Oxford University Cave Club

Cabeza Julagua Expedition 1993

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Pozu del Xitu

William Stead and Gavin Lowe

Towards the end of the expedition, Pozu del Xitu was rigged to examine a few leads. Xitu was originally explored by OUCC between 1979 and 1981, to a depth of 1135m; see OUCC Proceedings 9 and 10 for details.

The cave was rigged in efficiently, using SRT on all pitches - some pitches having originally been rigged on ladder. During the rigging, the Hungarians discovered a lead at the bottom of the Bluewater I pitch: a climb up led to a T-junction, but unfortunately both routes soon came to an end.The main lead looked at was in "William's bit". The original route here ended at a pit, described in Proc. 10, reported to be blind. This year, William, Steve Phipps and Moha traversed across the pit and descended a sloping pitch. The passage soon ended where the ceiling came down to meet the floor in a mud choke. At the bottom of the pitch, a small crawl led back to the bottom of the "blind pit".

The other lead examined started as a strongly draughting crawl, part way along William's Bit. The crawl led to a short climb: William had got to the top of this in 1980, but had not explored any further. This year, William and Paul continued along an ascending, tight, chossy rift passage, past two holes in the floor, to a terminal chamber. This chamber used to contain a large stream, and a stream can still be heard, but was not found. The Hungarians descended the two holes in the rift. The first hole reportedly doesn't go. At the bottom of the second hole, a crawl led to another pitch where a stream was met; unfortunately, the stream sumped at the bottom of the pitch. The fact that water was found here is significant as there is no other known stream in this part of the cave.

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