Oxford University Cave Club

Cabeza Julagua Expedition 1993

Contents

Systema Sierra Forcada

Gavin Lowe and Paul Mann

Pozu Sierra Forcada (8/11)

Pushing in the Lower Streamway

"Going back downstream, an inlet on the right led to some passage ending in a shelf at the side of a BIG PASSAGE heading off in both directions. After savouring the moment, and coaxing huge flames out of our generators, we strode off down the passage, discovering after approximately 5m a blue plastic bag. We had connected with the end of Big Wind.'' Chris Densham

Location and entrance series

From the Ario Refugio, follow the path that crosses the flank of Cabeza Julagua, skirting round above the Jou de Ario. After a while, the col between Cabeza Julagua and Cabeza de las Campanas will be seen; on the far side of this col is a valley, split near the top by a spur: the cave entrance is located in the right hand side of this spur: a large hole in the cliff with a perched boulder above, bushes growing from the sides, tarpaulin in the entrance and a faded SIE Ø 84 mark.

Bearings: Cabeza Julagua 126° , Cabeza de las Campanas 300° , Cabeza Forma 227° .

The 9m entrance pitch descends over boulders and lands on a boulder slope: this is somewhat unstable and should not be descended while other cavers are on the pitch below. At the bottom of the slope are two alternative descents on either side of a jammed boulder: the normal route is to the left, a 7m pitch. [To the right at the bottom of the pitch is a chamber containing a snow plug: this is where the alternative descent route lands.]

The way on is to the left where a short boulder slope leads to a 2m drop into a chamber - the normal place to wait while avoiding boulders knocked down from above. A typical Picos-style ascending rift passage leads to a slight squeeze - easily passed at roof level - to the top of the third pitch. The first 4m is constricted and is probably the hardest part of the cave. Descent is best made by clipping into the line with a cowstail and sliding down the rift, using your left hand on the ladder to control your descent. Where the rift bells out, the rope is tied off to a bolt so as to catch cavers who pop out of the tight part. The rift is best ascended by climbing the ladder to get into the tight part, and then using your left hand and foot on the ladder, your right hand on the rope, and your right foot on the rock, climbing the ladder one rung at a time. This can be made easier by removing gear and hauling it up on the ladder afterwards. Friends below can also help by providing foot holds for the right foot, and by guiding the left foot into the ladder.

From the bottom of the tight section, the pitch continues as a 21m abseil down the rift. At the bottom, a short traverse leads to a further 8m descent. Larger rift passage continues to a boulder pile at a three-way junction. [The route from the 20/11 entrance is to the right]. To the left at the three-way junction is a small chamber from where a 5m roped climb down a rift lands on boulders; from here the rope is deviated back underneath the descent route to give a short abseil into a chamber. [Alternatively, going in the other direction from the deviation reaches a hole at the top of a 2m climb down to the floor of a passage, about 15m long and 3m wide. This ends in a steep slope, which can be climbed up for some way. At the base of the slope is a small crawl, starting about 1--2m up the wall, which becomes too tight, although there is an audible connection with the crawl to the top of Peanut Pitch (see below).]

At the base of the rope is a chamber. [Ahead closes down to a too-tight inlet, which communicates with a point reached by descending through boulders at the three-way junction.] The way on is to double back under the climb down into the chamber, following the stream: ducking under a boulder reaches the start of a crawl. The crawl starts off over sand, before the streamway cuts down suddenly to form a T-shaped passage: following the top of the passage soon leads to the top of Peanut Pitch.

Five metres down the pitch is a large ledge with a convenient pool for filling generators; the bottom two metres is normally free climbed. At the bottom is an unstable boulder slope with a choice of two ways on: ascending the boulder slope leads to Insalubrious Route; doubling back under the pitch and crawling through a choke is the way to Very Big Chamber: this latter route is the normal one taken.

Rigging

Entrance pitch (P9)     40m    Tape round large perched boulder and tape  
                               over spike for Y-hang for descent down     
                               boulders; spike deviation for final hang.  

Boulder slope           "      Thread belay.                              

Second pitch (P7)       "      Y-hang from two bolts.                     

Boulder slope and 2m    "      Thread belay.                              
climb                                                                     

Third pitch (C4,        50m    Bolt and spike Y-hang, with ladder hung    
P21)                           from spike for constricted section; 2      
                               bolt Y-hang below constriction; spike      
                               deviation at -7m; spike deviation on       
                               opposite wall 2m lower.                    

Traverse                "      Large boss, high up.                       

Fourth pitch            "      2 spikes on opposite walls, right-hand    
                               one high up.                               

Fifth pitch (C6, P5)    15m    2 bolts, bolt deviation.                  

Peanut Pitch (P7)       10m    Natural back up in roof; two jammed       
                               boulders.                                  

20/11

The entrance is located 30m down valley from 8/11, on the left: a narrow rift, marked "SIE ".

The entrance pitch (P10) has a slight constriction at the top, and lands on a boulder floor, from where the second pitch (P15) follows after 5m. From the base of the pitch, an ascending rift leads to the top of the third pitch (P13). [Alternatively, doubling back under the second pitch, the rift soon closes down.]

From the base of the third pitch, three routes lead off. [Doubling back under the pitch, the rift closes down after 10m. To the left from the base of the pitch, also closes down, after 6m.] The way on is straight ahead, up a boulder slope. At the top is a choke, but a passage leads off to the left to the top of an unstable climb down. At the bottom of the climb is a chamber; doubling back under yourself, a short passage leads to the top of the fourth pitch (P10).

[To the left at the bottom of the pitch, a descending passage passes an inlet before ending at another inlet after 12m]. To the right, the passage leads after 10m to the three way junction in 8/11, just before the fifth pitch.

Rigging

First pitch (P10)       40m     Two threads; spike rebelay.              

Second pitch (P13)      "       Spike backup; two bolt Y-hang.           

Third pitch (P13)       20m     Bolt backup; bolt and spike Y-hang;      
                                spike deviation (replace with bolt)       

Fourth pitch (P10)      15m     Boulder backup; bolt belay (needs        
                                second bolt).                             

Insalubrious Route

From the bottom of Peanut Pitch, ascending the boulder slope (handline useful) leads into The Big Chamber. [To the right a 30m long, 45° boulder slope ascends to a boulder choke.] [Opposite the point of entry, a narrow rift leads for 5m to a mud choke.] To the left, 6m above the floor is a balcony overlooking the chamber. The way on is below and slightly to the left of this balcony, where a crawl at floor level leads into a small chamber. [Straight ahead leads to a choke after a few metres.] Doubling back and climbing up boulders leads to the balcony. From here a 2m climb on the right leads to an ascending slope leading back away from the chamber, at the top of which is a further 3m climb up onto a calcite platform looking back down onto the chamber. A 1m diametre hole opens out into Insalubrious Passage.

Insalubrious Passage is 20m long and 8m wide and is the best decorated part of the cave found to date, containing many stal columns and with a moonmilk floor. A route along the passage is taped off. [High up to the right at the point of entry is a hole back into The Big Chamber above some formations; from the top of the formations an exposed traverse out over the wall of Insalubrious brings you to directly underneath an overhang with a hole above; reaching this would involve bolting.]

[A passage to the left of the taped route through Insalubrious drops down a steep slippery slope to a mud choke.] [At the end of Insalubrious, a climb on the right to a promising looking hole unfortunately doesn't go.] The way on is a crawl to the left by a small cairn. This leads into a 1.5m diametre passage which opens out at the top of a chamber with a sloping wall, Sloping Chamber. A rope can be rigged down the wall. At the bottom, a hole under a gravity-defying perched boulder is the top of an 11m pitch landing in Passage With No Name Yet.

From the bottom of the pitch are a number of possible routes. [Directly opposite the pitch, a chossy climb down leads into a short rift which opens out into Very Big Chamber (see below).] [Upslope from the bottom of the pitch leads after about 15m to a drop into Very Big Chamber.] The most obvious way on is along the passage, slightly downslope. [Half way along the passage a triangular gap in the right hand wall gives a 2m climb down to 3m of passage, leading to a 45° descending, body-sized tube to an undescended pitch head.] [Above this hole is the route to Eleven O'Clock High and The Map Room (see below).]

[Slightly further on is a smaller hole. This is about 5m deep and can be free climbed with the aid of a rope. A shingle slope leads down at 45° and round a bend to a junction. To the right the narrow passage seems to disappear under the boulder ruckle forming the floor of Passage With No Name Yet, but was unexplored. To the left the passage continues for a short section to a wet two-way junction, with both routes on narrow and remaining unexplored.]

At the end of Passage With No Name Yet, the floor drops away and a descending traverse line can be followed to a bolt, from where a descent can be made to a boulder a few metres above the floor. This is Rio Pequeño.

[Alternatively, from the end of Passage With No Name Yet, a traverse on the right hand wall follows a small abandoned watercourse out above the upstream section of Rio Pequeño, through a rock arch to a point where it is possible to climb down to the dry stream passage. Above connects to Eleven O'Clock High. A slightly exposed traverse then continues at this level to a short pitch into an inlet: this probably feeds Rio Pequeño, but was not descended.]

Rigging

Ascent of boulder        10m      Solid boulder.                          
slope into Big Chamber                                                    

Scree slope in Big       30m      Large boulder.                          
Chamber                                                                   

Climbs up to             15m      Bolt; stal boss; spike; tied off to     
Insalubrious Passage              thread at bottom.                       
(C2, C2)                                                                  

Pitch in Sloping         35m      2 thread belays; large boss.            
Chamber (P8)                                                              

Hanging Boulder Pitch    "        Bolt; spike deviation one metre down.   
(P11)                                                                     

 Descent to Rio          25m      Thread backup; large spike for          
Pequeño (P9)                      descending traverse; bolt rebelay for   
                                  descent to jammed boulder; rebelay or   
                                  deviation needed for final descent to   
                                  downstream route.                       

Eleven O'Clock High and The Map Room

Just before the triangular hole in Passage With No Name Yet, a way through large boulders on the right leads to a 4m climb up through a hole in the floor of the passage to a junction: to the right leads to Eleven O'Clock High; to the left leads to The Map Room.

To the right a short, exposed traverse above Passage With No Name Yet is soon found leading into the start of a rift, Eleven O'Clock High. After 10m a junction is met: [to the right an inlet leads to a pool with a too narrow climb above]. The main passage continues to a second junction: [a large inlet enters from the right; a climb leads to a larger, unexplored high level]. The way on is up a 1.5m step into a large passage leading to a rift chamber. [Ahead a pitch down has been visually connected to the dry, upstream section of Rio Pequeño.] [A steep slope to the right is unexplored.] The way on from the rift chamber is a short traverse which leads to a step up into a rift passage, leading to another chamber. [Ahead an undescended pitch again probably connects with upstream Rio Pequeño.] To the right the passage continues up a steep slope into a high level connection with the previous chamber. An easy traverse passes a squeeze into an active inlet, leading to a rift with a boulder choked floor. The rift continues past formations, and a continuing traverse leads to a short climb down. [Here the passage doubles back underneath and leads to a short pitch: this probably drops into Rio Pequeño near the sump.] The passage continues from the climb down, round a corner, up a climb, before eventually closing down at a draughting choke.

Alternatively, to the left from the top of the climb out of Passage With No Name Yet, a hading passage continues for about 15m to a large, draughting, inclined rift, The Map Room. Here there are at least 2 leads. The first, a high, dry inlet reached after about 20m, contains detailed map-like wall markings, and continues past an oxbow. The second, reached after a further 15m, is a small active inlet entering from the right (with easily hammered route down) which goes upstream for about 25m to a junction. [To the left is a climb to a hole.] Ahead the passage continues for 20m to a slightly muddier section, which remains unexplored. The Map Room and passages leading from it are unsurveyed.

Rio Pequeño

From the boulder at the foot of the descent from Passage With No Name Yet, continuing straight ahead is the "upstream'' route along an abandoned stream passage. After 20m of scrambling passage, a junction is met. [To the right, a short climb leads to a few metres of passage ending at an aven: this connects with Eleven O'Clock High.] To the left at the junction, the passage becomes more meandering until the roof shelves down into what must once have been a sump. This has been dug for about 6m along a pleasant, strongly draughting, tube; just before the limit the tube slopes down, goes under an arch, and then round a slight bend, which currently makes digging awkward; beyond the bend, the tube continues with about 10cm of airspace, and seems to be rising towards open passage.

Alternatively, from the boulder at the descent from Passage With No Name Yet, doubling back and continuing down to the floor leads to the start of the "downstream'' route. After 8m is a small chamber with a picturesque false floor and a choice of two routes. [To the right, under the false floor, is a passage taking a small stream; after about 2m this splits in two with both ways rapidly becoming too tight]. To the left, a short crawl leads to the top of an annoying 3m pitch, called The Hundred Metre Pitch because of its depth rather than its length. [To the left from the top of the pitch, a muddy crawl has been forced to a junction, but no further.]

At the foot of The Hundred Metre Pitch, the passage turns into a meandering rift, El Meandro. A stream enters from the right: [this can be followed upstream along a small passage which lowers to a hand and knees crawl; the water emerges from a wet, flat-out crawl with well sculpted mud banks. This route was not fully pushed and may connect with the streamway at the bottom of The Very Big Chamber.] Following the water downstream leads after only a couple of metres to a smaller inlet entering from the left: [this can be followed upstream for 5--6 m to a pool at the foot of a 2.5m climb with a seemingly passable crawl at the top.] Continuing along the main rift, a traverse leads to a bold step, best rigged with a rope to help cavers with short legs. [Just before the bold step is a draughting roof tube which has not been pushed.] Ahead, the easiest route is to traverse at roof level, until the rift opens into a chamber. [Down a Picos-style ramp to the left is an inlet at the base of a tall aven.] To the right, a slot is the top of a 10m pitch.

The pitch lands in a chamber where the base of the El Meandro rift enters from one side. [Part way down the pitch, a large passage leads off, but this soon drops back into the downstream continuation.] Downstream, the passage can be followed mostly at floor level until a boulder choke is reached. This can be bypassed by climbing up into a grotto, from where a calcite squeeze leads into a well decorated passage, with a trench in the floor which after 5m becomes wide enough to descend back to stream level. A short crawl in the streamway is passed to a short traverse. [A decorated passage to the right soon becomes too tight, but may deserve further attention.] Ahead, the passage becomes more meandering until suddenly a sump is met. About 50cm underwater, a tube continues, sloping downwards at about 45° . The passage near the sump draughts quite well, so there are hopes of finding a sump bypass.

Rigging

Hundred Metre Pitch     5m        Two bolts.                             
(P3)                                                                      

Bold step               5m        Two spikes                             

Second pitch in Rio     15m       Two spikes; deviation at -3m..         
Pequeño (P10)                                                             

Very Big Chamber route

From the bottom of Peanut Pitch, a short, unstable boulder choke (care!) can be passed into larger passage. [To the left, a short ascending passage leads to a choke: this can be passed to a further choke.] To the right, the passage continues, along the bottom of a boulder slope, to a calcite platform at the top of a 10m pitch.

At the bottom of the pitch is a choice of routes. [To the left, a large rift passage, Harvey's Rift, leads to a loose choke; a route through the choke has been followed for 10--15m, and deserves a more thorough investigation; alternatively, it may be easier to dig in the same direction from the top of the pitch.] Doubling back under the pitch leads to the start of Rio de los Enfermos (see below). Alternatively, to the right from the bottom of the pitch leads into Very Big Chamber. This is about 30m long and 20m wide, split into two by a rock arch, and has a boulder floor sloping down from right to left. [At the far end, low down to the left, a climb down through unstable boulders emerges in a stream passage, 2--3m high and a metre wide. The upstream route is blocked with boulders; downstream gets steadily smaller until a wet crawl is reached with nice mud formations. This streamway is believed to be the main source of the water in Rio Pequeño.] Straight ahead in Very Big Chamber, a rift leads to a chossy climb up into Passage With No Name Yet. [To the right, a slope leads up to a drop down from Passage With No Name Yet.]

Rigging

Pitch into Very Big      20m       Spike and bolt for traverse; spike     
Chamber (P10)                     belay; spike deviation at -2m..         


Rio de los Enfermos

The route to Rio de los Enfermos starts as a walking sized rift passage. After 10m is a boulder choke; this can be bypassed by climbing up into the top of the rift (ladder useful). This leads out onto a boulder slope, descending to the left. [Upslope leads to a hanging-death boulder choke]. Downslope, a stream is encountered at the bottom of a very pleasant rift, Wet Cheeks Rift. After a while, chert is found on the walls. A few metres ahead is a bold step; this is best avoided by climbing up slightly from the chert to a much easier step. The rift continues, and becomes more traversey, until the passage opens out above a small chamber. Here a ladder can be descended to floor level; a short crawl in the stream is followed by a climb up to a ledge from where a ladder can be rigged through a window back down to the chamber.

Traversing along the rift, following a good draught, leads, past the junction with Pozu del Raptor, and via an oxbow, to the head of Fever Pitch. This is in two sections of 13m and 16m. [From the ledge at the bottom of the first section a rift leads off; this can be followed for about 20m to the top of a drop which is believed to connect back into the main passage.] A sizeable stream enters partway down the second section. At the bottom a climb up leads to the top of The Unwell, a 10m pitch. This lands in larger passage which runs under a large aven before closing down at the start of a traverse along Codeine Phosphate Rift. The rift meanders, with an awkward climb up on the second corner of an S-bend after 10m. A further 8m of traversing leads to the top of a 14m pitch, October.

At the base of the pitch the stream is met again. [This can be followed upstream for a few metres via an oxbow and a pool, before the rift closes in.] Downstream the passage continues as a pleasant, tall, meandering rift until suddenly the roof appears and a few metres further on a sump pool is reached. To the left an inlet enters: walking up this for a few metres, and then climbing up and doubling back leads to a balcony looking back down on the sump pool: this is the start of a phreatic high level series, Big Wind.

Rigging

Climb into Wet Cheeks    --       Wire round chockstone; 4m ladder.       
Rift (C2)                                                                 

Descent into chamber    --       Bolt for 8m ladder (needs second bolt   
                                  and line).                              

Ascent from chamber     15m      Natural backup; bolt for 8m ladder.     

Fever Pitch (P13,       55m      Two bolts; two deviations (this         
P16)                              section needs rerigging). Thread belay  
                                  on ledge; deviations at -2m and -4m.    

Climb to top of         "        Two bolts.                              
Unwell (C4)                                                               

The Unwell (P10)        "        Y-hang from 2 bolts; deviation.         

October (P14)           20m      Spike backup; 2 bolts for Y-hang;       
                                  spike deviation at -8m.                 

Step across sump pool   --       Tape through thread to provide          
                                  handhold.                               

23/11: Entrada del Raptor

Located in the valley below the 8/11 entrance, about 40m lower in altitude. Walking down from 8/11 the entrance is to the left of the valley floor, just after the main valley is joined.

An obvious 13m shaft slopes to a critically steep boulder floor. This drops to a hole with a backward free-climb down an easy wide rift to a boulder chamber; arguably this climb should be laddered. At the chamber bottom, an obvious squeeze through unstable boulders leads onto another unstable, steep floor to a 2m climb down. Traversing the left wall leads to a ledge from where a 3m ladder climb drops to a boulder slope. At the bottom of the slope, the screaming void is crossed, to continue, over a hole, to an inlet that leads down two short climbs into a steeply sloping streamway on the left.

The streamway follows an easy going passage that eventually narrows before entering a small inlet chamber. The stream can be followed at floor level, leaving the chamber slightly to the right. [Alternatively, a hole in the wall at a height of 3m, opposite the point of entry into the chamber, is an oxbow which provides an easier alternative.] An easy squeeze up on the right leads into an oxbow, from where the route is obvious until you reach a Z-bend in the stream: an oxbow to the left is too tight, but allows useful legroom to facilitate a three point turn into this Z-bend squeeze, P-Max; this section inevitably involves getting wet. The rift is wider for a while, but the key is to climb up for about 4 or 5 metres at a prominent near vertical chert band. Two levels can be followed here, involving easy crawling and squeezing along gently descending rift levels until the rift bells out slightly. Continuing at the same levels through a tight rift, leads to two squeezes separated by an awkward corner, before the passage pops out immediately into Wet Cheeks Rift.

Rigging

Entrance Pitch (P13)     20m      Tapes and wires to surface naturals.    

Second Climb (P2)        Ladder   Recommend rigging.                      

Ladder Drop (P3)         -        Long tether to natural thread back up;  
                                  natural belay for ladder                

Big Wind

The passage starts as a pleasant 2m diametre phreatic passage, carrying a strong draught. A couple of side passages on the right are passed, [these appear to head off over the sump but have not been explored.] After 10m is a hole in the floor. [Climbing 4m down through the hole leads to a choice of three ways: straight ahead, a squeeze down between loose boulders to a crawl, which is probably too tight; behind, a short, small passage to a sandy choke; to the right, a sandy crawl upwards which may connect with one of the previous unexplored side passages.] The way on is to climb up above the hole for 5m to a window (rope useful). The passage continues and becomes more vadose. [After 5m a descending passage, Pleasurable but Pointless, leads off, this ends after a short distance at a sump pool with submerged passage leading off in both directions.]

After a further 15m is a choice of routes. [A tube to the right can be descended to the Lower Streamway (see below).] The original route was to follow the wind up a climb to the left. This route widens, and two holes lead downwards towards the sound of water: [the larger of these can be descended for about 15m to a chamber, although this appears to only contain an inlet rather than the main stream.] The passage continues, with a short and easy but exposed traverse, before reaching the 1992 limit in Blue Bag Chamber. [Several side passages come in here: the first comes from the lower streamway; the second and third seem to be choked.] Continuing from Blue Bag Chamber, the passage turns left and becomes more rift like. Following the bottom of the rift leads, after 35m, to The Last Pitch (P12) down into the Final Streamway, where the two routes unite.

Rigging

Five metre climb        10m       Bolt.                                  

Traverse                5m        Large thread; bolt.                    

Last pitch (P12)        15m       Natural backup; natural belay; bolt    
                                  rebelay; natural deviation.             

The Lower Streamway

Leaving Big Wind, the passage (which takes a strong draught), drops as a series of slippery inclined climbs punctuated by short crawls before emerging onto a sandy shelf on the left hand side of a large stream passage.

[Upstream the going is easy along a canyon over 3m high, until the roof lowers to an arch roughly 1m high and the water emerges from a cobbly sump. Just before this, on the true right-hand side, a high level crawl leads to a small chamber which is entered in the roof. This is a complex area with several choked passages and numerous interconnections.]

Following the water downstream from the junction, the vadose nature of the passage becomes less evident. Just after another high level passage leaves the streamway from a sandy shelf on the right-hand wall, the roof of the main drain lowers to a 1.5m high arch. Beyond this the passage gains height once more, with the stream meandering between sand banks until the passage changes character once more. The water slides along the base of a high and slightly inclined rift, while progress is easier roughly 3-4m higher up, although the smoothness of the walls demands respect. The traverse level becomes more defined, and the going more relaxed, until the stream emerges a few metres above a pile of boulders. Climbing down onto these boulders brings the caver to the deviation on The Last Pitch.

From the base of The Last Pitch, the stream disappears into a narrow rift. The way on is to the left from the ledge where The Last Pitch deviation is rigged, where an oxbow is followed. This rejoins the line of the stream after several metres, and continues as a traverse. As the rift in the floor below the traverse widens out, climb down to regain the stream as it enters a tall circular chamber.

The stream flows out through a muddy rift on the opposite side of the chamber. Follow the stream for a couple of metres, then gain height in the rift where the passage offers suitable handholds. [Continuing along the stream becomes increasingly tight, muddy and aqueous, until the passage forces submersion.] Follow the rift at the easiest traverse level, about 5m up, which itself becomes increasingly more awkward as the walls become smoother and muddier, requiring much wedging and thrutching to make progress, until you are eventually able to drop down into the streamway beyond its deep tight pools.

[Continued traversing in a upwards direction eventually brings you to a ledge part way up the 26/11 inlet pitch. A bold pendule (now more easily achieved by using the 26/11 entrance) takes you to a ledge, from where it is possible to traverse above the streamway and the mud sumps into high level passages, leading through a boulder ruckle to a chamber with several partially explored phreatic tubes leading off: surveying shows these to be close to the surface.]

The streamway sinks into the bouldery floor as you emerge into a larger tall chamber, with a large inlet forming an alcove to the left. This is where Pozu Mohandi (26/11) enters the system. Continuing on, slightly to the right, the passage continues, tall initially, but the roof dropping until stooping is required. The passage itself continues dropping until a junction is reached. [To the left, the passage continues descending and lowering, until the muddy sumps are reached in some very muddy phreas.] To the right, there is a brief respite as the passage rises slightly, but it descends once more until it too perishes as muddy phreas and sumps.

The resurgences at Mohandi are at a very similar level and less than 70m away.

The High Fault Series

This strongly fault controlled rift runs roughly from the end of Codeine Phosphate Rift down to the Blue Bag Chamber near the end of Big Wind. It is not traversable continuously along its full length, but may be reached most easily in two places by long free-climbs.

The upstream section is accessible by following the inlet upstream from the sump pool at the start of Big Wind. A series of climbs and traverses emerges into a short section of large streamway, [which ends where the water emerges from an impenetrable fissure four metres up an aven.] A few metres back an easy but exposed climb up a shallow groove, Just Joking, emerges into the base of a fault controlled chamber. [To the right the passage pinches out at all levels,] while to the left two routes may be followed.

[The lower of these involves a scramble over boulders to reach a small inlet chamber, followed by a traverse in a rift with a large blank space beneath it. The rift opens into a large space, The Meander, with a high inlet entering directly opposite and a deep, wide and unclimbable stream canyon dropping back down towards the known cave.]

A higher level route can be followed along the fault for further. Beyond the head of Just Joking two 5m climbs lead to a large, meandering and steeply inclined stream inlet. A series of climbs of variable looseness, friability and exposure gains height rapidly until the channel becomes dangerously choked. A narrow muddy slot leads upwards and to the left into a smooth inclined rift with some formations.

This part of the cave is like a giant version of Eastwater's Upper Traverse, tilted by a further 30° , and grooved by stream inlets running down its face. The top of this rift is choked at the same level along its length, with cool draughts and fresh organic debris suggesting nearness of the surface.

A series of climbs, traverses and squeezes provides interesting going until a high bouldery chamber is reached. [A small chamber on the opposite side of the chamber contains a dig into a series of too-tight, draughting inlet tubes.] The chamber has a floor of giant boulders covered with rubble, and ends at a pitch (P10) into another similar chamber. These two chambers, because of their similarity, were called The Twins. At the bottom of the lower chamber an undescended pitch drops in a direction suggesting a link to the inlet in The Meander.

The downstream continuation of the high fault passage may be reached by an exposed climb leading up from the roof of Big Wind. This area is similar to that encountered upstream, but larger, and with more mature stream inlets modifying its face. It may only be followed in the upstream direction, where various traverse levels unite at a junction with a stream inlet entering from the true right, and a large pitch opposite it. This has been visually connected with the inlet leading of from the sump pool at the start of Big Wind.

26/11: Pozu Mohandi

The entrance is located on the slopes overlooking the Mohandi valley, about 50m above the valley bottom, to the right of what looks like a fossil resurgence. The entrance is a large open rift, which can be laddered down (P6).

The rift can be followed down a climb, through a slight constriction, and over some boulders into a chamber. Here there are a number of holes in the floor. The route taken was down a hole to the left - although this may not be the easiest way - to where a further hole is the top of a 22m pitch, landing in the lower streamway, 30m before the Mud Sump.

Rigging

Entrance rift            --       6m ladder belayed to naturals.          

Second pitch             30m      Two spike belays above slot; Y-hang     
                                  off two spikes; spike deviation.         

Contents