# Oxford University Cave Club

## 1989 "Juracao " Expedition Final Report

### Picos de Europa, Spain

Contents

Other Expedition reports

### Other Caves Explored in 1989

#### Area 5

Area 5 is the region around the Xitu col and includes the valle Extremero to the lip of the bowl containing 53/5. Its boundary on the eastern side is the green ridge running down from Jultayu. For a complete listing of caves explored in area 5 in previous years see O.U.C.C. Proceedings 10, 11, and 12 and the 1987 and 1988 expedition reports.

50/5

Location: Follow the Trea path from camp until it turns sharp left where it meets a green valley. At this point turn right to follow the green valley away from the path. After about 30m two cave entrances will be seen on the left; the first is 51/5 and the second is 50/5.

Description: A tricky 5m free climb (best laddered) lands in a small chamber with two ways on. Both routes rejoin at the top of a pitch into a second chamber with no way on. From the smaller of the two routes to the pitch a small climb (2--3m) lands in a passage connecting with 51/5.

51/5

Location: A few metres closer to the trea path than 50/5.

Description: Easy climb to a chamber, a low arch at the lowest point of the chamber provides a 1m climb into another small chamber. A passage back under this climb eventually connects to 50/5.\footnote[1]{Both 50/5 and 51/5 were not marked and were previously explored in '86 or '87 (by D. Horsley) and so may have been described previously.

52/5

Location: An unmarked shaft near 15/5.

Description: Boulders were removed from the entrance to facilitate entry to a 2m free climb down past unstable boulder to a tight rift. The rift seemed to close down around the first bend, but no attempt was made to verify this by actually entering the rift.

The following caves are located in the Valle Extremero.

53/5 Cueva de la Rana.

Location: 080° to Cabeza Llambria. At the junction of the Valle Extremero and the valley running down from Jultayu, up the slope to the right (looking towards the gorge) of a small pond.

Description: The large entrance quickly closes down to body sized squeeze emitting a large draught. This was pushed to a short length of rift ending in a draughting hole. However this hole failed to go'' after much concerted digging. A climb up into the rift yielded another possible digging site which may bypass the first dig.

54/5

Location: Phreatic tube overlooking 53/5 (visible from 53/5 when looking back towards the ario camp).

Description: This cave consists of an upward sloping phreatic tube trending to the left with, from about 10m in, moonmilk gours on the floor. After about 15m there is squeeze past a partial stal blockage. The cave ends at a series of larger gour pools; the passage continuing to the right is too tight. %(Grade 1 survey available)

55/5

Location: Further up the valley towards camp than 54/5, bearing 114° to Cabeza Llambria and 191° to Jultayu.

Description: The large entrance is clearly used as an animal shelter. The rift at the back of the entrance leads, after 8m to a small 6m diameter chamber containing a muddy pool. There is no way on except the aven above.

To the right of the main entrance is a small rift $\sim$ 3m above the ground. This entrance leads to climbs up into an aven (rope and protection required). Alternatively a narrow rift lower down is still going.

56/5

Location: bearing 207° to Jultayu, 056° to Cabeza Llambria, and 148° (100m distance) to where the Trea path crosses the green Jultayu ridge.

Description: 10m ladder pitch to boulder floor --- no way on.

We also looked at a short crawl about 30m SE of 56/5 and a small hole about 20m SW of 56/5 both of which close down after a couple of metres.

57/5 (Unmarked entrance.) Location: Bearing 199° to Jultayu and 124° to 53/5. Obvious'' 8m dark vertical slit on south facing slope looking down into the Valle Extremero, reached by an awkward climb.

Description: The 40° entrance slope leads to a chamber containing a lot of dead flow stone --- no way on.

58/5 (Unmarked entrance.)

Above 55/5 in the face of Cabeza Llambria a series of interconnected phreatic tubes, with several entrances / exits one of which emerges well above the ground. All the passages eventually choke but they may be worth digging (says Tony).

59/5 (Unmarked entrance.)

Location: About 20m to the right of 32/5 (looking downhill), a 4s drop. Marked by the SIE in '86 as finished, but not marked by OUCC. May be worth a look.

A-Hole Cave (See Iestyn Walters for details)

Location: This is a large cave entrance visible half way up a cliff face somewhere on Cabeza Llambria. Iestyn made a couple of attempts to reach this entrance but failed.

60/5 (Unmarked entrance.)

A small draughting hole about 20m from 8/5 (and 100m from camp) was enlarged by Paul Brennan. A small descending vadose passage ends in a tight squeeze requiring someone small to push it.

#### Area 4

Area 4 is the region around the Culiembro path on the gorge side of the Cabeza Llambria -- Cabeza Verde -- Cabeza Forma ridge.

For a description of other caves explored in area 4 see the final reports for the '87 and '88 expeditions.

12/4

Location: In the col between Cabeza Verde and Cabeza Llambria, in the SE facing cliff, to the right and about 30m down from the col.

Description: A 10m diameter phreatic tube leads to a pitch. This is divided into two connecting shafts. The smaller of the two is 12m deep and lands in a boulder floored chamber with several possible ways on. To the right, downslope, are a bedding plane crawl, which quickly closes down, and a tight rift which was not explored. To the left, down slope, is a climb to a small passage which quickly closes down. Adjacent to where the ladder lands a climb up to a small passage, which needs enlarging, but the passage seems to bell out beyond the constriction. At the bottom of the boulder slope a climb up (about 15m) to a visible passage was not attempted. From the top of the shafts, a squeeze past calcite opens out above the chamber.

#### Area 7

6/7

Location: bearings 196° to Jultayu, 194° to the 2/7 doline, and 238° to Cuvicente. On the same line as the 2/7 rift series but beyond Pessimists Pot, located within the Jultayu bowl.

Description: The original '81 vintage 6/7 not the later 6/7 (now renamed 46/7). Supposedly unexplored, check OUCC Proceedings 11.

8/7

A second entrance was discovered over the cliff face from the marked entrance. This leads via 8m of rift passage to a roomy chamber; a narrow crack, bypassed by a free climb, leads to another chamber --- no way on.

#### Area 9

3/9

Location: Bearing 254° to Verdeluenga, 038° to Cabeza Llorosos and 145° to Cuvicente. Close to Wiggly Cave and 10/9 (see final Report of the '87 expedition)

Description: A large open shaft discovered in '81 and said to be 30m deep to a snow plug jammed in a large shaft. As the snow has been getting less each year this shaft has been getting deeper. This year there was a 10 sec drop down a 100m + deep shaft. Definitely worth another look if the snow levels are low.

#### Area 10

Area 10 is the region between the green ridge running down from Jultaya and the gorge and includes the Valle Extremero from the lip of the bowl containing 53/5 to the gorge (i.e. everything to the east of the Leon-Asturias border).

1/10

Location:The cave is about 300m down the Valle Extremera. Just below the prow'' of rock that divides the upper part of the valley, leave the eroded path and strike off on a contour, rightwards (facing downslope). Two small valleys must be crossed before a climb down can be made to a small stream bed (normally dry). Ascent on the other side leads to a vertically descending hole, about 2m by 4m.

Description: The shaft is about 60m deep, in approximately 20m, 20m, 15m and 5m stages, with only standing-sized ledges between pitches. The landing is in a slightly sloping boulder floored rift about 50m long and 2-5m wide. Upslope the roof is about 25m high with water coming in from roof level. The water disappears into a grovel at the downslope end, and possibly (?) resurges at Trea.

Initially, it was thought that this area, and this cave in particular, might provide a lower entrance to 2/7. This is still possible, but a surface survey showed that 1/10 is about 150m to one side of the line of the streamway (though at about the right altitude); choke Egbert is about 250m directly below the rock prow.

2/10 (Unmarked entrance.)

Location: Bearing 009° to the dolomite? boss on the ridge to Cabeza Llambria, 049° to Cabeza Llambria and 098° to the obvious entrance in the central Massif. Further down the Valle Extremero from 53/5, walk down the valley with the 53/5 ridge going up from left to right. Follow this ridge up at an angle of about 30° , the lie of the ground forces you to the left. Eventually you see a line of entrances in the ridge in front of you. 58/5 is the left-most of these, a fine 4m high triangular entrance with a hidden eye-hole above it.

Description: From the entrance a 30° mud slope leads after 10m and a right-hand turn to a small chamber. A climb down to the left before the chamber leads to 15m of passage ending in a flow-stone blockage. An ascending passage to the left of the climb down leads, after 15m, to a small chamber. A 5m climb over an undescended hole in the floor leads to a 10m pitch (undescended).

3/10 (Unmarked entrance)

Location: Walk up the green ridge towards Jultayu until you are at a height just below the height of Cabeza Verde. To the left is a large bowl, one end opens out to look down on the Trea path. Walk about 2/3 of the way around the cliff face that forms the back wall of the bowl. The entrance is a 4m high slit in the cliff face.

Description: The lower half of the entrance is too small to permit entry of a person, but a climb up into the top of the entrance reveals a series of dry cascades descending at 45° --- unexplored.

#### Area F

For a full listing of the caves explored in area F in previous years see OUCC Proceedings 11 and 12 and OUCC Las Brujas 1988 final Report.

In 1989 a small team visited Top Camp for 14 days. Several new entrances were logged and numbered (F7E--F, F23B--C, F43--F49). In addition, several old ones were located on the 1:1000 photogrammetric map produced from last year's field work. Grid references below refer to UTM square 30TUN, all bearings are relative to grid north. (See also the Mapping Project'' sub-section in the Science'' section). For a number of entrances visited but not investigated further in 1989, we give below just locations and coordinates, plus a few comments sometimes.

F6 (Pozu Paso Doble)

Location: At bottom end of obvious dolomite bands WSW of Top Camp and slightly lower. Conspicuous feature. (Cf. Proceedings 11, p.~25.)

GR: 47385E 87940N 1899A (low end) 47385E 87930N 1904A (high end)

Three crawling-size entrances were found this year under the large arching porch, each emitting a strong draught. No inscription visible, either there never was one or it is now on the wrong side of a fallen-off boulder. Collapse (noted already during the 1983 expedition) seems to have been progressing.---The F20 fault passes some 2m north of the entrance arch, and the choked pits inside might hide a connection. Another (E--W) fault passing nearby on the southern side (87922N) has displaced the entrance area about 2m down, and was itself offset by strike slip along one of the thin dolomite bands; maybe this explains the instability of this area.

F7D

Location: Second opening in SE rift rising from F7B entrance doline. Marked in 1983, but apparently not explored until 1989. GR: 41579.0E 87946.7N 1891.2A (inscription)

Description: NW--SE rift 8m long and 1.2m wide, about 10m deep to gravel floor (with a 3m pile of snow in 1989). Both ends close off to mere cracks. Descent: rope-assisted climb (naturals) from NW end; moss makes the holds rather slippery.

F7E

Location: Open shaft in SW rift ascending from F7B, a little more than halfway to the level of F7C. Noted in 1985 but not marked until 1989. GR: 41557E 87949N 1889A

Description: Even in 1989 entry was only gained by kicking through the top of the snowplug. This opened a 12m pitch hading southeast (rebelayed twice to avoid the snow!) landing in a narrow, sharp crawl SW along the rift, which was not pushed beyond a draughting squeeze some 5m further in. A connection to Pozu les Perdices was thought to be imminent but a quick descent of the first pitch in F7C ruled this out; both caves are on parallel faults some 15m apart. Continues.

F7F

Location: A few metres down and left (N) from F7E. GR: 41554E 87956N 1886A

Description: Removal of a few large-ish boulders opened up a prototypical phreatic-vadose keyhole (the lower section being just the right size to trap a leg in). Belay rope to tiny flake up and right, and thrutch down keyhole to slippery (algae---?) 5m pot. At the bottom one finds the crystalline remains of a former flowstone cascade emerging from a 1m long, 30cm wide phreatic tube up in the righthand wall; the main way down is choked with gravel after 2m. Lots of delicate popcorn' and trees' cover walls and roof. The draught once felt at the entrance is lost.

There are two unnumbered karst features nearby: a short crawl in very shattered rock near a large doline at GR 41544E 87985N 1871A, and a former bit of walking-size vadose streamway intersected by surface erosion at GR 41537E 87968N 1878A (near F7A, about 6m long, partly covered by boulders).

F8

Location: 100m W down the hill from Top Camp, small shakehole in corner of larger one. GR: 41626E 88010N 1876A

Further collapse has rendered the entrance impassable at the moment. (Cf. Proceedings 12 p.~58.)

F10

Location: On escarpment 50m SW from Top Camp.

GR: 41709E 87959N 1915A 41706E 87955N 1915A 41704E 87964N 1913A (see below)

Description: First (marked) entrance is rift striking SE (not a very common direction!), and is sound connected to second shaft. The third is in the same rift as the first a few metres down (NW), but independent, and is choked with pebbles and four dead mornflake tins.

F15, F16

The first part of the description of F16 in Proceedings 12, p.~60 actually refers to F15. See the 1988 Expedition report.

GR: 41906E 87968N 1914A (F15) 41948.4E 87909.6N 1918.4A (F16 N entrance) 41947.8E 87902.5N 1918.1A (F16 S entrance)

F17

Location: 100m due south from Top Camp (and uphill).

GR: 41743.7E 87898.7N 1939.6A (inscription)

Description: Open rift (leading nowhere in particular) on strike 150° /160° --the continuation of the F10 fracture, it seems. Just below at GR 41742.7E 87912.6N 1933.5A a narrow 5m pot is blind except for a tiny crack opening into the next doline; near the end of the 1985 expedition, an injured sheep was rescued from this.

F18

Location: East and down from survey point T2, or NW and up from F38---the locations of F18 and F19 are reversed in Proceedings 12 p.~61.

GR: 41833E 87833N 1961A

Description: 8m deep open pothole in long shallow surface rift striking $36_o$, with connection to a second pothole SW. Needs to be checked again, but probably no way on.

F19

Location: East of F18, slightly lower down on the same pavement, in an interesting fracture system on strike $30_o$. GR: 41857E 87840N 1950A

Description: Open rift a metre wide and more than 10m long with tributary inlets on the NW side, hading 70° NW, with a snowplug some 10m down that might be passable above. Draughting. NB: Both F18 and F19 were marked (in 1984) by the same hand (J~Huning's?) that also marked 20/7 in the Jultayu Jou, a shaft unlogged and forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1987.

Caves F20--27 were discovered on 6/8/84 by A Riley, and are situated on the flanks of the ridge between the F20 Gully'' and the Brown Gully'' (except F25--26 which lie beyond the latter). Several of these had not been visited (or found again) since then, and some still await exploration. Another unmarked entrance is high up along the F20 gully in the lefthand (looking down) wall (approx. 41245E 87840N 2030A), leading to a chamber with some remarkable fossil stal and popcorn' and possible continuations.

F21

Location: Just below F20, look for a folded reddish thinly banked limestone bed on the lefthand verge of the gully and follow this diagonally upward until progress becomes difficult some 10m below the crest of the ridge. The SE entrance should now be visible below and is reached via a tricky climb down a steep fluted rock face.---The NW entrance (or exit) is not accessible from below.

GR: 41246E 87949N 1991A (SE) 41240E 87957N 1998A (skylight) 41224E 87972N 1989A (NW)

Description: A 1.5m wide tall rift on strike $122_o$ can be walked along and down past a skylight aven in the righthand wall to a right and left S bend, and ascends to an exit on a little platform looking out NW along the continuation of the ridge (with the top end of the Brown Gully below). The rift continues as an open surface meander at a lower level but this could only be reached by a pitch. Except for some dolomitisation (?) near the SE entrance, the walls are clean white with (rain?) fluting but no scalloping. The origin of this cave is not obvious. It looks like a tectonic fracture, caused by rupture near the crest of the ridge, with only minor modification by water action; but there are solution features in the roof near the entrance, and the NW continuation seems to have been a cave streamway once until surface erosion exposed it. Maybe an original small fault-guided cave was widened tectonically at a later stage. Length about 30m, height range 17m. .

F22

Location: In tributary gully downhill from F20 and to the left off the main gully.

GR: 41293E 87928N 1951A

From 1985 to 1989 this had been wrongly relabelled F23', and was referred to under that number in Proceedings 12, p.~57 (but not on p.~61). Now correctly marked. Awaits re-inspection.

F23

Location: Walk down main gully from F20. Before the F36 rift on the lefthand verge of the gully is reached, step up left and contour along the karren pavement. F23B should already be visible, a too tight crack inconspicuous to the eye but with a 6 secs bouncing and echoing drop; F23C is a few metres left under boulders, and F23A (the original F23 but originally labelled F22' again!) is some 15m straight ahead. (All entrances now properly marked.)

GR: 41311E 87956N 1933A (F23A) 41312E 87946N 1937A (F23B) 41304E 87946N 1938A (F23C)

Description: F23A was reported blind in 1984 but all three openings seem to be sound-connected (certainly the latter two are). F23B is inaccessible as it stands (a lot of chiselling needed) but F23C might go after shifting some large boulders, or there might be a horizontal link from F23A into the audible chasm'. NB F20 is {\em not\/ underneath but some 60m off sideways so this one might well go deep independently.

F24

Location: On limestone pavement NW from F23; visible from Top Camp but difficult to access. GR: 41290E 87990N 1933A

Awaits exploration.

F25

Location: Near top of Brown Gully but easier to reach from 2/6; walk down Brown Gully from its top (col) end and step on pavement to the left where surface canyon descends. This turns out to be just a high level of the cave canyon which opens at its bottom end.

GR: 41227.2E 88000.1N 1959.1A

Description: Crabwalking size meander with several gaps-among-boulders skylights. It doubles back underneath the surface canyon and ends 10m below the floor of a shakehole; the way on must lie downward but is choked. Scallops on the walls indicate that flow was once into the cave (opposite to the surface canyon gradient), possibly tributary to the 2/6 entrance shaft. Length 15m, depth 6m. .

F26

Location: At intersection of rifts downhill and northeast from F25 (well north of the Brown Gully).

GR: 41240E 88036N 1940A

F27

Location: In lefthand verge of Brown Gully about halfway down. Lost 1984--89 although visible from Top Camp.

GR: 41294E 88020N 1908A

Awaits exploration.

F31

Location: Near bottom of very large depression W from Top

Camp, on S verge of grass field ascending W towards Ridge Cave.

GR: 41395E 88105N 1855A

Description: Was snowplugged in 1985 but has been open since 1988 and awaits re-inspection. Interesting place since it's on the line of the main Verdelluenga-Conjurtao thrust which controls large parts of the Conjurtao System.

F33

Location: Walk up Brown Gully from the very bottom end and leave it early, just past a blind oblique doorway' on the left, going left and up. Entrance is tiny manhole (dwarfhole' would be more appropriate) on a limestone clint.

GR: 41383E 88033N 1867A

Description: Awaits a determined midget.

F34

Location: From Brown Gully, climb up NW verge into what looks like a big wiggly meander when seen from Top Camp. The first wiggle turns out to end at a rock wall but climbing up to the pavement and back down into the continuation leads to the entrance in a rift on 30° hading 50 - 60° E intersecting the meander.

GR: 41312E 88038N 1899A

Should be looked at again.

F35

Location: At N edge of large sloping karren field traversed by the '85 route to F20 below its entry point to the F20 gully.

GR: 41325E 87982N 1911A

F36

Location: In F20 gully on lefthand verge (looking down), 30m before bottom end of gully (this being taken to be where the 1985 route turned left and the gully degenerates into an overhanging precipice).

GR: 41329E 87945N 1927A

F43

Location: From F18 climb up W over flat elongated hilltop and turn right down the next little valley. This descends some 40m NE into a bipartite scree depression with obvious but blind rifts in the lefthand and downhill walls. F43 is on the inclined rock pavement immediately above the righthand wall of the depression, a 2.5m by 1.6m shaft, totally invisible except when you're standing right next to it.

GR: 41814E 87858N 1954A

Description: Shaft is in fracture striking 37° hading 72° SE, and can be free-climbed for about 6m to a proper pitch. There are ample natural belays to rig the 4secs (bouncing) drop, which remains undescended. A strong outward draught was noted.---This shaft might be of special interest as it lies in a previously blank area, some 120m east of the northernmost parts of Pozu Jorcada Blanca.

F44

Location: 50m S from F8 and a little up.

GR: 41637E 87971N 1881A (doline) 41639E 87966N 1886A (shaft) 41640E 87961N 1891A (blind rift) 41642E 87962N 1890A (coffin-lid entrance)

Description: Undescended (as yet) square-ish doline of 8m diameter, some 6m deep with a snow pile; a rock arch in the E corner seems to lead on. Upslope on the southern side a 0.4 by 0.7m shaft in a rift immediately opens into the doline. Following the same fracture further uphill, an open rift (0.6 by 3m) can be entered by a 4m friction climb but the narrow mossy continuation closes down after 2ft. Two steps north of the rift, a coffin-shaped limestone slab conceals a (just about) body-sized rattling opening, possibly connecting to the rock arch (and further---?) below.

F45A--B

Location: F45A: Further upslope (SE) from F44, just below the start of the large karren-marked shoulders'' along the shortest walk from Top Camp to Perdices and F20; the B entrance is the fluted hading crack where the karren pavements meet the uphill slope. Must have been noted many times by passers-by who (like myself, GN) looked down and thought they saw a solid floor at 10m depth...

GR: 41652E 87937N 1900A (F45A) 41639E 87934N 1901A (F45B)

Description: Shaft at junction of two deeply incised vadose inlets; a rock bridge and a large wedged boulder divide this into three adjacent openings. Best rigged from the rock bridge, though the take-off is awkward. Ten metres down the floor'' visible'' from the surface just isn't there at all. The pitch continues for 5m past ice-covered walls and lands (at 1989 snowlevels) on a col on the snowplug, in a quite massive SE--NW rift (2--4m wide). Descending the snowplug (on the rope) NW leads to a snow chute 5m down (blown open by draught?) which was not descended due to lack of an oversuit. On the SE side, traversing/scrambling down the flank of the snow gives a view of a ledge on the NE wall on which much of the snow seems to be resting, while along the SW wall (where a beautiful ice cascade enters and light from F45B is seen above) there might be a way down past the snow for at least another 5m. Explored depth 20m, with little in the way of a draught. Still, this is a very mature feature... F45B looks sharp and unpleasant and isn't an easier entrance.

F46

Location: Standing above F7D, look for survey station B3b in little hilltop a few metres E by S, and pick up obvious fracture passing 5m E of it trending 15° (can be followed for almost 100m towards F8). 20m down along the fracture gully, a NW hading rift in the floor is met, with sight connection up to the sky through a little hole.

GR: 41597E 87956N 1890A

Description: Could be entered by abseiling over the top of the snowplug (the oversuit was lacking again). Awaits further exploration.

F47

Location: 20m N and down from large doline N of F7A; small doline climbable to entrance into chamber in N side or 1.5m diameter shaft breaking into the roof of the chamber. Below the inscription (in S corner of doline) one branch of the continuation of the F20 fault is seen.

GR: 41552E 88014N 1864A (shaft)

Description: Chamber has dubious snow floor'' which the initial explorer found unwise to step on without call-out arrangements. It remained unclear whether the snow hides a pitch; on the NW side of the chamber a meandering passage has cut down from the roof bedding plane (strike 95° dip 55° N). This might continue; stones thrown across hit an invisible floor. Needs checking.

F48

Location: 30m W along fault (?) from F7A gains shelf broken by three shafts into chamber below. The easier way in is to turn right down the slope and into the 12m long doline, from which the chamber is entered by lowering oneself through the gap between a large boulder and the wall. Here, a provisional couple of survey stations has been marked: S1 is on a boulder to the left (still at doline level), S2 on the righthand wall.

GR: 41513E 87966N 1880A (largest shaft) 41516.4E 87971.6N 1872.0A (provisional first survey stn)

Description: The 15 by 5m chamber has a floor'' of snow resting on nobody knows what; around most edges (as far as they are safe to approach without a lifeline from above) one can look several metres down. The main downward continuation must be near the W wall. Given the size of the object, the strength of the cold outward draught is just amazing. There are F20 passages more or less vertically underneath. The entrance had been noted in 1985 but remained unmarked until 1989, and still awaits further pushing.

Past the holes on the shelf, the fault continues W on a 73° trend hading 85° S. After 3m, a little cairn of unknown origin and purpose conveniently marks a cross-fracture on 166° strike and 85 E hade controlling a narrow rift with sound connection to the chamber below (at its W wall).

F49

Location: Just a few metres further west along the fault mentioned at F48, a 2m wide niche at the head of a shallow surface meander with a boulder floor with enticing (and echoing and draughting) black holes around the edge. Two cross-fractures at \$31° dip 70° NE and 168° dip 85° E intersect the fault here.

GR: 41503E 87959N 1882A

Description: Removal of most medium and small sized boulders from the floor of the niche revealed the tiny ones to be supported by six large ones (200kg plus) which rest on each other in a rather interesting way. No stamping about please! It looks like they could be cleared in an orderly top-down fashion using a pulley system and great care. However, the cave below might be more easily accessible from F48.

An unnumbered feature at GR 41490E 87980N 1865A (downhill from F49) must be mentioned here. It is a little rift surrounded and partly covered by boulders on the E side of a grass field stained by vast amounts of haematite and limonite. The main F20 fault passes right through this rift on a 68° strike. Snow is seen under the boulders and a draught is felt. This could probably be opened with a little digging.

3/6

Location: Walk up grass slope to ridge from Ridge Cave and turn left at the top untill the next grass field on the left side is met, before the ridge rises towards the 2/6 hill. Turn left (back towards Top Camp) and walk along and down the grass for 40m to a shakehole on the left side. The rift seen in the N wall is the continuation of the Ridge Cave (1/6) entrance fault; digging out some boulders at the bottom of the shakehole might connect down to the rifts near the first 1/6 pitch. The 3/6 entrance, however, is a hole in the W side of the shakehole.

GR: 41211.3E 88081.0N 1940A (bottom of shakehole) 41206.8E 88080.7N 1942A (entrance)

Description: The entrance (marked but not investigated in 1988) seems to have grown by collapse (frost action? memory lapse?) since it was first seen in 1986. After removing the regular cobweb choke it is now possible to creep down the exceptionally spiky manhole and look along a floor level crawl onto the head of a 10--12m pitch! The head of Shit Creek' in 2/6 is 200m vertically below. Awaits following up. Grade 5 survey of the first few metres available.

4/6, 5/6A--B

Location: Follow ridge as on the way to 3/6 but carry straight on to boulder jumble at foot (righthand side) of 2/6 hill. 4/6 is straight on in the S corner and 5/6A a few steps further W. The entrances were passed by many cavers en route to 2/6 in 1986 but never noticed except by Fred; they were rediscovered, marked and initially explored in 1988. 5/6B is only 20m SW on the Polish side but difficult to find at the surface; it's easier from inside (and this is how it had been found in the first place!).

GR: 41164.5E 88084.0N 1946A (4/6) 41156.6E 88090.6N 1942A (5/6A) 41138.9E 88088.2N 1940A (5/6B)

Description: 4/6 is 2m climb down very loose boulder pile to tiny chamber with hole to drop ahead and another hole to smaller drop on left. Slide down the latter into very interesting cavity underneath a car-sized rock slab (supporting everything you've been treading on whilst approaching the entrance), and squeeze down another hole to floor level of first drop. This is in 1m wide 5m long 3m high vadose passage with clean scalloped walls, unfortunately with a solid gravel floor and ending as parallel 1'' and 3'' cracks in the far wall. Total depth is about 8m.

5/6A is entered by scrambling down loose overhang into rift and traversing forward to 10m pitch (natural and 2 bolts). Penduling forward in the 167° striking rift gives access to a blind 5m pit (diggable?) whilst at the foot of the pitch a step under a rock arch gains the main chamber. The snow cone gave rise to the name of Pozu Paseo Nevado'. The snow is derived from the 5/6B shakehole upslope. The latter can be entered from outside using a short ladder or by carefully climbing through an eyehole but the rock is very loose and holds and belays tend to come off. A planar fracture at strike 167° dip 38° E controls some remarkable phreatic tubes both in the E wall of the chamber and at the surface above 5/6B. In the S wall of the chamber a too tight meander leads off, but it seems to widen below; pebbles aimed through gaps in the wedged gravel floor drop at least 3m.