Author Topic: Picos Caving  (Read 642 times)

Offline BertieMoffatt

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Picos Caving
« on: January 28, 2019, 07:57:52 pm »
Hi all,
Exeter University is looking to go to the Picos in the summer. We aren't looking to have a hard exploration trip, as many people will never have caved abroad before. However as none of us have gone there before I don't know much about the caves of the region. Does anyone know any pre-explored caves or can give any general info about caving in the Picos? Thanks,
Bertie

Offline droid

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2019, 08:09:29 am »
Have a chat with YUCPC
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Offline AdrianTurner

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2019, 08:42:31 am »
Think everyone who went to the Picos has left yucpc now, but we do have the details of their expeditions written up on the website http://picos.yucpc.org.uk/PicosHome.htm

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Online Benfool

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2019, 08:51:16 am »
There are 2 British expedition to the Picos, get in touch with them. They might have some ideas of where you guys can go and what red tape you're gonna have to go through to go caving.

http://ariocavesproject.com
https://www.tresvisocaves.info

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Offline David Rose

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2019, 09:17:53 am »
I've been to the Picos many times, but always on a permit granted for exploration of the Ario area. The range is covered by national parks, and it is difficult to operate without permission. You need a permit even for wild camping for periods longer than a very few days.

I'm not sure whether anyone is doing 'tourist trips' in the Picos. There are some caves which could be suitable, although I suspect they would need extensive re-bolting. If your group has not had experience of deep caving before (systems around 1km deep or more) the Picos might not be the best area in which to start. There are classic caves in France which get a lot more attention of this kind, notably the Berger and the PSM.

In general, Picos caving is often quite severe. The caves tend to be cold (though not as cold as, say, Austria) and many have awkward rifts. Many new to this game have thrived after joining expeditions in which there is already an experienced core, but without that, I would be wary.

Offline droid

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2019, 09:38:09 am »
There are other dangers.

85 (I think) myself and Andy Kemp were shaft bashing above Vega Huerta and found a hand grenade.....1935 vintage....just sat there on a a rock.....
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Offline Alex

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2019, 10:28:55 am »
It sounds like you are best going a few hours drive further East and go to Matienzo. Caves there for all levels, both horizontal and verticle and you will very likely find new stuff. Though its worth spending a few days in Picos for hiking etc, as it's fantastic scenery. Like David says there are few caves that are suitable in the Picos for complete beginners as they are very vertical and technical, though not that desperate.
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Offline nobrotson

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2019, 10:54:50 am »
Having been to the Picos with the Ario Caves Project in 2014 I would not say it is overall a sport caving destination. The caves are deep and quite challenging across the Ario plateau and the expeditions run there now are not especially suitable for novice alpine cavers due to the deep nature of the current exploration objectives there. Although having said that I was a novice alpine caver when I went so I'm sure its possible... Contact Mike Bottomley, Paul Mackrill or Steph Dwyer for more information (I think Paul is going to be coordinating this years expedition, Mike and Steph have run previous years). Spanish cavers explore the Picos regularly but for sport caving in the region you'd be better off in Cantabria I think. SUSS have run a sport caving holiday to there (Cueva Ceventosa) in the last few years so maybe get in touch with them. Though this cave is also not trivial and a serious undertaking. I'm sure there are other more amenable objectives in the area, there are loads of caves there. Matienzo as Alex says is a well-known quick-hit exploratory/sport caving destination that is popular with Brits.

If you're SRT competent and looking for a chill and student-friendly but also very accomplished and exciting exploratory project, I can fully recommend the CUCC expedition to Austria. If you're keen to learn how to explore and map alpine caves safely and thoroughly for the first time this is the place to go. Exact dates are not yet confirmed but it will last for 6 weeks over the course of July and August. Come for as little or as long as you like, and explore as much or as little as you like. If you want more insight into what we have done on previous expos check out these posts from 2017 and 2018. Keep an eye on the facebook page here for more updates as well. Any questions please ask me.

If its sport caving you want then as Dave says France has some classic systems (Berger, PSM, Felix Trombe, Verneau) to explore as you please. I can't help you much with this unfortunately but I'm sure someone will have all the info you need. Have fun :)
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Offline not_a_climber

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2019, 10:52:00 pm »
 As far as I know the caving in the Eastern massif near Tresviso, where SUSS went last year, is only permitted with express permission of the national park authority, which is quite hard to get and not given to sporting trips.

Offline Leclused

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Re: Picos Caving
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2019, 08:04:38 am »
As already mentioned in several posts above. Picos is hard and cold and difficult to get permits.

Some alternatives with links to get information / permits

- PSM : http://arsip.fr/speleologie-a-pierre-saint-martin-regles-de-pratique/
- Verneau and others caves (doubs) : http://www.speleo-doubs.com/actualite/verneau.php
- Berger (2019) : https://www.facebook.com/groups/816551028409538/

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