Author Topic: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017  (Read 2164 times)

Offline phil

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Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« on: May 15, 2017, 06:19:56 pm »
Tresviso 2017


The Picos de Europa is a range of mountains 20km inland from the northern coast of Spain, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains.  It consists of three main areas, the Central, Eastern and Western Massifs.  It was the Eastern Massif (or Andara) that drew the attention of Lancaster University Speleological Society (LUSS) in the early 1970s.


The early expedition years were spent pushing Cueva del Nacimiento (Cueva del Agua) located at the foot of the mountain range.  Over the years this was pushed to around the 11km and +300m mark, but after several years the cave was abandoned as the major routes sumped and no continuation could be found.  LUSS turned their attention to the Andara region higher up the mountain range and sought caves that would drop into the Nacimiento system and create a record-breaking 1500m through trip.

They eventually found a number of deep caves around this ‘top camp’ area.  Sara, Tere, Flowerpot and the -1169m deep Sima 56 (at the time one of the deepest in Spain) were all pushed to respectable depths.  Many years were spent pushing the top camp systems but the way through remained elusive. 

The idea was always to connect Sima 56 through to Nacimiento, a through trip of around 1500m vertically and ~5.9km horizontally.

Exploring Sima 56 downwards is an incredibly large undertaking (approx. -1129m deep, lots of pitches).  Upwards from Nacimiento will also be difficult, the furthest point in 1986 was a +200m ascending ramp, followed by some avens with surface debris.

Depending on what you look at, the difference between Sima 56 and Nacimiento is about 3km, but they have overlapped height wise.  Some of the known undescended shafts on the Sierra del a Corta are right above the furthest point of Nacimiento.

Recent activity
In 2005 a small SWCC trip found a number of undescended shafts on the top of the Sierra del a Corta.  Al2 remains unfinished.

In 2009 a joint SWCC & SBSS trip further explored Cueva del Entre Cuetos, located on the Sierra del Corta.  The 1996 limit at -100m was passed and the cave extended down a number of new pitches to an immature stream way that may repay a further visit

In 2010 SWCC and SBSS spent 10 days examining leads around the Sierra del Corta and Valdeladiezma, including a number of promising draughting shafts. (T69, T507, T504).  Torca Septrin, on the Pico Boro, was also revisited and extended for a few more metres and remains an ongoing project.

In 2011 SWCC Cueva del Nacimiento was successfully bolted and re-rigged all the way through the cave and up to the current limit of exploration in the final Death Race 2000 chamber. T69 was investigated further with some digging revealing the head of an un-descended shaft.

In 2012 SWCC spend 3 weeks further exploring Cueva del Nacimiento, including a successful dive of the Upstream Sump, not visited since 1986, extending the sump further and deeper.  Death Race 2000 was climbed and a series of pitches descending back toward stream level was discovered.

In 2014 SWCC and others further explored leads in Cueva del Nacimiento and revisited Torca Septrin

In 2015 the Tresviso Caves Project spent 2 weeks exploring Cueva del Nacimiento and discovered new extensions above the Death Race 2000 chamber (Die Hard and Jurassic World).  Additionally, a new large sump (Pena Colada sump) was discovered at the bottom of the Death Race streamway

In 2016 the Tresviso Caves Project spent 2 weeks exploring Cueva del Nacimiento and climbed a number of avens in the Die Hard – Jurassic World area.  Additionally, Pozo Natacha (in the Mazarassa mine area) was rigged ready for the next expedition.
Previous reports are available here: http://www.trevisocaves.info/reports.html

The Plan

The 2017 expedition will be undertaken over 2 weeks from July 8th to July 22nd 2017.
 
The expedition has a number of objectives.  The following are a few primary objectives:

Cueva del Nacimiento – Die Hard – Jurassic World
Various Leads
•   Multiple climbs in Jurassic World
•   Multiple climbs in Die Hard

Cueva del Nacimiento – Pina Colada Bypass
A 3-10m rift heads off from the Pina Colada sump
 
Cueva del Nacimiento – Teeth of Satan – Wet Aven
The 2017 expedition partly continued climbing a promising aven, part way up the Teeth of Satan ramps.  The aven requires completing with a possible continuation at the top.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Passages above Dan’s Big Room
Unexplored sections of passage near the 1970’s Terminal Chamber. 

Cueva del Nacimiento – Parting Friends
This sump lies about an hour from the entrance and is a short 8m dive to a second sump, currently at 200m still ongoing.  A dive at this site is planned towards the end of the expedition.

Middle Camp

Approx. 200m above the furthest point in Nacimiento is the Sierra del Corta.  A heavily wooded area with a number of promising leads, that could potentially drop into Nacimiento and provide an easier route into the back to aid exploration

T554

The 2014 trip re-discovered a large 100m shaft on the Sierra del a Corta.  Another good central location for dropping into Nacimiento, this requires some digging at the bottom

Al2

Discovered in 2005.  A drafting shaft not yet bottomed.  Jurassic World in Nacimiento appears to be heading directly towards this site

 
Secondary Objectives:

Time and resources permitting there are a number of secondary objectives that will be attempted:

1.   Pozo Del Castillo / Natacha.  Reinvestigate the possibility of resuming exploration of the Castillo system, currently at -293m .
2.   Locate draughting surface entrance, close to 80m aven beyond Sump 1 in Cueva del Marniosa
3.   Upstream series in Cueva del Marniosa.  Large black voids above the streamway.


The expedition currently keeps an occasional blog (including a recent weekend setup trip) and would be happy to keep ukcaving posted with further blogs.
Any rope would be used for both the climbs at the back end of Nacimiento and the rigging of some of the higher potholes.

Website: www.tresvisocaves.info





Offline Badlad

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 10:28:40 am »
Very exciting expedition - good luck to you all.
 :thumbsup:


You will soon have a PM 

Offline phil

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2017, 06:30:20 am »
My First Trip...

I first visited the Eastern Massif (or Andara) region of the Picos de Europa in 1996, as part of a small Lancaster University Speleological Society (LUSS) expedition. LUSS’s heyday had long since waned, but a very small contingent of students (and ex-students) were keeping the club going during term time and trying desperately to kick start the Tresviso expeditions in the summer.


The last large scale LUSS expedition had occurred in 1987, but since that time the majority of LUSS cavers had moved onto bigger and greater things, so due to lack of information and resources, these 90’s expeditions concentrated on smaller scale objectives, without the manpower or time to embark on anything of the size of the 70’s and 80’s LUSS expedition (where 50+ cavers descended on the mountain for up to 3 months!).

For me, relatively new to caving, an expedition of any size was a grand undertaken and I would bore anyone who would listen about the great adventures I was sure to have, and the dangers I was sure to face. The reality was slightly different.

This of course was the 90’s, so although caving attire was not much different, the obligatory floppy haircuts and lumberjack shirts were the travel clothes of choice and crammed into our very own minibus, with the club name on the bus changed to Wancaster by some wag in Inglesport we embarked on what seems a journey of epic proportions. The minibus was long bench style with 1km of rope piled up in the middle and 2 people half sat, half lying down on the benches, the rest of the team in the front. Not the most comfortable of journeys and the initial travel down to Portsmouth must have taken a good 12 hours, sat in various stress positions, with a broken heater and no radio. However, as a newbie to the expedition scene, the talk of huge resurgence caves and unexplored passage was more than exciting and I couldn’t wait to get out to Spain!

The ferry crossing was then, as it is now, pretty horrible. I personally suffer from really bad sea sickness, that can only appear to be cured by far too much drinking, presumably ‘scientifically’ correcting the imbalance in my head caused by the motion, to one caused by alcohol. Needless to say the journey passed in a haze of stumbling stupor…. for 24 hours. One positive was that at some point during the journey I ended up in a posh cabin, next to the captain’s quarter, a fine upgrade from sleeping on reclining seats. To this day I’m still not sure how I ended up there.

The following day the ferry slowly docked in Santander, the motion sickness and hangover now no longer working together and I just needed to get off that boat! Eventually I staggered back to the minibus and the other expedition members and finally we landed on Spanish soil. A times round the first roundabout before Sean (as designated Spanish driver) got the hang of driving on the wrong side and we headed off South towards the Picos.

The drive up through the Picos is always a fantastic view, the mountains getting larger and larger until you are driving up through huge gorges, with very large drops on either side. The roads are a lot safer now but even in 1996, a lot of the side barriers were made of wood and missing large sections where the snow had taken them off down the side. In a few places, far below, you could see often see cars that had been taken over the edge as well!

At Poncebos and the Cares Gorge (for those more interested in the Ario Caves Project) we turned off to the East and continued to climb up into the mountains, along further windy roads until the mountains level out on an obvious plateau and the village of Sotres (highest village in the Picos). Above the village the main mountain range of Andara reaches around 2200-2300m high and it’s only a few miles further that the ‘crossroads’ is reached. (The crossroads now, is actually a parking space for tourists and mountaineers, but at the time it was a mud turning circle, marking the junction between a dirt track to Tresviso, a dirt track to Bejes or a rocky track to the higher mountains.

The 1996 expedition was not actually based in Tresviso. A small camp site a couple of km’s up the mountain track and down into a meadow was the best site for pitching tents and having a suitable water source. The amount of equipment in the minibus meant 3 trips back and forth back were required and by the time tents were pitched and bags unpacked it was getting quite late. A quick meal (can’t remember what) and off to bed with the exciting promise of caving the next day!


The next day I had my first taste of expedition caving. The Cheese Cave, as it was called, was about 200m down the valley in a wooded clearing. First discovered in the mid 1980’s, it was a -120m deep cave with a drafting rift at the very end. The cave sat in the middle area between the resurgence cave, Cueva del Agua and the notorious higher altitude deep pot hold caves, such as Sima 56 (at that time the deepest in the Andara region at -1169m). That was pretty much all I knew about it, apart from a notorious squeeze near the start of the cave, called The Constriction of Doom, followed by the Corkscrew (probably of Doom as well). I’m not sure why cavers need to name parts of the cave with such hyperbole, maybe too much Harry Potter reading, or in the 90’s too much Xena, but it usually sets my mind racing about how bad it must actually be to earn such a name.

The passage of time (not another part of the cave…) has dulled what I can remember of that constriction and it has long since been widened by later expeditions, but it was pretty tight, think the Blowhole in Gaping Gill or Birthday Squeeze in Swildons, but 5m long, lying flat out on one side, starting in a puddle of water.


The Corkscrew (of certain death) was actually more intimidating than the constriction, starting in a small chamber full of shattered rocks, that appeared to be the only thing holding the entire roof up. In the centre a tight vertical drop requires an acrobatic sit / squat / twist combination, turning onto ones back and then rolling sideways to face the front, all of this with no space to turn head and look below.


A further 5m crawl then leads to the first pitch and the start of some ‘easier’ caving. A team was already in the cave from earlier in the morning, so all pitches were rigged. This was before easy access to drills and through bolts so all the pitches had a generous amount of natural rigging from any available rock, and in some cases mud, that provide a good anchor point.

The first couple of pitches are typical of the type of potholes in the area, being rather tight and rifty, with a lot of old decayed rock and calcite hanging precariously all over the place. In particular, the 3rd pitch Sword Pitch, starts for the first 5m over a hanging curtain of old calcite that rings with every touch. Even now the pitch requires a generous amount of rope protectors to rig with any sense of safety. Further pitches follow, but now an obvious draft is encountered, coming from lower down in the cave. At the Waiting Room, a low crawl leads off, which requires removal of all equipment, before popping out into a keyhole shaped passage with a cold breeze coming through a tight, impassable rift. It is at this rift that the previous expedition had spent many hours hammering away with a lump hammer and again this year the intended focus of our effort.

Out team of three spent a few hours hammering away, until the smallest member could just squeeze the top part of her body through the rift, tiredness and coldness prevented much further work and we exited the cave.

As my first taste of expedition caving, it was a nice gentle introduction. My second lesson was immediately after exiting the cave. Bearing in mind the cave was only 200m from the camp, the next 24 hours were spent lost in the mountains with no water and only a handful of alpine strawberries for food…..


Offline Joe90

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2017, 08:56:51 pm »
Almost makes me want to be there...

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Offline phil

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 05:30:35 am »
Cueva de la Marniosa - Setup


Some pictures removed as too large - need to modify


One of the objectives of the 2017 expedition is the aid climb of an 80m aven, in Cueva de la Marniosa.  Unfortunately, the aven lies beyond a sump, so divers are required to pass the sump before attempting the climb beyond.  The climbing of the aven is more for the desire to connect to any nearby surface sites, as such a connection would allow teams of non-divers to enter beyond the sump and then support divers at the currently undived sump 2, further into the cave and considerably more challenging for divers to work on their own.

Marniosa lies just up valley of Cueva del Nacimiento, and is probably a feeder into the larger system.  The entrance is a small 1m high fissure in the side of the hillside, where a cool strong draft emits constantly.  Originally the cave was a cheese cave, typical of the area, and used to store the local cheeses, a particularly strong blue veined variety.  However, beyond the old abandoned cheese racks, lies nearly 5km of cave from large dusty chambers in the higher entrance series, to an active streamway at around -230m depth. 

Marniosa was heavily explored in the late 70’s by Lancaster University Speleological Society (LUSS), but following a tragic accident, visits become less and the neighbouring Nacimiento cave was proving to be giving up its secrets far more easily.  It wasn’t until the mid-80’s that a team from the South Wales Caving Club (SWCC) returned to Marniosa with the aim of exploring the undived sumps. This was a highly successful trip that not only dived the first sump, but also discovered nearly a 1km of passage beyond, terminating in a second sump pool.

Initially, we wanted to transport some dive bottles to sump 1, ready for the divers, to dive sump 1 later in the week.  A team of 4 assembled with various size bottles attached to their backs and other assorted bits and pieces.  Normally a 45 minutes slog down the track to the cave is required, but now, with the benefit of a 4x4, we drove straight to the cave and only a short 5 minute climb to the entrance was required.

After the initial entrance chamber, the cave quickly starts to descend rapidly via a series of initially small pitches to the impressive Morning Chamber, full of old stalagmites and stalactites.  As we had all been in Marniosa a few times over the years, we didn’t stop to admire the scenery and we continued onto the next large 20m pitch.  The cave had been left rigged from the previous year, so we had no hassle of carrying rope and metalwork to rig the pitches and we all reached this point with ease.  From here the cave changes character again, with large fossil galleries and abandoned streamways.  This is the nicest section of the cave, with lots of interesting formations and pleasant passage. 

All too soon, the cave changes again, with more muddy passage taking over and we knew we would be approaching the drop into the streamway.  Papoose Pitch, as it is called, is a very muddy affair, with no real clean rigging possible and just a lot of mud to slip and injure something.  At the bottom a series of platform are reached, that lead down via some exposed climbs, into the streamway.  The active streamway makes a nice change from the rest of the cave, upstream in particular containing a lot of passage to a terminal chamber with a number of avens to be climbed.  However, we were interested in downstream, so we set off again. 

It’s been a few years since I have been downstream in Marniosa, but I had forgotten how tricky some of the passage is, with high level traverses or exposed climb downs required for most of the 400m between the bottom of Papoose Pitch to Sump 1.  There are 3 pitches in the streamway, again rigged last year, and there was a danger that winter floods might have damaged some of the rope, but luckily the first 2 pitches were fine.  The third one was different.  Not only was it rigged with deviations using maillons (ran out of carabiners), the core was exposed (found this out after I had already reached the bottom of the pitch).  This will need re-rigging when we come back.

Not long after this final pitch, the start of a series of swims marks the approaching sump.  Gear was stashed here while Gareth took a quick jump into the deeper streamway to check out the sump.  Although he was only gone for 5 minutes, it’s a very chilly place in the stream and we were all starting to get cold.  A few jelly beans for energy and we set off back.  The original plan had been to look at some leads upstream but as time was getting on, an exit was preferred.  Progress was slow coming out, and there was some opportunity for photos while waiting to ascend the pitches

Eventually, we exited after 7 hours underground, but still more ferrying trips required, before a proper dive can be launched.




Offline jeskynar

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 11:09:17 am »
I first visited the Eastern Massif (or Andara) region of the Picos de Europa in 1996, as part of a small Lancaster University Speleological Society (LUSS) expedition.

Hi Phil, nice report. I got a shock when I saw the photo of myself there! I went in 1995 though.

Offline phil

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2017, 01:01:56 pm »
Cueva de la Marniosa - Terminal Sump 2 dive
                  
Gareth had been having trouble sleeping over the few days previously, possibly due to the heat. This meant going on a push trip to the end of Cueva Marniosa to the Terminal Sump 2 would not be sensible. Josh was still determined to go but was not keen on the idea of a solo trip to the end (with or without dive kit), based on various reports of the cave suggesting a hard trip was in order (see reports from Boothroyd et al.). Therefore Josh persuaded Arwel to join him since Arwel, despite not being a cave diver, had previously passed Sump 1 without issues to help Gareth in the 80m aven beyond.

Thankfully Arwel agreed and an uneventful trip down to Sump 1 was had in good time (45 mins) where both dived through, Josh carrying a bag with SRT kits plus other bits and bobs in a Daren drum (floaty!). On the other side Arwel started to brew a hot chocolate whilst Josh sorted equipment for the Sump 2 dive, including a makeshift dive harness (etriers), a single full 3L cylinder (one of two left on that side of Sump 1 by Josh two days prior), some bolting kit and general dive accessories.

The journey down to the limit explored by Josh on a solo trip two days before was much nicer this time, with company, and the obstacle turned out to be an awkward squeeze between a fallen block and the passage wall (which Arwel climbed on the way back, whereas Josh squeezed back up). After this, relatively pleasant stream passage with the usual climbing, traversing, rifts and stooping was followed for some time, via some large chambers, passing a sump pitch to the left noted on the survey, to the 14m pitch into the “bear pit” obstacle. This area had been the site of frustration for multiple previous explorers, as evidenced by equipment left behind, including Brian Judd’s lead and diving cylinders. Multiple lengths of rope were left on or near the pitch, and the first attempt to descend by Josh was shaken by one of the Y-hang “anchors” failing, when a natural rock flake inconveniently broke away. During the subsequent fall/swing encountered by Josh, an impact onto an extended left arm caused some pain and aches for the remainder of the trip. The anchors were re-rigged and the pitch descended into a large resurging pool, likely the regained streamway after it is lost in one of the aforementioned chambers. A swim across this and a short section of walking passage lead to a tight rift and a climb above.

This area is not well represented on the survey, no climb is specified in this large walking section however having communicated with MadPhil Rowsell previously, who had bolted up this climb, Josh was aware that a rope should be nearby. This was found to be about 4m up, anchored to a bolt. Josh went back to cut a short section of excess rope from the bottom of the previous pitch before Arwel, being by far the better climber, clipped it onto the 4m bolt and continued up, carefully, to the top. Midway AR found another rope from across the void attached to the rope he was climbing, which turned out to be the main hang rope installed by MadPhil for the pitch after climbing the corner. This ascending pitch is around the same height as the previous descending pitch (15m or so) and is not on the survey, despite having been climbed by the 80’s explorers (dive line was found above and below the pitch).

There are a couple of ways on at the top, and given the inconsistency of multiple descriptions a long while was spent looking around for what matched the descriptions and survey best. A retreat to the bottom of the pitch to explore the rifts below was carried out, to cover all routes, until after a discussion on whether to continue or not, it was decided to choose the ongoing large passage at the top (which didn’t match survey direction or description). This continued into sharp, snaggy, nasty traversing at high level and became obvious that it was the way, where there was no possibility of staying at the same height, with lots of up and down climbing on extremely weak and sharp rock (a fall would NOT be conducive to life). A point high up, on an S-bend was reached where progress began to look bleak and dangerous. More discussions were had where Arwel seemed happy to turn around, with Josh agreeing subject to one more attempt to bottom the rift. This turned out to be fruitful, where an exposed, cautious, but relatively straight-forward series of descents led to rifted streamway and eventually the difficult, tight, friable jagged rifts that were expected based on prior reports.

With the bag of dive gear, the journey through this rift had to be methodical, slow and careful. Everything snagged, at all levels, with multiple restricted and resistive climbs up and down, chest-tight squeezes and a deep pool midway through, requiring a cold swim across. Finally the rift widened slightly, leading to a boulder choke (easily passed) and more pleasant streamway. This got appreciably easier until stomping streamway lead off, with periodic obstacles, to the final chamber with the large, clear blue Terminal Sump 2 at the far end.

Without wanting to waste time, Josh kitted up into his dive kit and entered the water, buoyant, using two compact reels (i.e. search reels) as dive line. The crystal clear underwater passage dipped gradually down to a shallow 5m depth, where it continued to an elbow.  Surface was visible ahead and was reached after approximately 25-30m, using both reels with only a metre to spare to tie off on the far side. Approximately 40m of open, lightly cascading stream passage was explored, after removing some kit, to a calcite/mud climb on the right and rifted stream passage on the left. The climb was pushed until it became too exposed for the divers’ situation, but was seen to choke ahead. Down on the left, a very short foray into the narrow stream passage saw an ongoing rift continuation, relatively pleasant with no sign on an imminent sump. Aware that Arwel was waiting on the far side and would be getting cold/feeling isolated, Josh began a return. The security of the join between the two line sections was inspected once more, in doing so, due to very positive buoyancy, Josh found himself stood upside down near the far side of the elbow of the sump with feet on the roof and head on the gravel bottom – an amusing situation in such a place. The line was left in place, and an exit was made to a pleased Arwel.

The trip back to Sump 1 was a long, uneventful journey, where Arwel got a brew on and heated some ration packs, while Josh prepped all kit for bringing back through the sump (it was at the time improbable that either Gareth or Arwel would return with Josh to Sump 2, hence all kit was due to exit from the diver-only section of the cave). This included all kit used to aid the aven downstream, plus cooking and excess dive kit. This amounted to three large bags for Josh to exit with, which were tied together and made as neutral as possible for the return, which was successful and unhindered. AR being uncomfortable in deep canals (which are extensive on the exit side of Sump 1) continued through after the dive to warm up at the dryer Sump 1 dive base, whilst Josh ferried the remainder of kit through the canal and up the cascade to meet him. Kit was then sorted, a brew was heated, and a further uneventful exit was made, reaching the surface 16 hours after entering the cave (at least 12 of which beyond Sump 1). Thanks to Arwel for enduring yet another Marniosa Sump 1 cave dive!

By Josh Bratchley



Offline phil

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2017, 04:22:36 pm »
Torca del Oso Caido (Fallen Bear)

On the northern slope of Samelar is an area called Brañaredonda, where Torca del Oso Caido or Fallen Bear is located.  In the 70’s LUSS explored down the main pitch and discovered a few smaller pitches before leaving the cave to explore elsewhere.  AD KAMI revisited the cave in the 90’s and allegedly moved a small rock at the foot of one pitch and discovered nearly -400m depth of new cave.  Accurate descriptions of what is at the end of the cave, vary from ‘nothing’ to a half-submerged passage onto an undescended 40m pitch.



The nature of the cave passage (huge ramps) is similar to Nacimiento and the location places it coming down the mountina between Nacimiento and Rio Chico, so a cave of much interest.  Finally, on this expedition I was able to convince a number of people to visit and report back.

Friday 14th July (Chris Jones, Hannah Moulton, Emma Battensby)

Excited by the prospect of some sunshine above the cloud at the top of the hill, the air conditioned drive to the White House was enjoyed. Armed with two different sets of GPS coordinates (following a very quick lesson)  Emma, Chris and Hannah set off on a bear hunt. Initially following the LUSS coordinates we located an entrance below the Bejes track. Having decided that the entrance did not match the (minimal) description of Fallen Bear we figured out how to input the AD KAMI coordinates and continued to search. These took us above the road but to no avail. It was clearly lunchtime. Tasty sandwiches and tea (from some lovely thermos flasks) were enjoyed before deciding to drop the entrance on the LUSS coordinates just to be sure. Whilst Chris and Hannah kitted up, Emma wandered down the track to try and make more sense of the description from Bejes. After watching Chris and Hannah disappear down the shaft Emma walked back up past the White House to join the team at Castillo/Segura II, narrowly avoiding being mauled by a large, scary canine!

Hannah rigged, following spits. Chris followed surveying. ~70m deep. A small climb at the bottom (not previously passed) lead to a small sump (5-10m of passage). De-rigged.

Saturday 15th July (Hannah Moulton, Chris Jones, Bob Clay)

Previous coordinates followed to exact location as yesterday despite grid change.  Kit retrieved from Friday cave and mark followed back to GPS point successfully.

Underground
The entrance shaft was cool. Hannah rigged with an entourage of birds flying around. Chris and Bob followed doing an awful survey (an 18m leg is missing between stations 3 & 4…). Hannah was located happily rigging on the way we’d decided to go while Chris and Bob looked at some dead dogs. When it became clear it lead to the LUSS deep point it was de-rigged and the main chamber explored to find the way on, which continues under a breakdown chamber into smaller ancient phreatic passage, where the bear lives.

Sunday 16th July (Hannah Moulton, Chris Jones, Bob Clay)

The 1996 KAMI route was located by passing the bear and dropping the 13m shaft. A small muddy ramp leads to the ‘50m pitch’. On the way a small down climb lead to a short continuation, but it did not go. The 50m pitch was a long ramp, split by a breakdown chamber and a stal ledge, was very Aguaesque. Part way down a parallel shaft was spotted through some stal, Bob bolted his way down this while Chris and Hannah began to explore El Chaos. One lead (window) in the ceiling was spotted early on which would require a short bolt climb, not that promising to be fair. The Chaos is fairly chaotic. We returned to the base of the 50m pitch to cook Bob some lunch and returned to the surface, his shaft went down ~12m, where he could get off the rope and walk to a large clean aven, a further short pitch lead into a meander back under the original pitch, no way on. The remaining kit was stashed at the base of the entrance shaft (which probably needs de-rigging). There is a lot of air movement in this lower part of the cave and it is cold!



Wednesday 19th July (Dave Powlesland, Tom Lia)

The night before had started with extensive planning and much deliberation as to what we were going to look at in Fallen Bear Cave… Although the bar had distracted us a fair amount, leaving us weary for our early start when we awoke the following morning.

So we had an early 11am start (expedition early) we marched up the hill via the many shortcuts to be at the cave for around midday. Neither of us had been down the cave before, but heard route finding was a blast. After a quick descent of the gaping gill sized chamber we immediately got lost. EAST WEST EAST WEST - -- - - -yes the old description was incorrect!!!!  After finally finding the correct direction out of the way down to the end of the cave we swiftly descended through a maze of smaller, tight pitches to El Caos (after picking up drill, rope and bolting kit from the main entrance chamber). 

As per previous reports…. This really was the CHAOS!!! (El Caos) Fallen, stricken, loose, dodgy, formidable boulders everywhere we could go.  We continued down a 45 degree slope, over boulders, loose rocks and mud.  Several free climbs and a few scree slope traverses lead us eventually toward the end of the broken down passage. But this wasn’t the end of it. The height of the passage reduce to body width, where we had to thrutch our way down and through the narrow, low passage.

Several attempts at finding possible side passages and unexplored areas had lead us in circles with only a few small avens confirmed as possible leads. As we progressed to the lower reaches of the cave we encountered the lower pitches that Dave swiftly drilled and rigged for us to continue. We dropped the ‘27m’ pitch that soaked up a 50m rope (left rigged). This whole section a cave is a bit of a variation and the pitch we rigged seemed the most straightforward to descend.  After a crawl through boulders and a short squeeze, we popped our head over the final pitch, which was described as a 37m pitch, however it looked as though a 50-60m rope was needed. The final pitch into the chamber was very impressive and presented a different character to the rest of the cave, this was an atmospheric wet, draughty cold chamber. One of our aims was to see one of the marked avens at the top of this chamber. There is clearly a large window with a mender/shaft heading away from us, and away from the rest of the cave. It should be aim of the next expedition to push this meandering window to see if it links into another system.

AAARRRRGGHH FLAP FLAP – ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYY (Dave says) but the flap was not from a human ….. It was from some sort of beast!!!  FLAP FLAP the beast (small bird), was a crow, who had chosen to make its nest in the entrance shaft. The crow perched itself on Dave’s shoulder in a displeased manner. Tom had no such problems. The crows were merely dispersed by a swift backhander.

Entrance pitch derigged – need deviation for very top – need deviation for ledge half way down main pitch. 79m pitch marked – say 60 and 40 would work well on re-rigging.
50m rope required for lowest pitch

Lightweight aid climbing gear for numerous marked leads on survey at lower areas of cave.




Offline Joe90

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2017, 08:48:26 am »
Good work.

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Offline meanderthal

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2017, 06:18:26 pm »
One of the main aims of the Tresviso Caves Project is to connect the resurgence cave of Cueva Del Agua with one of the many surface potholes in the Andara region. This year we had help and support of Ukcaving.com, ghar parau and Starless River. Here's a brief update of what some of the team have been up to over the first week.

There was a bit of a shock on the first day when the entrance passage was found flooded. However, with a new traverse line rigged it was possible to keep the socks of our happy campers dry (Chris, H, Alex and Dave). On the inward trip to camp an intricate network of passages (Satans Chode) above the Teeth of Satan was surveyed to two open leads, a large continuation of the passage requiring a short bolt climb and an 8m pitch into a rift at the end of the passage. Refreshingly, this passage was heading downhill making exploration much easier than the usual climbing approach required in Agua! With the passage appearing to be head back toward the known cave attention was returned to the far reaches of Agua - Jurassic World.

Much type 2 fun was had transporting the exploration gear to the far end of the cave (the return trip requires ~1600m of ascent and descent) where 3 avens were climbed by Chris, H and Dave. Of these 1 (Terror Firma) remains ongoing and was the target of the next trips into the cave. Terror Firma is now the highest point of Agua at ~530m above the entrance and takes the form of some steep and very slippery ramps with both a draft and water flow present. Being less than 20m from the end of the cave it certainly presents an interesting prospect! Another aven (Pterodactyl Crumble) was climbed to a series of high level chambers, littered with bat skelingtons, unfortunately no way on was found.

Having escaped a return trip to DR2000, life returned to the surface where the sun was shining. A route was found past a newly discovered snow plugged shaft in the Pozo Castillo system. Unfortunately, the excitement was short lived with the passage below the shaft quickly leading to a sump, not providing a bypass to the collapsed entrance.

Fallen Bear Cave was relocated and the impressive 80m entrance shaft re-rigged with 2 new leads were pushed to conclusion. With 2 leads found so early on in the cave, there is excellent potential for the way on in the main ramp...


We left before the end of the exped for some wet climbing (in the Western Massif) and an interesting visit to La Loja cave in Panes with some excellent examples of prehistoric cave paintings. The only other member of our group was a Spanish singer inspired by neolithic man (Neonymus) who provided excellent backing vocals to the tour!

Watch this space for a more detailed report on the exped.

Offline meanderthal

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2017, 06:27:37 pm »
Alos, a question for those with some knowledge of cave fauna. A largish bug type thing was spotted in the 'Wet Aven' area of Cueva del Agua. The area it was found in is a long abandoned phreatic passage, which has captured what we think is the inlet from more recent surface pothole. It is around 6km (total guess) from the nearest known entrance and there is ~350-450m of rock above.

The bug was around 50p sized in diameter, had 6 legs and 2 pincers. It was either orange coloured or sea through with orange innards. It was alive and happily pincering its pincers and wander around the wall. Unfortunately no pictures were taken.

Any ideas?

Offline adam

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2017, 10:30:51 pm »
Could your bug possibly be a pseudoscorpion? Seen one of these at similar depth and behaving the same in Montenegro. 50p sounds very big though, and they have 8 legs, though legs can fall off.

Enjoying all these posts and looking forward to the report.


Offline phil

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2017, 04:18:56 pm »
Further to Chris' update above a few more summary details:


Cueva del Nacimiento – Jurassic World – Terror Firma
The ‘final’ aven at the end of the cave was climbed to over 40m, a split in the aven was followed to a new height of 534m above the entrance, but closed down.  The second aven remains unclimbed and is ongoing

Cueva del Nacimiento – Jurassic World – Pterodactyl Crumble
Another aven at the end of the cave was explored upwards before reaching horizontal passage for another 60m, then finally closing down.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Death Race 2000 – Joe’s Crack
Initial constriction was passed and the passage continues down another 35m, to head of undescended 12m pitch.  The passage heads under the Death Race chamber, toward the Death Race pitches.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Teeth of Satan – Wet Aven
The Wet Aven was not attempted on this trip, in part due to 2 trips getting lost on the way to the far end and running out of time to climb.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Other
180m of passage found near Death Race passage.
A new aven (+30m) found near P Chamber in Death Race passage, continues.

Cueva del La Marniosa
Sump 1 was dived and the 80m aven beyond was climbed to approx. 47m.  The rock is extremely poor and no obvious continuations could be seen at the top of the aven, using powerful lights.

The Marniosa team diverted attention to trying to dive Sump 2,  an undived sump, discovered in 1987 and unvisited since.  A rather ambitious trip saw two cavers reach sump 2 and allowed one diver to pass sump 2 (30m long t 5m depth) to surface in stream passages.  A further 40m of cave was explored and still continues, before safety concerns forced a retreat.

Pozo Del Castillo. 
Pozo Castillo continues to be surveyed (2km +) and leads explored, attempting to bypass the 1987 snow collapse.  The rediscovery of FT16 and the lower snow levels, allowed further progress in the system, but a sump was encountered at -110m. 

Pozo Natacha (a series of pitches in Castillo, rather than a separate cave) was pushed past it’s 1983 limit, down a tight right to the head of a tight 20m pitch.  This pitch head would need serious enlargement before further exploration can continue.

Other exploration
Torca del Carneros was (re)discovered and surveyed.  This lies on La Mesa, above Tresviso, and probably would be connected to caves draining away from Tresviso toward the San Esteban valley.

Fallen Bear was also rigged ready for further exploration in 2018.  The bulk of the cave is a steeply descending ramp, similar to Nacimiento, and contains a number of leads of potential.

Summary:
In total over 2kmkm of cave was surveyed in 2017.  Exploration of Nacimiento continues and has now pushed the height to over 534m from the entrance.  A logistical challenge that is not proving to get any easier, despite fixed camps toward the end of the cave.  Trips to the far end require 4-5 nights of camping, and advanced camps at the far (far) end now need to be considered. 

Passing the second sump in Marniosa is a major achievement and unexpectedly has surfaced in passage heading away from Nacimiento and into the mountain, possible towards a hypotheses trunk route that may also feed the upstream sump in Nacimiento. 

The rigging of Fallen Bear, and discovery of some new leads, opens up further possibilities of closer deeper systems lying between Nacimiento and the deep potholes high on the mountain.


Full report and Hidden Earth presentation to follow


Offline blhall195

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Re: Rope Sponsor Entry - Tresviso 2017
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2018, 01:43:44 pm »
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.