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Croesor Rhosydd - Boat is stuck


Well-known member
Slightly off topic but what do people do crossing the lakes in coventosa these days? [...]

The ultimate option for crossing cave lakes is on a noble inflatable steed.

Crossing the lake in Smoo cave on an inflatable light-up zebra.


Bringing gear back across the lake at the Grotte de Gournier (unicorn supplied by the Finnish caving society navy).


New member
Update 21/05/2023

Boat is free and set up on one way system.
Is far from perfect however works as intended.

Does seem to be taking on a bit of water now. I’ve emptied it today. Not sure if it’s the previous repair what’s failed.

View attachment 15864
We used it a week before you and was v full if water so bailed most of it out to make it stable enough for the crossing


Well-known member
We used it yesterday. The boat pull cord was tangled up in a length of old steel cable that was hanging from the ceiling to a couple of feet below water level, making the boat impossible to bring to the base of the abseil, but stuck around 10m in to the lake. Fortunately, we had a one person inflatable kayak with us, so were able to get to the canoe and disentangle the pull cord from the frayed end of the cable. I can confirm that working with a sharp, frayed steel cable end on an inflatable boat is a bit nerve wracking! After that, the boat worked fine and we had an excellent trip through the mountain. The inside of the boat seemed pretty dry. It now has paddles inside, which we used to cross to the Rhosydd end, with the cord to pull back. I suspect that the slackness in the pull cord, now it isn't using the clever pulley system, allowed it to drift in to the sunken steel cable and snag.
For the future, if a public spirited person could take a battery angle grinder with them and cut the cable a few feet above water level, then that would prevent it happening again. We can confirm that it is a very good idea to have an alternative method of floatation with you for the lake crossing. It saved us a long return trip back out of Croesor and a second tramp across the mountain in the rain.


New member
Slightly off topic but what do people do crossing the lakes in coventosa these days? And what do the Spaniards do? Is there a difference? In 2000 I did the through trip with a student group and we used inflatable dinghies, removed wellies and srt kits and put them in the bottom of the boat and paddled across. This Easter some acquaintances did the same thing but Aparrently a Spanish document they saw advised against this and suggested swimming in wetsuits instead. The walls and submerged rocks are razor sharp and boats are easily popped for the careless.
Now after 10+ hours caving would you rather have carried a wetsuit all the way though and swim dragging a floating! bag of kit or jump in an awaiting boat and fend off the rocks? If you don’t know the lakes are 50, 100 and 150m long.
Only a madman would wear neoprene all the way through the cave btw. They’d need to consume their own body weight in water to combat dehydration!
We went in easter this year and brought in three medium sized (big enough for two people each) inflatable boats and a smaller one for kit (which was really packed to the brim), plus several buoyancy aids. Didn't have any problems except our gear boat starting to sink as we arrived at the end of the last lake 😬. We didn't follow the cord as this seemed to lead us into the path of more rocks. We did speak to someone who swam them a few years ago but decided that sounded too crazy, especially with how cold they were (we did have to get wet up to our waists wading in and were very glad not to have to swim them).
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Well-known member
Interesting debate. It depends a lot on your swimming ability and cold tolerance. I have an American bag made by Swaygo (not imported currently) that is compact ergonomic and can carry a small Peli and another small box. It has an Ortlieb type closure. We took cheap inflatable rings into the Hundidero Gato through trip that, again, has the odd lake to cross. They were rubbish but the bag, on my back, was buoyant enough for me to paddle lazily through the lakes. . They aren't cheap (mine was $100 in the USA) but they are durable (had mine for some years now) and you can manoeuvre all but the most awkward caves with one on your back. Look 'em up on the web site: https://swaygogear.com/


Well-known member
I heard from them a few days ago when i was enquiring how to do repairs. They would love to have a UK distributor if anybody wants to take up that role.


Boat is stuck about 4m from the Croesor side.

If anyone is going in, it would benefit from being freed off, which will likely require taking a dinghy (or wetsuit) to sort it out.

Wayland Smith

Active member
Front page news!

Cavers stranded after boat fails at underground lake in Eryri mine
North Wales News.

"Two cavers sparked a large emergency response when they struggled to navigate an underground lake in an old slate quarry. The alarm was raised when the pair were reported overdue from a trip through the Croesor-Rhosydd mine complex in Eryri (Snowdonia).
The quarry provides an “underground adventure” for cavers because of the number of obstacles that must be negotiated. As well as pits, bridges and zip wires, a 50 metre-wide lake must be crossed."


Active member
I think next time I’m in there I’ll put a laminated sign in the entrance adit saying FULL SRT kit is required for this trip. The people rescued were climbers that didn’t have all the equipment needed
Well done NWCRO!

Can anyone help me understand what's happened here please? I am reading that they had to retrace their route due to the boat, and one failed at the final pitch back up. I had read that there was a diversion added to bypass this first abseil. I'm wondering that if there needs to be signage added anywhere, then this potential exit back needs clearly marking?