York University Cave and Pothole Club

Explorations in the Picos de Europa

View over the Cares Gorge from Vega Huerta (Photo: Dave Milne)



Expedition Summaries
1984    1987    1990
1985    1988    1991
1986    1989    1994

Pozo de Cuetalbo (M2)
Pozo de Llastrale (β3)
Sima de Cotalbin (K903) Thesaurus Fragilis (M921)

Survey Galleries

Image Galleries

Camping in β3, 1990

Caving Clubs
Caving in the Picos



Location    Elevation>    Plan    Description    How to Find    Image Galleries

Sima del Ternero (K901)

K901 3D Line Survey to the base of the ramp leading into Sala de la Resurreccion: rotate the image using the mouse.

Found in the first days of the 1990 expedition, this cave can be described as comfortable and spectacular. Wondering down through extensive, clean-washed pots, the rope work is both enjoyable and pleasing to the eye.

Location    X: 341,35   Y: 4784,19  Z 1910 m    Depth   -367 m


Lynne Robinson in the rift at the base of the entrance pitch (Photo: Dave Binks) Description

A small opening in the side of a shake-hole gives direct access to the 16 m entrance pitch, rigged off naturals. A narrow 40 cm rift leads from its base Simon Cawthan standing at the window on the 40 m pendulum pitch (Photo: Dave Binks) to a 3 m drop down on to the narrow head of a 39 m pitch. One rebelay and deviation later sees the snow covered bottom. A short slope gives access to a 40 m free-hanging blind pot with a small, shitty rift at the bottom. The way on involves a difficult climb up, or alternatively a 10 m pendulum from 10 m up to gain a large window. Through this, a parallel pitch drops in to a boulder chamber - Lynne Robinson descending the 20 m pitch from the pendulum window, with the scree slope rising up from below (Photo: Dave Binks) a confluence of diverse ascending rifts, with one scree slope which goes up and up. The way on is via a short climb and loose slope to a hole with a drop of 19 s via 10 m and 32 m pitches. Simon Cawthan, passing through the rift from the base of the 32 m Pitch(Photo: Dave Binks) From the base the cave closes down but for a narrow way through to the upper part of a 41 m ramp. Here, the main perception is one of darkness, accompanied by the boom of resonating voices.

Although it begins in the previous rift, it is from this point where the cave is seen clearly, to be formed along a major fault. Follow this fracture down an uneven ramp of 41 m inclined at 65 to a large chamber Sala de la Resurreccion whose floor Pitch head at the top of the ramp down into Sala de la Resurreccion (Photo: Dave Binks) is a collage of immense blocks and whose vaulted ceiling gradually looses height to finish abruptly. At the base of the ramp a blind 20 m pitch joins the water.>

Steve Brooks on the ramp coming out of the Sala de la Resurreccion (Photo: Dave Binks) At the far end of the chamber, and between blocks, descends a 23 m pitch. After squeezing down 3 m between unstable blocks, the broadest and most dangerous, uneven ramp of 105m follows. At the start, the shattered rock and the stones break free just by looking at them, forcing the rigging to be deviated towards the left. The ramp becomes steeper towards its base, forming 15 and 21 m pitches. At the bottom a covered rift starts, choked by boulders and rocks.

Geology Notes

Although it can be traced back to the base of the parallel shaft, it is in the large chamber and the 105 m ramp where speleogenesis along the line of a major fault is most clearly observed. This fracture, which is clearly visible in the limestone, is of approximate direction E-W, has a dip of 60-70 N, and would surface to the south of the Canal de Capozo and parallel to it.

How to Find

Located in K-Area, 45 minutes from Vega Huerta. To reach it, take the gully from the refugio and the spring nearby down towards Capozo. When this gully ends and joins another major channel in a wide and stony area. From here go up to the right to a kind of more or less flat shoulder at the foot of the Cotalbin watershed. This platform is bordering on a very developed area of pavement, at the start of which, the cave is situated on the edge of a wide shake-hole.


YUCPC log book from 1990 Top Camp Log Book, YUCPC, 1990 in English. HTML
Expedicion Picos - 90, SEII, in Spanish. PDF (28MB)
SEG Journal covering 1989-90 Kaos de Bloques No 4 1992, SEG in Spanish. PDF (73 MB) (Cover)

WebAuthor: D.Milne[at]Tesco.Net