Ario Expedition 2022 (Spain)

Chris J

Active member
Hello all,

We are pleased to announce that this summer the Picos de Europa ?Ario? expedition returns.
Since the 1960s Oxford University & friends have been visiting the ?Ario? plateau in these incredible mountains and exploring the deep caves which can be found in the western massif of the Picos de Europa mountain in Northern Spain.
If you would like to be part of the summer 2022 expedition, we are now recruiting a team so please read on and follow the instructions below to register your interest.

Dates: We are in the process of applying for permits from the 23rd July to the 27th August. This is a 5-week period but it is likely we?ll focus the expedition around a core 4 weeks once we understand everyone?s availability. There?s no minimum time commitment but aiming for two weeks would be a good guide to get the most from the trip.

2022 Objectives: This year we?ll be dividing our attention between two caves.
Sima Cabeza Muxa is a 2.6km long 906m deep cave at an altitude of 1504m. The cave features a vertical shaft series from the surface to a depth of 600m, including a 247m pitch followed directly by a 100m pitch. From here a 300m wet streamway descent is made over a 600m distance to the terminal sump. 
In 1988 this sump was dived by Rick Stanton to a depth of 33m. The cave contains the largest stream way in the area and the water here is believed to drain to Cueva Culiembro in the Cares Gorge. The end of Sima Cabeza Muxa and Culiembro are about 1500m apart with a height difference of about 200m. We will plan on re-rigging Cabeza Muxa to facilitate continued diving in the downstream sump.

C4, Torca del Regallon, a pleasant, very vertical 600m+ deep cave that is a part of the Verdelluenga system.  This is the now famed cave featured in the Ario Dream film, that has now been connected to the iconic 2/7 aka Jultayu cave. In 2017 the upstream waterfall was successfully climbed and lead to numerous amazing big passages all with open leads. The cave was left rigged when the ACP was last there in 2018 with various very exciting leads left wide open for pushing. To find out more about the leads read the 2017 report here:

What to expect: Plan on either driving to Spain or flying to Oviedio, Santander or Bilbao and hiring a car to get you up into the mountains. You?ll park your car at Los Lagos and begin a 5k hike up to the Ario plateau. We are expecting to book bunk space in the refugio which will then act as our base camp.
At an altitude of over 1,500m you?ll be surrounded by incredible scenery, fantastic deep caves with the chance to go caving every day. 

What next:
Register your interest by emailing
Please list your availability for between the 23rd July to the 27th August and how many weeks you are likely to be able to join the expedition for.

Thanks, from Chris Jewell and Stef Dwyer