After being promised a four day camping trip in cave where, I wouldn’t get wet and in the warmest cave passage in the world, I was keen to get going. Less than 24hours after leaving Cardiff we were standing in the entrance of Cueva del Agua, a steaming resergence, 15m in diameter.
They said I didn’t need wet socks, but I was dubious so chose to take them anyway, this turned out to be a wise decision.
After inflating the boat to get across the lake, which was good fun, the next section of passage was flooded and would either be a swim or a new high traverse – so much for not getting wet. This is the wettest the team have ever seen it, its normally totally dry and you can just walk through! And it was blowing a gale,so not that warm either.
After Chris rigged a new hand line to traverse above the water, and a near miss for me when I nearly fell in the water (thanks for a hand Chris) we were on our way.
Our four day trip was then cut short when it was decided we needed to replenish our rope and have a beer. So our epic turned into a half day.
Try again tomorrow I suppose. Time for the veggie option in the bar…
Alex here, not really sure what to say. This is my first trip to my Picos and I have no idea what to expect. All I know so far is that its going to be tough, I need a big bag and it’s completely dry; that was until I heard that there was a popped boat to deal with.
So far I’ve had fun being gassed out by Dave, packing & re-packing bags and walking around airports in wellies.
After a fairly long journey we were welcomed to the Picos with cheese toasties and beer by Carolyn, one of the early explorers of Cueva delicious Agua (1970’s). A good night’s sleep and a breakfast of pasty, with no leaves in it at all, we were on our way.
The time has come to leave Tresviso for this year. Thanks Phil for the invite – I’ve enjoyed my 12 days. 4 days camping at death race 3 days in the entrance series around Wigan Pier and helping Bob Re.rig Natacha, and a day walking around the mountains with Martin, not to mention lots of Vinous.
Duncan and I stopped for coffee on our way to Santander and whilst rummaging in one of the typically Spanish family hardware stores, I’ve found a new digging tool. For less than €8 I reckon it’s worth a go and it’s lightweight.
Yesterday three teams entered Marniosa (2pm) with all three initially helping with the transport of dive cylinders to the top of the short pitch down into the main streamway.
Russ and Nick then headed back towards the entrance photographing the cave. Russ has a proper camera with fancy flash units so has captured some pretty awesome pictures that show off Marniosa.
Emily and David headed upstream with the intention of pushing as far as they could but were soon tharwted by a boulder choke. With a too tight squeeze and sketchy traverse they decided to head back and join up with Russ and Nick to support the photography team.
Bob and Duncan headed downstream to complete the rigging of the instream pitches. With a 33m rope left from the earlier rigging trip and about 6m cut off some unused rope from a higher pitch we travelled downstream rigging the 3 remining pitches.
The Main stream has many chert nodules offering good hand-holds that can break off at any time! There is a steeply descending section with amazing eroded rock and pot-holes providing a very sporting up and down trip, often requiring one to traverse several metres above the stream to continue. We rigged the final pitch, ran out of rope and got to a large pool, which was just upstream of the sump.
Neither of us wanted a swim; we had achieved our primary goals (drag dive cyclinders in and complete rigging) so we returned to the entrance and caught up with the photography team at the big pitch.
When we finally got to the surface (9pm) we were greeted with mist and rolling thunder!
Joe and I planned to put a line on the climb upto ‘Parting Friends’ sump beyond the road to Wigan Pier, it’s a very impressive bit of stream passage with a major flow of roaring water. Unfortunately whilst trying to ascend up the slope before the pitch I slipped and got carried down the slope and underwater by the force of it. Joe caught it all on his gopro so that’s to follow. Feeling bruised and pride dented currently as I nurse my wounds. Cheers Joe for grabbing me.
Added by Phil with Gareth’s permission :-). Warning contains some swearing…..