Oxford University Cave Club

El Regallón 1997

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D7 - The Back Door into Torca del Vasco?

Location: By the Vega de Aliseda Moraine, bearings La Verdelluenga 152°, Conjurtao 274°. Head direct from new Top Camp to the orange rocks N of the Vega de Aliseda moraine. Stop at prominent shakehole about 30m before reaching the Vega. The prominent back wall has yellow/brown staining and a small bush growing out of it.
Depth: -109. 96 m
Length:  65. 37m

Climbing down through large boulders for 3m leads to a small chamber and the first pitch, 'Rolf Roof Digging' (P29). An awkward pitch head soon opens out and parallel shafts can be seen at -10m and -15m. Landing ( in 1997 ) is on a very small snow cone. The obvious way on to the SW leads over a choked hole to a small canyon which soon fills with rubble, but the way forward is a small draughting rift beside the snow cone. A short squeeze is best approached head first, and anyone of above average build should consider removing gear.

This squeeze emerges in an aven, probably connecting with the parallel shaft seen from the first pitch. Several holes immediately ahead are blind or tight, but to the right a large block provides a belay for the next pitch, 'Gardener's World' (P44). The first section of this pitch (P12) lands on a shelf and then on a rubble-strewn ledge with a convenient chamber for a shelter at the main rebelay - this area of the cave is very loose. At least three avens converge at this point, and a small amount of water is followed from here even in dry weather.

From the main rebelay a steep descent passes a deviation from a rock bridge to a further rebelay which allows a direct hang to the floor. To the left of the pitch base an inlet connects back to the left hand end of the rubble-strewn ledge above. The third pitch (P11) follows immediately, landing in a chamber with a small pool. The water debouches into a prohibitively tight meander, but in the roof of the rift a crawl over 'cauliflower' leads past a sharp left-hand bend to an enlargement where another small passage can be seen in the roof of the rift.

A hand line protects a climb down onto a small rock bridge where the 'Misfit' (P13) lands in another pool, and the water vanishes into a very tight, drafting rift. Several possible routes through the rift were given only a cursory examination, and it is possible that the way on is high in the rift - to the left of and immediately beyond the pitch head potential routes remain unexplored owing to lack of time and manpower in 1997.

Initially thought likely to be the inlet in the roof of the aven which represents the 6th pitch (P28) of Torca del Vasco, at this depth it seems more likely, if indeed the two caves are connected, to be connected with one of the parallel shafts around the 7th and 8th pitches of the latter cave, or perhaps to be the wet inlet below 'Bolt Farming'  in the 1996 OUCC extensions.

Rigging Guide  

Entrance (Rolf Roof Digging) (P29) 35m rope Spike belay L; bolt belay L; bolt rebelay L, pitch head; deviation -3m R.
Gardener's World  (P44) 60m rope Spike belay, large block; bolt y-hang L, R; deviation -5m R; spike rebelay -10m L; bolt y-hang R, R; deviation -25m L; bolt rebelay -30m L
Third pitch (P11) 15m rope Bolt y-hang L, R.
'Misfit'  (P13) 20m rope Spike belay for handline, L; bolt rebelay R, at pitch head

Area D: 'There aren't any caves round here, except underground, of course...'