Tresviso 2017

Overview

The 2017 expedition was to continue with ongoing exploration in the Cueva del Nacimiento cave in the Urdon Gorge (Tresviso, Cantabria). Expeditions in the previous years have been slowly extending the cave up through the mountain range, with the intention of trying to connect the cave with the known deeper pot holes in the Andara region. A number of the caves higher on the mountain (Sima 56, Sara) have previous been dye tested and the water is known to resurge in Cueva del Nacimiento.

Objectives

Cueva del Nacimiento – Die Hard – Jurassic World 
Exploration of numerous unclimbed avens within the Jurassic World area, looking for further progression into the mountain range.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Teeth of Satan – Wet Aven 
The aven was climbed to +60 m in 2016, to a narrow gap, with a black space and draft beyond. Requires completion in 2017.

Pozo Del Castillo
Re-investigate the possibility of resuming exploration of the Castillo system, currently at -293 m.

Results

Cueva del Nacimiento – Jurassic World – Terror Firma
The ‘final’ aven at the end of the cave was climbed to over 40 m, a split in the aven was followed to a new height of 534 m above the entrance, but closed down. The second aven remains unclimbed and is ongoing

Cueva del Nacimiento – Jurassic World – Pterodactyl Crumble
Another aven at the end of the cave was explored upwards before reaching horizontal passage for another 60 m, then finally closing down.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Death Race 2000 – Joe’s Crack
Initial constriction was passed and the passage continues down another 35 m, to head of undescended 12 m pitch. The passage heads under the Death Race chamber, toward the Death Race pitches.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Teeth of Satan – Wet Aven
The Wet Aven was not attempted on this trip, in part due to 2 trips getting lost on the way to the far end and running out of time to climb.

Cueva del Nacimiento – Other
180m of passage found near Death Race passage. A new aven (+30 m) found near P Chamber in Death Race passage, continues.

Cueva del La Marniosa
Sump 1 was dived and the 80 m aven beyond was climbed to approx. 47 m. The rock is extremely poor and no obvious continuations could be seen at the top of the aven, using powerful lights.
The Marniosa team diverted attention to trying to dive Sump 2, an undived sump, discovered in 1987 and unvisited since. A rather ambitious trip saw two cavers reach sump 2 and allowed one diver to pass sump 2 (30m long t 5m depth) to surface in stream passages. A further 40m of cave was explored and still continues, before safety concerns forced a retreat.

Pozo Del Castillo.
Pozo Castillo continues to be surveyed (2km +) and leads explored, attempting to bypass the 1987 snow collapse. The rediscovery of FT16 and the lower snow levels, allowed further progress in the system, but a sump was encountered at -110m. Pozo Natacha (a series of pitches in Castillo, rather than a separate cave) was pushed past it’s 1983 limit, down a tight right to the head of a tight 20m pitch. This pitch head would need serious enlargement before further exploration can continue.

Other exploration
Torca del Carneros was (re)discovered and surveyed. This lies on La Mesa, above Tresviso, and probably would be connected to caves draining away from Tresviso toward the San Esteban valley.
Fallen Bear was also rigged ready for further exploration in 2018. The bulk of the cave is a steeply descending ramp, similar to Nacimiento, and contains a number of leads of potential.

Summary:

In total over 2km of cave was surveyed in 2017. Exploration of Nacimiento continues and has now pushed the height to over 534   m from the entrance. A logistical challenge that is not proving to get any easier, despite fixed camps toward the end of the cave. Trips to the far end require 4-5 nights of camping, and advanced camps at the far (far) end now need to be considered. Passing the second sump in Marniosa is a major achievement and unexpectedly has surfaced in passage heading away from Nacimiento and into the mountain, possible towards a hypotheses trunk route that may also feed the upstream sump in Nacimiento. The rigging of Fallen Bear, and discovery of some new leads, opens up further possibilities of closer deeper systems lying between Nacimiento and the deep potholes high on the mountain.

 

Text: Phil Walker
Photos: Chris Jones & Michael Young

Download: Summary Expedition Report

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