Total Area Shaft Bashing Guide, 1999
Containing shaft bashing information for all areas




Extraido de Gavin Lowe's Caving Page

How to shaft bash

1. Find a good area (see below).

2. Take with you: tackle, map, compass, shaft bashing guide (the correct volume), paper, pencil, identification tags, punches and nails.

3. Find a promising entrance, not just a shakehole that obviously chokes.

4. Explore the cave.

5. Mark the cave with an identification tag. Include the cave number and one of the following:


$\bigcirc$       if the cave has not been descended



if the cave has been descended, but not bottomed


if the cave has been bottomed.

Do this discretely, not so that the marking can be seen by passing ICONA guards


6. Make notes on the location. Include the following

·        Approximate position, eg `on the left hand side of the Valle Extremero, 100m above the woods'. Note that left and right refer to directions when looking down valleys.

·        Proximity to other features, but only include ones which other people are likely to be able to find. Avoid references to other caves, unless they are well known or easy to find. See the description of 37/7 as an example of how not to do it.

·        Take compass bearings to prominent features. It's best to pick near by features; it's no use saying 98${}^\circ$ to the obvious entrance in the central massive, because it's on a bearing of 98${}^\circ$ $\pm$2${}^\circ$ from nearly all of our area.


7. When you get back to camp, write this all up. Include a concise description and location. If it's still going, say so and encourage people to go back.

8. If you find any errors or ommissions in this guide, please tell me (Gavin).

9. There should be a complete area guide at Ario, for reference. Please add notes to this, describing any finds, and making cross references to the log book. This makes updating the shaft bashing guide for next year much easier.

A note on areas and volumes

There are currently 15 areas:

Area 4

The area to the east of the Cabeza Julagua - Cabeza del Covu - Cabeza del Verde ridge, bounded to the south by the cliffs of Cabeza Llambria.

Area 5

The area around Ario, including the upper Valle Extremero (as far as the pond), the Green Ridge of Jultayu, the Jou La Cistra and the Xitu Col.

Area 6

The area around the Jorcada Blanca - Conjurtao ridge.

Area 7

The Jultayu bowl.

Area 8

The area between Xitu and Pico Gustuteru.

Area 9

The area around the huge shakehole La Jayada.

Area 10

The area on the far side (i.e. the Trea side) of the Green Ridge of Jultayu, and the lower Valle Extremero.

Area 11

The area behind the Cabeza La Forma - Cabeza Julagua ridge.

Area 12

The lower slopes of the gorge, overlooking Culiembro.

Area 13

The area beyond area 11, around Cabeza Muxa, and Vega Maor.

Area C

The slope of La Verdelluenga above Boca del Joon.

Area D

The Vega Aliseda, Jou de las Cuevas, extending as far east as the Joos La Manada Vieya.

Area E

The area roughly between Verdelluenga, El Regallón and Gustuteru.

Area F

The area around Top Camp.

Area G

The area between sods 3 and 4.

Why the odd system of naming areas? Historical accident really. The original areas 1-4 were around Lagos. Then in 1979 when the expedition moved up to Ario, areas 5-9 were introduced. Then one year, they forgot the shaft bashing guides, and so made up names for some more areas (A-F). Area A had no caves in it, so has been dropped from this guide. Area B lay inside area 9, so I've renamed the caves. In 1987 a new area was explored, which was named area 4, as nobody could remember where the old area 4 was. Since then areas 10-13 and G have also been added.

There are four volumes of this shaft bashing guide:

Top Camp Area

Covers areas 6, 8, 9 and C-F.

Ario Area

Covers areas 4, 5, 7, 10, 11 and 13.

Gorge Area

Covers area 12.

Total Area

Covers all areas.

Make sure you have the correct volume before setting out.

Good places to shaft bash

Ario Area:

Most of areas 5 and 7 have been worked out in recent years. It might be worth revisiting 53/5 to try to find the source of the draught. It may be worth digging in The Valley of Dry Bones, again, probably at the eastern end. There is also a draughting, diggable shakehole, next to the Trea path, about half way between Las Cruces and where the path starts to descend steeply. There are rumours of a large drafting hole somewhere down the Trea Valley--ask a pastor for directions.

There are a few leads worth pursuing on the western edge of area 7, for example near 46/7.

In area 4, the Llano las Cuevas needs finishing off, and there are a few interesting leads lower down, such as 35/4.

Area 11 is now fairly worked out, although it may be worth looking further west than the Sistema Sierra Forcada, and the Dry Sump dig should be continued.

Area 13 remains largely unexplored, but as the SIE are working this area again, we ought to lay off it.

Top Camp:

There are a few caves around La Jayada (areas 9 and C) that remain undescended. The area near the top of Cuvicente might be worth looking at (although it's a long walk from either camp). Caves higher up are likely to drop into upstream 2/7, while those lower down are more likely to go into C3/C4.

Area D may warrant some more attention, particularly D7. This area has limited depth potential, but may help us understand the overall hydrology of the area.

If area F, there are a few caves still worth persuing. There are a number of entrances on Cabrones that remain undescended, and could be very deep.

Area 12:

Several big entrances that look like fossil resurgances -- hard to get to though.

Feel free to re-examine previously explored caves; many caves that had been thought to be bottomed have been extended.