OUCC Proceedings 6 (1974)

Cueva Laneveru


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OUCC Proceedings 6 Contents

Neil Boulton

Grid Ref. 5036 9738

This cave had been brought to the attention of the 1970 expedition when it was the subject of the justly famous 'two Spaniards, two hung-over cavers and a dog' escapade. Initial reconnaissance held out great potential, namely the '2 kilometres to resurgence opinion' which is customarily voiced on such occasions. In the event Laneveru proved to be the ultimate disappointment for the 1971 expedition, and for three of its members almost their final caving trip.

The entrance to Laneveru is situated at the head of a valley of ravine proportions, lying due south of the main Mazuco - Cortines valley. A series of tortuous tracks, obviously pioneered by a breed of three-legged sheep now extinct, gives access to this entrance, a medium sized hole in the base of a cliff. An extremely powerful draught blasts forth, guaranteed to stimulate all serious cavers.

Apart from the first exploration referred to above, one other trip was made to the cave in l970. A climb down from the entrance led to a series of wide and twisting passages, the way on being more or less readily apparent. The passage continued in a horizontal direction, apart from one high level detour, for several hundred metres. The rock was old, of a uniform monochrome shade, and sharp; but the dimensions of the passage were such as to allow swift progress in all but a few places. After some 4.00 metres the character of the cave altered to that of a wide rift passage, with a mud floor and pools, the first indication of water. At this point the first push met with a serious obstacle. This was described as a large and unstable boulder choke, through which there was no obvious route. After attempts to bypass the choke had proved fruitless, Laneveru was abandoned in favour of the more promising caves then at the disposal of the 1970 expedition.

Nevertheless, we had decided in 1971 that, in view of the caves high potential, it ought to be a priority. That it was more or less dry, according to conventional wisdom, was a further incentive. Accordingly, during a lull in the surveying of Boriza inlet, a large party was assembled for an assault on the choke. Far from proving impossible, the choke was pushed without undue difficulty, by the well proven method of crawling beneath the boulders.

The aven beyond the choke was somewhat complicated. The way on led to a chamber which presented the confusing spectacle of humps of rubble, stal slopes, and apparently static pools. An hour's search for possible routes revealed nothing, though in the light of subsequent developments, there perhaps is something. The return journey to the choke however turned up a passage under a rock arch which contained a slow moving stream. This led to a ledge above a large static pool and an extremely evil looking sump - the result of water backing up against a calcite barrier. The sump presented several technical difficulties: unlike others in the area it was not particularly clear, as a result of heavy mud deposits; neither was it of any real depth. In all it measured some 8 metres, but there were a number of useful air bells. The following day a line was taken through and a passage was forced, though not without incident.

The image of railway tunnels beyond, the sump, leading directly to resurgence in the Mere valley, proved to be a mirage. The passage continued through two small chambers and then developed into a high and narrow rift. Furthermore, numerous projections, of unparalleled viciousness, seriously impeded progress. A way on of sorts was forced by the method of clambering up and down rifts in order to follow the widest section. Several members of the party experienced a little trouble in executing this manoeuvre successfully, and a general halt was called. Approximately 100 metres from the sump the rift had become both tighter and sharper; the water in the bottom of the passage had degenerated into a trickle little more than half the width of a boot. Attempts to push on farther proved to be of no avail, and having spent half an hour and half a wetsuit turning round at the furthest point, I can assure any subsequent visitors that only the thinnest of Wharfedale cavers (or Spanish dogs) will get any further.

Despite the initial promise held out by the relatively sizable passage before the sump, there seems to be little chance of success in the totally different conditions which prevail beyond it. No other work was done in the area of Laneveru, because of the steepness of the terrain and the need to devote full attention to the surveying of other caves. No-one could be induced to go and survey Laneveru. But it would be nice to know exactly where the water does go.