chunder Pot lead before you
Steph Dwyer: I'm going straight off the hill from my two
day de rig to pack up at Cain n head home so minus on the time I'm
afraid.......besides it only fitting that you yourself get first
dibs. Lots of great plans in place for next yrs trip......it will
be an epic crescendo to two yrs hard work....:-)
David Rose: you mean everyone wants to go back to Xitu?
Steph Dwyer: Objective 2013 - your big lead, diving Teresa
series, gap etc, etc n a thorough search for the next big thing in
Ario Inc. Chemical persuasion perhaps??.... Let the Ario Caves
Project commence ;-)
David Rose: Are people going to leave the rope in the cave
Steph Dwyer: Yeah - a whole new de tackle plan in order to
make sure re rig is super efficient next year. The whole thing is
gonna very different.... Well a little I'll ring ya when back.
Really disappointed I missed ya. Camp just ain't the same without
constipation blues on the harmonica :'-(
Fleur Loveridge: Top to bottom traverse to follow on Sunday
then start to de-rig as somewhat undermanned. I am on my way home
now so more news will have to come from Ben. He has been
underground for a bit plus all round push to get traverse set up
hence quiet spell.
Dave Rose: Congratulations to Tony Seddon and Paul
Mackrill, who have successfully completed a 1264 metre vertical
range traverse from Cueva Culiembro to Pozu del Xitu. The trip
involves diving six sumps, then climbing up the 40-odd pitches of
Xitu, as well as many kilometres of sometimes demanding cave. Now,
after a rest, they have to go all the way back in order to pick up
their diving gear. Well done guys, and please be safe on your
return. This year's OUCC expedition (which I left at the start of
last week after some excellent trips) has in other ways been going
[About Chunder Pot]
I never got there -
slow rigging of Pythagoras the day before my last 3 day trip meant
we didn't quite make it. hey're going to look for it now, I
Steph Dwyer: Still alive :-) been thru Culiembro sump 1 n
-1,000m into Xitu, pretty tired after a day n a half underground!
De rig from the bottom next. Massive congrats to Tony Seddon and
Paul Mackrill for making the traverse :-) disgracefully fresh when
I met them at Xitu camp!! :-)
Fleur Loveridge: Xitu rigged to sump. Divers to start to
attempt traverse today.
Dave Rose: Emerged yesterday evening from a three-day trip
into Xitu with Martin Hoff and Andy Chapman. The last team in
hadn't got quite as far as hoped owing to the difficulty of
locating the bolts in the vastness of the Pythagoras shaft, so in
rigging to the the top of The Flyer at about - 900 metres we
didn't get quite as far as we had planned. However, it was a great
trip. The camp was extremely comfortable and we had plenty of
food. My highlight was a wild, swinging pendule halfway down the
40 metre Rape B'Rape pitch in order to grab a deviation. Reminded
me of films of similar swings on El Capitan, only in the dark. It
Meanwhile Tony Seddon has been laying diving lines in Culiembro in
preparation for the through trip. Today he hopes to get through
sump 3 or beyond. If all goes well, the 1264 metre vertical
distance, 9 km horizontal traverse will be accomplished towards
the end of next week. The deepest or second deepest diving and
caving through trip in the world.
Fleur Loveridge: The day before yesterday Callum and I
rigged on down to the top of Pythagoras, coming back to spend the
first night in underground camp of the expedition. Ben, Noel and
Holly went down to pick up where we left off yesterday and should
be out tonight. This afternoon Andy Chapman, Martin and David will
go down with the plan to finish off the rigging to Chunder Pot
tomorrow and and poke Mr Rose in his lead..................
Weather so much better than last year. Certain parts of the cave
are unrecognisable by their lack of waterfalls.
Dave Rose: Next El Puritan push is tomorrow. Callum and
Fleur on first camp now to rig to Pythagoras and (?) beyond.
Weather nice. Good time being had by all, with our friends Don
Simon and the one we know as 43 as ever very welcome.
Dave Rose: Did trip into El Puritan yesterday with Ben, emerging
at 4 am to glorious Ario night. We rigged the insane climbs
Richard and I did back on the day. Got to a place with three ways
on: a pitch down, a tight rift, and a big high level canyon that
needs a bolt drill for a line above the abyss. All quite
intriguing... Camp being set up underground today.
Dave Rose: Rigged entrance series of Xitu yesterday. Weather
fantastic. Too hot if anything: carrying loads up the hill risks
heatstroke. Team in the cave now pushing ahead. A great start to
Dave Rose and Martin Hoff are at Ario; they report that the main
expedition gear is on its way up the hill from Cangas.
Expedition vehicle and trailer full of stuff leave Oxford for the