Author Topic: Tresviso Caves Project 2018 Expedition with SUSS -- rope sponsorship entry  (Read 2834 times)

Offline not_a_climber

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
The Tresviso Caves Project is a long running expedition to the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, which this year will consist of two teams, with one mainly comprised of members from Sheffield University Speleological Society. We hope that these teams will allow us to push the already 11km-long Cueva del Agua further towards the goal of a record breaking 1.5km deep through-trip, by connecting to the higher altitude systems of the Andara region.

History of the Tresviso Caves Project
The Parc Nacional de los Picos de Europa sits just inland from the Northern coast of Spain, part of the Cantabrian Mountains. This region of carboniferous limestone is home to several exploratory caving projects involving British cavers, including the Ario Cave Projects.


The location of the Tresviso area in the Eastern Massif of the Picos (Andara)

Perhaps less well known is the Tresviso Caves Project, an ongoing exploratory effort in the Andara region of the Picos de Europa which was begun in the 1970s by student cavers from Lancaster University. In the early expeditions, LUSS pushed Cueva del Agua to 11km total length and +392m. Later in the 70’s and 80’s their attention turned to entrances higher in the mountains that could possibly drop into the same system. Several deep caves were pushed including Sara (-635m), Tere (-792m) Dossers Delight (-831m) and Flowerpot (-720m). However the most promising connection seemed to be Sima 56 which was concluded in 1985 at -1169m deep, overlapping in height with Agua but around 3km distant horizontally. If connected, this route could form a record breaking 1.5km-deep through trip.

After LUSS activity died off in the mid-1990s, exploration was continued by several Spanish clubs including AD KAMI, and SWCC members from the UK. From 2009, annual expeditions have made a concerted effort to push unexplored shafts in the Sierra del Corta, an area that sits above the furthest point of Cueva del Agua, as well as rebolting and rigging Cueva del Agua and pushing leads, including climbing Death Race 2000, the furthest point in the cave,  which has led to several extensions. This reinvigorated effort led to the creation of the Tresviso Caves Project in 2015 as a joint venture between a number of UK clubs and the Spanish club AD KAMI.


Pozo Castillo on the 2017 expedition

2018 Expedition
This year, the TCP group will be joined by a group of Sheffield University cavers conducting a side expedition. These teams will run alongside each other from 1st-15th September 2018 with a total of around 50 cavers pushing various projects. SUSS are taking around 25 cavers, with as many as 8 new-to-expedition cavers.

As such, this provides an excellent opportunity for SUSS, who have not run an expedition of this scale or ambition for several years, the opportunity to be supported through our more experienced members as well as through the experience of the Tresviso Caves Project. As well as exploratory aims, we are considering of equal importance our aim to come away from the expedition with a more cohesive club and more well trained cavers. This will not only be achieved during the expedition but we are also pushing pre-exped training as a priority to get everyone up to scratch before we go.

Utilising the capacity of having two teams, this years expedition aims to push the caves in the region from two directions - the TCP cavers pushing Agua from the bottom up and SUSS camping higher in the mountains to push down. The large number of cavers in the SUSS team will allow us to push several objectives. Our aim is to use a more experienced team to push a deep system with many less committing projects for those with less experience.

Primary objectives for SUSS team:
Pico Boro area
General surface sweep especially of lower slopes and logging entrances.
Flowerpot (-720m) - Re-bolt and rig after last exploration in the 80’s. Push multiple climbing leads throughout system as well as unexplored side passages.
T207 and Torca Septrin - vertical systems (circa -120m deep) ending in narrow, draughting passages - could be capped or pushed by skinny people.

Sierra del Corta
Surface sweep in awkward terrain to log entrances.
T554 &  T291 - Both very close to top end of Agua. T554 is 120m shaft from surface to tight continuation.  T291 undescended beyond entrance.

Sara
Various high level entrances that need surveying and linking into the wider Sara mine complex, with unexplored levels and potential deeper pitches.

Secondary objectives:
Mazarassa leads
Original entrance has collapsed, but there are potentially 3 further entrances, via mine levels that may connect and will allow re-exploration.

Castillo system
Pozo Natacha - -309m system with a tight constriction above final undescended 20m pitch,
T334 - 7 second drop still undescended, may link into Castillo system.

Other:
T225 Torca Bromista - incredibly tight entrance series but draughting at the bottom.
T516 Cowshed Cavern - 3 climbs from main streamway, potential dig and surface work
T47a Valdediezma - draughting hole but may be hidden by trees.
Agua - Pottery Kiln - strong breeze through spoil, likely to break out onto quite inaccessible mountainside but could provide alternative flood entrance to Agua.
Hoyo Oscuro & Hoyo Evangelista - surface sweep and logging of entrances above 1800m, any leads here would be interesting in wider picture.

Rope requirements:
We plan to rig Flowerpot (-720m) for the duration of the exped while pushing leads here and in other locations, so plan on needing around 1000m of rope. Therefore the contribution from the UKC rope sponsorship would be a significant portion of this and reduce our costs significantly (which for a student exped is key!)

Pre-exped plans for SUSS team
From now until the exped we have three training weekends planned. The first will be held in Derbyshire and will encourage members to join the DCRO rescue training, along with other rescue and rigging training for others. The July weekend will be held in the Dales and hopes to train some members in the use of our Sked stretcher with the help of Martin Holroyd. The final pre-exped weekend in August will be held in South Wales and will be a practice of various exped “dry-skills” such as putting up the mess tent and cooking, and checking over everyones equipment.


SUSS training on stretcher hauling at the YSS

There is an established TCP blog which can be found here:
www.tresvisocaves.info/blog/

We will use this blog, and the thread here on UKC, to keep a record of our pre-exped plans as well as during and after the exped to record our explorations. We also hope to publish an interactive map with entrance locations linked to any available pictures and surveys before the expedition, to be added to afterwards. There is also more information about the history of exploration in Tresviso with surveys, previous reports and cave details on http://www.tresvisocaves.info
 
SUSS are really looking forward to this expedition, and are very grateful to TCP for their ongoing support in our exped planning, and we look forward to sharing our results with the wider British caving community. We hope that blogging throughout the exped and producing a journal afterwards will help our aim of establish a long lasting link between the Tresviso Caves Project and Sheffield University Speleological Society by encouraging future members through our exploits.







Offline Badlad

  • Administrator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1461
Another great project and pleased to see the number of participants growing.  Good luck to SUSS and the main TCP in finding the elusive connection - it'll be there somewhere  :)

Offline meanderthal

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • Flickr
Great news, thanks Badlad (and Spanset)!

:thumbsup:

Online droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2036
  • WMRG
Having explored in the Tresviso area (with YUCPC) I will follow this with great interest.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline meanderthal

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • Flickr
Look out for an upcoming descent article about recent exploration there too! It's a great place! When we're you out with York?

Online droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2036
  • WMRG
Look out for an upcoming descent article about recent exploration there too! It's a great place! When we're you out with York?


1986....ish.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline meanderthal

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • Flickr
One thing that had surprised me is just how many people and clubs have been involved with exploration in the area. We're you involved with the discovery of death race in agua (found in '86), or were you up on the top of the hill?

Online phil

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 32
  • BPC
    • Tresviso Caves Project
I think York were based briefly at La Mesa, the small outcrop on the left as you enter Tresviso and explored up and over into the San Esteban valley.

There is report from 1984 on the http://picos.yucpc.org.uk/ site.

I would be interested to know if there is any other 'field' data from this trip?  There is still not much found in that area, although we generally ignore it as it's wrong side for the Agua (Nacimiento) exploration.  However, there is Cowshead Cavern on that side of the hill, quite a significant resurgence (although you wouldn't think it to look at the entrance) and the locals talk of large caves on top of the hill looking down towards San Esteban.




Offline alastairgott

  • QWERTY abusing
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1358
  • Live in Hope, Die in a Vein
    • CURB Hope Valley Parking Restrictions
I know I did find quite a few journals and paper surveys in the Uni library, whether these can be pulled out again for another look, I don't know.

Certainly about 9 years ago the York Library contained the following (mostly foreign) I know cos I logged them all:
#Expo reports 
Taurus '88-yucpc 
picos '89-yucpc 
picos '90-yucpc 
expeditions speleologiques a vegahuerta- in french and english (pico's) 
memoria verano '84-SEII 
campana picos '89- vegahuerta- macizo del cornion 
Juracao Expo '89- oxford uni cave club
picos '91-yucpc

~~In the box labeled caving reprints and surveys (in order of appearance) 
YUCPC Vercors '95 expo log 
YUCPC 14/5/94-10/5/97 logbook 
NPC journal 1982 with large pot survey at the back 
YUCPC 3/5/81-25/9/82 logbook 
Notes on the world caving scene (BCRA bulletins 15-19&caves and caving no.1) 
security for the abseiler/prussiker (BCRA vol.4 no. 3 pp. 373-375) troll bolting kit manual 
The shock strength of ropes for SRT (BCRA bulletin 18 pp. 27-31) 
The DARNBROOK SYSTEM 
SRT accidents & incidents (BCRA vol 4. NO.3 pp. 367-372) 
POZU DEL XITU '81 (oxford uni cc expo) 
biochemistry for cavers 
OTTERHOLE information for visitors 
Oxford uni cave club EXPO RESCUE GUIDE (part 1 and part 2) 
PORTH YR OGOF, BRECONSHIRE report and survey 
the small srt party- expo logistics (BCRA VOL.4 no.3 pp. 387-38 
oxford uni cave club expo write up of trip to PICOS DE CORNION. 

~~in the envelope with la poste stamp on (12 11 90 92210) (all surveys) sistema conjurtao- picos de cornion 
F20- picos 
pozu de la cistra (12/5)-picos 
sistema xitu- picos 
sistema jorcada blanca (f2/f7)- picos 
vega huerta (k-901)- picos 
vespa pot.- east kingsdale 
sima de los quartro caminos (four ways pot)- picos 
sima de cotalbin (k903) 

~~in envelope "caving club maps of potholes, picos de europe, X35 maps"
sima (k897) 
el furacu del xelu 
le loma de los hoyos cavaos 
pizo del caballo cimeru 
b-3 pozo del llastral- vega heura 
121- pozo la duernona 
sierra del caballo 
1-8 sierra caballo 
1-12 sierra del caballo 
sima 1-34 - sierra caballo 
sistema 48- sierra caballo 
pozu del caballo cimeru- sierra caballo 
furacu del xelu- sierra caballo 
vega huerta-sierra caballo (not a cave map- has contours on it) 
pozu de arguelles 
18- vega huerta 
principales cavidales de las zonas "m" Y "b" (major caves of "m" and "b" areas) 
b-3 sierra caballo- M. occidental 
B-3 pozu del llastral 
pozu la llerona (b-10)- sierra caballo- macizo occidental 
pozu de la garita cimera (b47) 
π-15 sierra caballo 
π-103 sierra caballo 
pozu arguelles- sierra caballo 
1-41 sierra caballo 
1-45 sierra caballo 
B-3 pozu del llastral- vega huerta 
M-2 sierra caballo sketch of α-30

Also of Interest, on the Pico's website is a number of the names seem similar to current names. Gareth Davies being one which pops up and also Dave Middleton? (dunno if he's a relation)

Offline alastairgott

  • QWERTY abusing
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1358
  • Live in Hope, Die in a Vein
    • CURB Hope Valley Parking Restrictions
memoria verano '84-SEII 

Looking at the Report by Dave Lloyd, SEII were the club which "hosted" them in 1984, so this must be their club journal.
http://picos.yucpc.org.uk/pdf/p84cac29.pdf


Online droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2036
  • WMRG
One thing that had surprised me is just how many people and clubs have been involved with exploration in the area. We're you involved with the discovery of death race in agua (found in '86), or were you up on the top of the hill?

I was on the La Mesa trip. We didn't stay there long though. It's just up from Tresviso village.


If memory is correct YUCPC visited 3 areas that year.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Online droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2036
  • WMRG
memoria verano '84-SEII 

Looking at the Report by Dave Lloyd, SEII were the club which "hosted" them in 1984, so this must be their club journal.
http://picos.yucpc.org.uk/pdf/p84cac29.pdf

SEII were a Madrid university club who accompanied the first 2 expeditions: a recce one, and the first 'proper' expedition to Vega Huerta.

Section Espelio(summat) Ingenarios Industriales.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline not_a_climber

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
A couple of weeks ago the SUSS Tresviso team (which is inaccurately named as it also contains Nottingham and Leeds university cavers) held a very successful Derbyshire based training weekend.

Despite an overcrowded TSG, all those that attended the weekend took it very seriously and dragged themselves out of bed at reasonable a time (mostly before midday!) to do large roped trips on the Saturday. The aim was to assess everybody's cave fitness and generally shock people into action if their prussiking was slow or they were too fat to fit into Derbyshire Hall. Trips went out from Titan-Peak, Titan-JH, Peak-Titan, Titan streamway and Nettle-Derbyshire Hall via Elizabeth's Shaft (which with 3 groups in Titan at one point entailed a lot of sitting in a bothy - still good practise for exped!).

On the Saturday evening, (those back early enough) prepared an exped style meal of mashed potatoes, mashed carrots, mashed potatoes, tomato and chickpea cassorole and mashed potatoes. This was prepared on the gas rings we'll be taking on exped although did have the added luxury of tables and chairs on which to chop the vast quantities of potatoes.

Over tea, we sat down to a short presentation on exped expectations - we're taking a large number of people who've never attended a caving expedition before and so one job is preparing everyone for exped life. This included day to day life at camp, underground differences to British caving, expedition kit recommendations, how to prepare yourself (both mentally and physically!) and general travelling tips. We also discussed the current plan for our objectives and how we're thinking about dividing our man power to have as effective an expedition as possible.

The night descended into the revelry of three university clubs under one roof at the TSG, not filling me with much hope that anyone would be up in the morning....

But lo and behold! Not long after 10am and most people out of the door on the way to Horseshoe Quarry, to practice putting up the group tent (for cooking/socialising/storage) and to practice thru-bolting, spit placement and rigging off naturals. One group remained behind at the TSG to talk through using a disto with Rostam, and another went underground to try it out with Tommy. It was a roasting hot day on the surface but luckily the upper tier provided us with some shade and everyone present got to practice bolting if they hadn't already.

We packed up around 5pm and headed back to the kit store, where for once everyone stayed around to help return kit and wash ropes! This was personally my highlight of the weekend as it made me realise the value of us spending this time together before Spain in that we're becoming more of a coherent team, which I think is just as valuable as "hard skills" in times of crisis deep in the Picos.

Our next training weekend is planned for a couple of weeks time in the Dales, and in the mean time trips are going out all the time with people improving on the rigging skills being one of the next big skills to practice.

Online Topimo

  • SUSS spying on EPC.
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 371
  • School of Karst Rocks. University of NiFe.
Couple of snaps from Titan:

IMG_3838 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

IMG_3930 by tommypmoore, on Flickr


Offline meanderthal

  • player
  • **
  • Posts: 92
    • Flickr

One group remained behind at the TSG to talk through using a disto with Rostam.


Did he learn much?

Offline blhall195

  • Brendan Hall
  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 60
SUSS Tresviso Training weekend at the SWCC

For a good taste of alpine caving before the Tresviso expedition. South Wales was the perfect choice of location for the final SUSS expo training weekend. In the true spirit of expedition caving we decided to go to Draenen without any kind of plan of what to do or where to go when we arrived. I think the idea was to treat the cave as completely unexplored then find our way out after attempting to get ourselves lost. (*Disclaimer* I’m sure someone actually knew what they were doing, Sheffield Union)

Entering the cave through Draenen’s only entrance, like the ghosts from Pacman, we found our way through the entrance series. Regrouping was difficult as it turns out suss’s best one (Olly) Is incapable of raising his voice above 60 decibels. Enough waiting and Botch running around trying to find people we all met up again in the end.

After all 7 of us regrouped in a large chamber, I realized there was something very different about this trip. And then it clicked, no women, well well.

More wandering later it turns out Draenen is quite big, I think the cave creates more passage the further you go. I’m not going to describe it all, this isn’t that kind of rant/trip report.

Here is a generic south wales cave description (Jethro Language):

Dry, bland colours, crawl, a flat bit, tight, big again, climb over boulders, trickle of water, some pretty stuff, squeeze through rift, lots of junctions, warm, sweaty… you get the idea.

In expedition mode (apart from the surveying bit) we endeavoured to explore any and all side passages we could find. Getting bored of this Glen, Ben, Max and I decided it was time for a rest and waited while Botch, Olly and Connor climbed into a 1.4 m high by 0.8 m wide side passage that extended inwards and went around a corner.

They were gone quite a while, so we got bored and decided to entomb them by piling lots of large rocks (up to 20 kg and 7.6 dm^3) into the entrance of the side passage in an attempt to confuse them. Olly was the first to arrive at the newly built wall, we could see his light peaking through the gaps in our wall, after a few moments of inspecting the wall the penny dropped “ohh”, Olly said.

As the SUSS version of Jesus Olly had no problem getting out of the blocked cave passage, removing one of two blocks from the top of the wall he hovered through the small gap and we reblocked it ready for Connor and Botch.

Arriving at the wall Connor seemed more perplexed at the susspiciously man-made barrier blocking his way, after a critical review of his predicament with botch and hearing the sound of our quiet sn-wording they slowly came to the same conclusion as Olly. We then dismantled the wall and tried to put everything more or less back the way it was #caveconservation.

On the way out we decided to go a different way. Botch exclaimed, “Let us walk down this really long passage, if anyone sees red and white tape, that means we’re going the right way” after walking probably about 0.5 – 1 km we did find red and white tape, however, one by one we became less convinced this was actually the right way and with our expedition hats on we decided to turn around before our turn back time and go back the way we came before we missed our call out.

More caving: see description in paragraph 10. Group successfully exits the cave.

On the way back we went via Asda to get Rostam some new sausages. There was a decent selection, for a while I struggled to decide between Cumberland and garlic and herb. In the end, I went for the Cumberland ones. Olly said, “I want some crisps”, so we went to the crisps section where he spent some time trying to choose a flavour. To Olly’s dismay, most of the packets came as multipacks, I suggested it might be better for him to buy a multi-pack so he did. On the way to the tills we went past the bakery section where I spotted some caramel cream pies, they were sort of like banoffee pie but without the banana, amazing I thought. Finally, we caught up with Connor who was planning to purchase some plain de chocolate.

And that was the end of our trip, I hope you enjoyed reading this rant on the new ULSA website. Why not stay a while and browse our extensive library, photo gallery and view our upcoming trips.

Offline Clive G

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 219
  • a flowstone wall a few metres to one side . . .
    • Clive Gardener Profile
The Tresviso Caves Project is a long running expedition to the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, which this year will consist of two teams, with one mainly comprised of members from Sheffield University Speleological Society. We hope that these teams will allow us to push the already 11km-long Cueva del Agua further towards the goal of a record breaking 1.5km deep through-trip, by connecting to the higher altitude systems of the Andara region.

. . .

Having been browsing around the forum checking up on the details for the start of the road-widening works in the Clydach Gorge, when the Old Drum & Monkey Inn was demolished in 2015, I spotted this thread and thought I'd pop in to say this is very good news of the forthcoming planned new endeavours at Tresviso.

I was there in 1986 on the Agua '86 Expedition, which was largely focused around cave diving projects. You could only get 4-wheel drive vehicles up to the village then, with the approach road being so poor - i.e. Gavin Newman's smart-looking Range Rover, which brought up the main gear. Most of us walked in (or rather up) from the Urdon Gorge. We were impressed when we heard that the village postman also regularly used the same route! There's also a story which was told then (relevant now for the recent news of the decision to move Franco's body) of a partisan having to escape Franco's troops, when he apparently ran down the steep path from the village, being chased by soldiers and gunshots. All they found at the bottom, apparently, was a greatcoat riddled with bullet holes . . .

What impressed me about Cueva del Agua was the passage names, such as 'Road to Certain Death', but then, whilst waiting and watching at the top of the climb as Rob Parker dived the perched sump in the high-level pool at the 'end' of the passage, I found out that this wasn't actually the name of the sump (as I'd thought) but the passage we just traversed along in ferrying the diving kit to the dive site!

What I wasn't able to do as a dry caver (with a reasonable back history of having recently found and dug open the way into Daren Cilau 2 & Daren Cilau 3), because of the scheduling and portering requirements of the divers, was follow up on Pete Smart's suggestion to me before I left Bristol to closely examine the area around Dan's Big Room. The others thought I was just playing a ruse to get to look at the fantastic, huge ribbon-like formations, and so didn't want to play along. However, Pete reckoned this is the area, geomorphologically speaking, where significant further extensions could well be made. Try and find the draught for the way on, if you are able to get there. Perhaps take a lucky crowbar, too, to move the odd obstructive boulder or two.

Beware in Cueva del Agua, because, laden with too many tackle bags on the way out from the big diving camp (Julian didn't believe me and expressed his counter viewpoint with the point of his boot from behind), I slipped on the wide-floored uphill tunnel towards the entrance of the cave and gashed open the palm of my hand on the sharp rock - ending up with blood pouring everywhere. The subsequent red line of infection from the wound spread up almost to the top of my right arm . . . So, take along good antiseptic cream, etc., etc., with you in the medical kit, because this is what ended up saving me!

The other issue can be the very hot sun. We wore shorts and t-shirts (or not) which are great when it rains (a lot) because, as soon as the sun comes out again, you dry off very quickly. However, by taking off my T-shirt whilst scouting round the mountain slopes alone (and encountering a whole herd of scary-looking animals with bells round their necks in the process!)  the top half of my body ended up so red that when I joined some explorers in a small walk-in cave by the (then) dirt-track road leading away from Tresviso, they thought I was wearing a red wetsuit! With today's UV levels from the sun this sort of exposure would not be recommended as being very good.

If anyone is going to use the Urdon Gorge approach and departure I would recommend for the departure leaving Tresviso in moonlight, whilst it is still dark, but such that the sun will rise as you make your way down the mountain track. Seeing the sun and the moon together with the Picos mountains all around is one of those sights and experiences you'll never forget. Steve Jones and I saw the phenomenon as we made our way down together and he said words to this effect as it was happening in front of us, which have well stood the test of time - it's an experience that's hard to beat anywhere in the world.

(And I've had forked lightning hit the ground a few yards from where I was standing on an open moor on my way back from pushing Diwedd yr Enfys (End of the Rainbow) on the Black Mountain - with sad reference to the recent death of Nig Rogers, who was there too - CSS Newsletter, 25(10), August 1983, 154-9.)

So, take care, and make some good new cave discoveries!


Offline alastairgott

  • QWERTY abusing
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1358
  • Live in Hope, Die in a Vein
    • CURB Hope Valley Parking Restrictions
Clive G there is an upto date survey at http://www.tresvisocaves.info/caveImages/13/2.pdf
and an upto date description at
http://www.tresvisocaves.info/tresviso.php?nameFilter=nacim&cave=13

Do you think there is more in the south? As there seems to be quite a few passages trending south east near the entrance.

I've left my oversuit at the hut! and the trusty crowbar is there as well, so i'll be collecting both.

Clive G, were you involved with Castillo mine in the 80's? I've been drafted in to have a look at the snowplug that's in the way getting to Thatcher's squeeze.
http://www.tresvisocaves.info/tresviso.php?area=MA&nameFilter=casti&cave=169

Offline Clive G

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 219
  • a flowstone wall a few metres to one side . . .
    • Clive Gardener Profile
Clive G there is an upto date survey at http://www.tresvisocaves.info/caveImages/13/2.pdf
and an upto date description at
http://www.tresvisocaves.info/tresviso.php?nameFilter=nacim&cave=13

Do you think there is more in the south? As there seems to be quite a few passages trending south east near the entrance.

I've left my oversuit at the hut! and the trusty crowbar is there as well, so i'll be collecting both.

Clive G, were you involved with Castillo mine in the 80's? I've been drafted in to have a look at the snowplug that's in the way getting to Thatcher's squeeze.
http://www.tresvisocaves.info/tresviso.php?area=MA&nameFilter=casti&cave=169

I thought I'd been able to remember quite a lot from 32 years ago off the top of my head, but then you referred me to the very complex survey for Cueva del Agua!

So, I've resorted to reading up the Agua '86 report by Gavin Newman and Julian Walker in Caves & Caving (36), Summer 1987, 15-17.

I think the leads in Bone Passage and Orangeade Arcade beyond Premier Chamber could well be worth looking at but there must be a reason why they have been left apparently ongoing - which may preclude further exploration without some digging or passage enlargement work. Also, are these passages simply heading back to the surface in a relatively short distance?

It appears that, after camping underground in Consort Hall, we made the final Agua push of the expedition and lost the draught in the Hall of the Green Domino. This suggests to me that the Dan's Big Room area a little further back would still be worth a scout around. Formations require certain CO2 conditions and water evaporation rates to develop - so it would be worth looking into what enables the ribbon-like formations to grow and then go and look for the corresponding air flow. There may be some parallel development to the Satan's Teeth Series, which Roddy and Julian entered and pushed through some epic climbing techniques: "The series earnt its name 'Satan's Teeth' from a large stalagmite and [stalactite] formation which the two climbers found at the top of a particularly frightening climb."

Speaking of which, it does seem that there should be something else going off Death Race 2000 around the mid-level, other than Jurassic World. When pushed in 1986, Satan's Teeth had a strong downwards draught . . .

See what others who have been there before have to suggest, study the survey to see what comes to mind from the passage directions and altitudes and then go and look for real in the cave at the sites which catch your interest the most. Push the easiest lead first until it cops out or becomes very difficult to progress and then switch to the next best lead, and so on - until you find something worthwhile!

We rigged the entrance with a tyrolean traverse to make it easier to get our equipment in and out, plus ourselves without getting too wet at the start. Check the weather forecasts and beware that the cave can flood very seriously under the wrong amount of rainfall. Short, sharp showers, however, should be no problem and these seems to happen most days!

The Castillo Mine does not ring a bell with me at the moment. I did enter a cave in Norway (South Nordland '89), though, that had a snow plug. We cut hand and footholds in the snow to descend to the open cave entrance at the bottom. I was the only one who could get all the way down, but had no gloves on and my bare hands ended up being so cold afterwards that I was unable to do much inside the (cold) cave, apart from look down the first pitch, a little way into the entrance passage.

I may not be around very often to post new messages over the next few days, but shall try and keep an eye on this thread whilst the expedition is running.

Cave safely and have good success!

Online Topimo

  • SUSS spying on EPC.
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 371
  • School of Karst Rocks. University of NiFe.
Thank you for your insights Clive, I'm sure some of us will try to catch the moon and sun at just the right time.

Tommy

Offline not_a_climber

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Tresviso Caves Project 2018 Expedition with SUSS -- rope sponsorship entry
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2018, 10:38:30 am »
SUSS basecamp is operational!

Yesterday the majority of the SUSS team arrived and walked up to top camp at Vegas dear Andara, just over the ridge from the refugio at Caserton Andara. We've got a nice flat spot for camp just off the track with nearby water from a fountain and a beautifully scenic sh*t pit.

This morning was used for kit sorting (and obligatory faffing). We've now got 5 teams headed out to recce Flowerpot (Bill and Ben series), T207, Torca Septrin and the Sara depression. Hopefully by the end of the day we'll have a better idea of both the style of caving and what the next two weeks has in store! We'll keep this thread updated with our adventures :)

Offline not_a_climber

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Tresviso Caves Project 2018 Expedition with SUSS -- rope sponsorship entry
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2018, 08:22:38 pm »
Day 3 on the hill

With two successful days caving under our belts, it's safe to say the expedition is properly underway.

Yesterday 2 teams began rigging into Flowerpot, one for Bill and one for Ben series (with only a slight bit of confusion as to which was which.)  Today rigging efforts continued, with Bill reaching a tight but draughting end point pending further exploration. Rigging into the longer Ben series found a new chamber and opened up multiple unclimbed avens for further exploration.

After some equipments issues, the Torca Septrin team only reached the bottom of the first pitch, and were hoping to go back today but lost time wandering around in snow after first retrieving the capping rod from T207 which was stuck there the previous day.

Surface bashing near to camp yesterday relocated old mines and pots explored first by LUSS in the 70s and 80s and more recently by TCP, confirming the sometimes accuracy and sometimes iffyness of our GPS data.

Today, two teams up on Samelar carried on relocating and found the huge entrance to S.53 (/T181?), visable on Google earth, which is normally filled up with snow but this year a lot more open. This will be dropped in the next few days by someone with good bolting kit and balls! It's bloody massive.

All going well so far, with (almost) all the team finally on the hill after some transport nightmares courtesy of Ryanair. More updates soon!

Online Topimo

  • SUSS spying on EPC.
  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 371
  • School of Karst Rocks. University of NiFe.
Re: Tresviso Caves Project 2018 Expedition with SUSS -- rope sponsorship entry
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2018, 06:23:46 pm »
Now we are beginning to wind down the SUSS Tresviso expedition and talks of derigging trips becoming more imminent, I have taken some time away from camp to write this post.

The expedition has been a wonderful experience so far, with some exciting finds, challenging caving, and an unbeatable backdrop for it all to take place.

Myself and Molly arrive a little earlier than the rest of the group, just in time to catch a talk in Tresviso on the history of LUSS’ explorations here in the 70’s. We were lucky enough to meet some of the early LUSS explorers here, John, Nick, and Caroline. The talk was part of a celebration of all things Tresviso, the culture and history, with food, music, dancing (a few more SUSS arrived in time for this) and Bolles, a Cantabrian bowling type of game which we enjoyed losing spectacularly. We partied long into the night in the style only a remote mountain village can offer.

DSCF1856 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

With camp set up the next day after a long walk up the hill with heavy bags, most of the group in place and now raring to go, we relaxed under the stars, with some of us lucky to catch a single incredible shooting star. The landscape and isolation from the city makes for some spectacular scenery 24 hours a day, unless the fog comes in – which it frequently does!

DSCF1875 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

DSCF1909 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

DSCF1958 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

On the caving, I can only write about those I’ve been down. One of the first objectives to assess T207 (Boulder Pot), was quickly eradicated as a potential lead, as the bottom would have required around a week of capping to get anywhere.

DSCF1923 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

Some team members have been working their way through the task of checking mine entrance GPS locations and exploring these complex workings – the area is riddled with them, the roads through Tresviso were built by the mining companies!

DSCF1943 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

DSCF1935 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

Armed with oodles of metalwork, and rope by the sack-load (thanks UKC!), we have been able to work in multiple groups in different areas each day, taking advantage of the large team of ~25 (depending who was up or down the hill with the main Tresviso expedition).

DSCF1975 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

DSCF1986 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

While the stores have had plentiful equipment, there was “the great hanger shortage of 2018” due to a set of 50 hangers and maillons not being packed, 1 drill was dropped down a pitch, another burnt out, these drills became one with some jiggery-pokery. Oh, and the SUSS Disto went in a puddle and became unreliable. Despite these hurdles, we have had great success with one of the leads…

DSCF1984 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

The primary cave for the SUSS secondment of the 2018 Tresviso expedition is known as Flowerpot, or for the more data-point-inclined, T169.

The two routes diverge at the first chamber, allowing teams to push leads in both the Bill Series and the Ben Series. The Ben Series has been pushed by the LUSS of the 70's to a depth of some 700-odd metres where it hits a sump, SUSS has been ticking off various high-level leads in there, unfortunately with no alternative way on found as yet. Teams have been working hard at bolt climbing and having a good time by the sounds of things.

The initial rigging was led by Jack Dewison with a team consisting of Jreg (Michael Woodward), Molly Smith, and Jake Sturgeon, however, they went down the wrong series. After some time exploring the Ben Series, Bill was rigged to the bottom and the reigns handed over to new teams to assess the leads and potential. Rachael Rix and Jolene set off up a short bolt climb above the final pitch to a large ledge with an apparent passage leading off around the corner, there was no evidence of this being explored previously, though unfortunately it was fruitless in terms of a way on, but every new metre counts on the survey.

Myself, Conor McGurk, and Craig “Creg” Hamer went down to the bottom chamber of Bill, to assess the “too tight rift” that takes the water from the rest of the cave. This rift had previously been pushed some way but not to its full conclusion, after some capping, a tight an acrobatic pitch head yielded 8m drop into a mineral solution rift, with what look like iron flakes, quartz, and all manner of curiosities. Unfortunately this became truly too tight, and the lead was aborted.

However, just as we turned around to head out, happy to have closed off a lead, Conor asked if we’d spotted the squeeze high in the rift. It turns out that sitting around getting cold and looking intently at the passage walls pays off – who knew?! After some gentle modification, we were through the squeeze and into a leaning rift feature, right at the top in the widest section. It just kept going, so we kept going, dragged along by a crisp, clean, draught we past numerous stals until it looked like our path was blocked by a portcullis of tusks, but this was easily bypassed by moving lower into the rift, as if the cave were made for our exploration. We were through the “Ivory Market”.

We reached a more spanning traverse above a hole in the floor, we could hear water, and rock drops suggested around 30m, I stuck a short traverse line in, deviated to a rusty drill bit in found my tackle bag and set off down the rift to assess the best tactic. What appeared to be a false floor was a solid bedding to conveniently descending onto, before locating a wide enough window in the rift next to a thick stalagmite, resulting in a lovely clean take-off to a 30m freehang, the Elephant’s Trunk. We left the rigging until the following day.

Once descended, things did not look as promising, we were not in the walking streamway we had apprehensively been dreaming of, we met the water lost only a short while ago, and watched it descend further into another too tight rift. Conor was surveying in the Ben Thompson and Brendan Hall, so we were only two on this trip. Much to my delight, and Creg’s horror, this rift was breached by an arrow-straight, popcorn-covered body sized tube, some 20m in length. The tube contains bat leavings (at -180m), and is a bit of a pain to shove bags through due to the rift in the floor and sharp rock. Coming out of the other side of this by myself is an experience I won’t forget. The familiar sharp spiky rifty nature returns here, with one or two protracted routes to climb through, leading to a yawning pitch head some 5-8m in diameter, a clean tube of much better-quality rock, unlike much of what we had descended though so far. I struggled to find a rock to throw down, but snapping off a handhold allowed a 5 second drop to be measured.

Starting to feel worn out from the repeated trips, the others had a rest day (it was Sunday!), so Jack and Molly joined to find out what was at the bottom. Armed with an 87m rope and a handful of bolts I rigged two short access pitches to reach a convenient traversing ledge, from here I could now aim my light down the pitch unlike yesterday, the bright Scurion spot could only tickle the water at the bottom. Rigging this was exhilarating, with only three bolts remaining and the fact that it looked like a rebelay would be required I set off on a single hang with (shameless sponsor plugs incoming) UKC donated Patron rope, which handled excellently and packed down into a nice small sack.

It just kept going, and going, and still free, and going, by now I was wishing I had an umbrella as there was now way to stay out of the moderate drizzle from the pitch head that seemed to now span the whole pitch. *Ziiip-Thump* as the knot hit the back of my hand – the rope was 4 metres too short! Terrified at how close the knot was to the end of the rope I made a quick vow to always tie my own knots before screaming a couple of expletives caused by the frustration of not being able to reach the way on – the water is visible descending into another slot.

Flowerpot by tommypmoore, on Flickr

Red marks the previous limit of exploration, blue shows the route the water now takes.

Jack took over and rerigged as I was done for the day, ascending “Invasive Species” had taken it out of me, and the poor (shameless plug) Hikoki Multivolt system drill was sodden. While Jack rerigged I tried to get a Disto Splay down the pitch, but with more “Info 255” errors than I could handle, I gave up. The longest was ~50m, which tallied with the rock drop, but Jack said he could see the Disto hitting a slightly sloping wall and not the true bottom while he was hardcore crimping whilst drilling in a deviation (someone get that man a skyhook!).

DSCF2038 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

The final pushing team went down to check the end and finish the survey while I had a day off to follow a misguided dream of being a wildlife and/or landscape photographer, the way on drops into a small pool chamber, which Jack dubbed “Water-Way to Spend Sunday”, with a rift becoming too tight to progress further, at least on this expedition. There is potential for leads to be examined over the top of the 30m and 70m pitches (as we now know after the survey team returned armed with data), but these will have to wait until next year, as tomorrow the derig and photography begins.

DSCF2004 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

DSCF2104 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

DSCF2156 by tommypmoore, on Flickr

I think we all owe Conor, one our newest members, a beer or five for his spotting of this very fruitful lead.

Photos and full surveys to come…

Tommy

Offline alastairgott

  • QWERTY abusing
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1358
  • Live in Hope, Die in a Vein
    • CURB Hope Valley Parking Restrictions
Re: Tresviso Caves Project 2018 Expedition with SUSS -- rope sponsorship entry
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2018, 02:43:44 am »
Sobra valley. The first through trip in tresviso valley, nearly connected. After 5 days of roaming the hills, I have not been doing much write up. Cider or coffee liquer required.

I need a day off tomorrow, surveying write up and just sleeping needed!

I will keep you on the hooks! Though there might be people going in tomorrow to do the job of installing the 100m of Ukcaving rope we' ve been given.

5 days nearly sober, I've had a fair few tonight!

Offline alastairgott

  • QWERTY abusing
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1358
  • Live in Hope, Die in a Vein
    • CURB Hope Valley Parking Restrictions
Re: Tresviso Caves Project 2018 Expedition with SUSS -- rope sponsorship entry
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2018, 02:44:24 am »
Full write up tomorrow today