Updated 30th November 2016; 10th January 2017; 24th May 2017; 3rd, 15th January, 26th September, 11th December 2018; 18th May, 5th June, 25th July 2019
This site is in the Pistruellos area in woodland.
A strongly draughting hole found at the head of a small rocky gully. The site has been excavated to a p7 which is tight part way down. An alternative route could be enlarged.
Three visits were made in November 2016 when the p7 was enlarged and dropped into "holes, large boulders, debris slopes, formations and two reasonable possiblities for extension". The first was a caveable tube partially obstructed by small formations but with no sign of a draught. The second lead is up a slope to a higher level where there was a climb down through a hole that would require some modification to descend. "Strangely there was a good draught coming upwards at this point."
This hole was eventually dropped after chipping the edge of the obstructing slab. Beyond there were several possible ways on, all of which need some work. The most enticing was immediately below the climb down - a narrow, partially blocked, downward rift which is the source of the draught.
The site was shown to Miguel from the G.E. Pistruellos in November 2016.
At Easter 2017, three possibilities for extension were identified - all draughting into the known cave passage. The route down to the lower parts was enlarged and the known cave surveyed. A narrow section was opened up to 12m of passage that ended at a big dropped flake with passage seen beyond. The flake was demolished and a series of chambers / large passage with roof formations was entered terminating at another tight section at roof level. This is tight and awkward and will require work for further progress - but there is a draught. The new section was surveyed. (Survey with AL).
Another tight draughting rift was pushed down for 5m at about 45 degrees into the rift proper. Way on looks to be an 8-10m pitch to a floor. There are loose rocks and loose bits on the walls - not nice!
Five trips were made to the hole in October 2017. The end of the big passage was pushed to a draughting slot in the roof which was investigated for possible capping and into a bedding plane to meet a passage choked at both ends. One end was eventually passed to a shaft and a small, well decorated continuation beyond it. Both shaft and passage were draughting but no ladder was available so further exploration has been left for the next visit. The tight, draughting rift was descended with further work required.
Work in July 2018 involved going "to the end. Capped top of pitch at RH crawl leads to a p10 and a 10-15m high gallery. Holes in the floor not descended. Offset chambers on left. Possible continuation at roof level ahead needs aids. Draughts well." (Alf Latham) Sketch of this extension.
Six trips were undertaken in September / October 2018. The edited logbook entries follow:
Saturday 29th September 2018
The narrow rift and pitch (see previous reports) was descended to check all possibilities and survey the big passage. Back under the entry rift, where the passage roof steps down, it is possible to crawl for 3 to 4 metres to draughting low continuation that would require digging.
At the other end of the large passage, under the climb down below the ladder pitch, the low level way on was entered feet first to find that it became hopelessly low after 2 metres. No draught to encourage thoughts of digging although the air seemed fresh.
At the bottom of ladder level, the main passage continuation as a narrow rift was entered by crawling past a large block but ended after a few metres at a vertical wall of debris.
In the passage which heads to the left from the junction situated a few metres beyond the narrow rift. Some sections were opened up to make it easier to traverse.
Thursday 4th October
Mob handed trip to the end of 4474. The team headed into the section entered from the right hand corner of the end of the big passage. By standing on shoulders it was possible to get past the slab blocking the climb up the steep sand slope but there was no open passage at the top. Below the climb
a way was found through some interesting boulders to a lower level that consisted of a large passage/chamber sloping down to a narrow vertical section choked with rocks but with a draught. Partway up (or down) the chamber there was a draughting low way on over dried mud and sand. This was attacked to the point where it appeared that a couple more metres would reach an enlargement. Another look at the capped and dug continuation of the main passage (in the strongly draughting roof slot) revealed the floor seeming to drop steeply just a short distance ahead.
At the slot, attacking the left wall with a hammer created another foothold before going forward under the slot to look at digging at the lower level. Thge slot was further dug and capped whilst the debris was cleared back to the open passage. By bail-out time there was a mixture of nasty looking broken roof to the left, with an upward slot full of loose stuff. However, to the right side there was an strongly draughting space that would be the focus of the next visit.
The dig under the slot continued whilst the low passage opening up 4 days before was also attacked. The spade here worked a treat and after a while the enlargement was reached. Unfortunately 4m further on the fill once more sloped up towards the roof leaving a very low and narrow continuation that would be a very awkward digging site.
Substantial progress was made at the dig under the slot, although a large flake preferred to drop onto Alf's helmet rather than stay on the wall. The offending item was photographed and the cave vacated.
Back below the slot, a large quantity of spoil was moved out into the main passage. The open overhead slot was passed and there appeared to be a way on over a large slab but first some gardening of the top of the near vertical spoil slope was required. Then all up and onwards through a few metres of low passage, into a chaos of boulders and out into the upper section of a large, partially collapse-filled passage. The roof had moved up a bed and was several metres higher than the roof level in the previous large piece of passage. Forward the boulders climbed to the roof, whilst to the right routes downward led only to small sand-choked rifts and passages, probably situated above the high level section of the right hand branch large chamber. Also on the right there was a number of cracked flows attesting to the age of the passage. Despite a good look round, the draught was so dissipated that no way on could be found, hence the name of Bother Chamber.
The extension surveyed and photographed. Adjacent to and below a van sized boulder that, after careful examination, was deemed 'ok' there was a small (maybe 1.5m high) boulder jammed in a slot with a draught coming out from under it through some loose stones. These were removed to observe space and a wall some metres back. More digging is required to gain access to the continuation. As a result of this the chamber name changed to Bother Squared Chamber. Some more photos were taken, then the cave was left, the 1st pitch ladder being removed en route.
Survey data has been extracted from a Word document and is now the 3d file (August 2018). The surveying and photography undertaken in October 2018 is not yet here.
Further pushing took place at Easter 2019. A climb up into a chamber was choked with boulders, named as the Big Red Ballroom and surveyed as batch 19-01 (length =30m). A small rift was descended into The Travelator giving 32m of passage in batch 19-02. Twenty five metres of narrow rift was named Snotty Nose Passage and surveyed as batch 19-03. The Easter 2019 Survex file link below contains all current survey batches. Easter 2019 log book descriptions of the work can be seen through the Logbook Search facility.
In June 2019, an unsuccessful attempt was made to enter the awkward passage leading out from the current final chamber and no other possibility for continuation was found. The calcite blockage in the low passage leading out of the aven (see April report) was eventually removed, then the adjacent floor attacked and lowered with a mini-mattock thus allowing movement past that location. More work is required.
A comprehensive site description with drawn up survey is now required!
References: anon., 2016c (summer logbook); ; anon., 2016d (autumn logbook); anon., 2017b (Easter logbook); anon., 2017d (autumn logbook); anon., 2018c (summer logbook); anon., 2018d (autumn logbook); anon., 2019b (Easter logbook); anon., 2019c (Whit logbook)
Entrance pictures : summer 2016
Underground pictures : autumn 2016 : Easter 2017 : autumn 2017 : summer 2018 : Easter 2019
Detailed survey : In hand? : Sketch of summer 2018 extension
Line Survey :
On area survey :
Survex file : 2018 : Easter 2019