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



Picos '91 Summary

50 m Pitch in B47 (Photo: David Milne)York successfully achieved its three main objectives for this year:

SEII also concentrated upon looking at possible leads in several caves, including Pozu la Llerona (β10), whilst looking for promising new entrances.

View the Top Camp Log Book

Vaughan Thomas resting in the Chapel of Rest in B47 (Photo: Steve Brooks)Pozo de la Garita Cimera (β47)

Pozo de la Garita Cimera (β47) is an awkward cave to negotiate. The majority within the expedition were inexperienced to Picos caving and to be honest were quite shocked at how hard it was. Having said that, the team did rig to the limit of the 1988 exploration - Rip Start - and pushed on down the un-descended pitch - 58m - to land in a large sloping chamber.

At the base of the slope, water could be heard to trickle, and this was found to sink through an unstable boulder ruckle. Further trips, involving several bolt climbs within Chapel of Rest found no way on.

A parallel shaft, Piss Pot, and several muddy rifts were also found further up the cave in the area around the 35 m pitch.

Sima de Cotalbin (K903)

Comparatively, Sima de Cotalbin (K903) is a rather spacious cave. During the previous year, the SCP had expored the cave to the base of a 300m deep shaft. From there, the cave took on a more broken form, was rather loose and had tight sections. Looking up first pitch in K912 (Photo: David Milne)

Early on, a lower entrance (K912) was found by SCP, by-passing the extensive pitch-ramp system and speeding up exloration. later, a higher top entrance (K9110) was found by YUCPC.

After a gradual descent, a streamway was encountered, leading finally to a choke. At the entrance to the streamway, passage was dug through a strongly draughting tube to gain access eventually to a large phreatic passage. The current years explorations ended at the base of a mud climb. Interestingly, cavers saw within the phreatic, formations which they believe to  be gypsum speleothems. John Whittlesea placing a bolt at the top of Bosch Climb in H906 (Photo: David Milne)

Ice Cave Zebra (H906)

One of our more interesting finds in 1991 was Ice Cave Zebra (H906). Whilst currently at a depth of 86m, this pothole makes a 'fun' trip. The system is situated within what appears to be a fault. It contains several parallel shafts. Following the obvious route leads over and then back on to a glacial ramp, choking at the bottom. A traverse across a shaft and climb gains a short passage to a parallel shaft, choked at the base by rubble. Several tubes in the walls of this shaft gives views upon further parallel shafts.

Pozu la Llerona (β10)

In 1986, passage was observed accross the top of the final 62 m pitch. SEII returned this year to Pozu la Llerona (β10) to explore this lead. A traverse above the pitch reached a short passage leading to a parallel shaft with three pitches landing on a slope leading back, close to the base of the original shaft. Several cavers attempted to push the final Meandro de las Naciones, but this becomes too tight.

Minor Finds

A number of other caves were found, explored and surveyed. Most notable of these was K913, a 105 m deep shaft leading to an impenetrable rift; La Sima GG (K914), a 77 m deep cave hading all the way to the bottom at about 40 to horizontal, leading to a chamber and another hading, but choked descent. Other finds included β913, β9150, H911, H912, H913, H914, H915, H916, H9121, I9101, I9102, I9103, Π50, Π903, Π910, Π911.

UK Contingent


YUCPC Expedition Report for 1991 YUCPC Picos 91, Expedition Report, David Milne (YUCPC) in English. PDF (1411KB)
YUCPC Log Book from 1991 Top Camp Log Book, YUCPC, 1991 in English. HTML
SEII Journal from 1991 Expedicion Picos - 91, SEII in Spanish. PDF (27MB) (Cover)

WebAuthor: D.Milne[at]Tesco.Net