Got back from the Picos de Europa Ario Caves Project
expedition yesterday, straight after a three day trip to the Xitu
camp and Chunder Pot. Great time being had by all.
A summary of the news: C4 is loose and much gnarlier than
reports suggest. Respect to the 90s explorers, but they seem not
to have minded getting wet. YSS team doing some adventurous
bolting to try to avoid the water on the big shafts. Paul Mackrill
was diving the Xitu first sump the day I left and has apparently
Snow Castle found - an astonishing, gorgeous sight. It's a
gigantic, ancient phreas whoch ends in stal blockages, but there
is a draught, it's heading into blank mountain in a 2/7-wards
direction, and might with persuasion go. Up All Night to Get Lucky
is still to be pushed.
Richard plus a large team pushed his hole in the Cares Gorge
wall. It took us three hours to get there, three hours to get
back, across razor karst with big exposure and vicious vertical
gorse. It's a promising dig, but an epic approach.
And my Chunder Pot lead? Alas. We pushed and pushed for hours,
but it just doesn't go. We climbed a lot further up the rift than
anyone has been before, through some big, round chambers and some
narrow fissures, but the slot I saw in 1981 just goes back to the
stream. The end of of a 33-year obsession?
As ever, Ario, Laura and Ignacio were fantastic.