T169 Flower Pot

Alternate Names: Sima de la Maceta, Sima del Florero, Torca del Picu Boru


CO-ORDINATES: 30T X:0359951 Y:4786262
LENGTH: >1600m
DEPTH: -723m


E slope of Pico Boro. 100m from the ridge from N end of Boro depression, scramble up to entrance


5x 3m hole at base of small cliff disguised by foliage

Picture: Entrance


N.B. all rigging information is based on 80’s exploration, using spits and natural rigging.

Short climb down to sloping mud floor and to head of first P25.  Bolt gives free hang into large chamber with boulder floor and skeleton.  A window in the shaft leads to a parallel pitch to the side of the chamber.

There are two ways on in the chamber floor.  Facing away from the pitch, BEN series is left down through boulders. The small opening on the right loads to BILL series.

BEN series:

After the climb down a short crawl leads to a low chamber.  Here a passage on the right leads back to BILL series. Straight on to a short crawl and then left to the start of the 2nd pitch of 34m (Teddy’s Pitch).  Belay around large boulder and down mud slope to calcite boss, descend over calcite to right to bolt. A tape re-belay is useful halfway down pitch.  Bottom of pitch is narrow rift, which if followed up widens to smooth floor of aven (unclimbed).

Continue down rift to 4m ladder, then follow the rift and traverse to a climb down, wide passage up to top of 3rd pitch.  Bolt in wall opposite large calcite flow, with stal back-up gives free hang of 28m (slight constriction 2/3 way down).

The 4th pitch of 15m is immediately around the corner, with a bolt take off in constricted rift. Pitch opens out to large ledge originally covered in loose boulders.  Bolt rebelay at ledge gives 9m pitch into "Rock Garden".  Pendulum 2m from bottom of rope onto large boulder, which is top of boulder pile.  This collapse chamber is the junction with "Little Weed" cross rift, an impressive vadose canyon.  Left from the Rock Garden, the canyon can be traversed upstream at high level for a short way but is unexplored from there.

On right a small chamber, and down a calcite flow leads to top of downstream canyon. Traverse right and climb down 20m.  Easy traverse with one wide section to climb down (tape) to stream and head of 8m pitch.

The cave here is pleasantly wide with a large pool.  The passage narrows, and traverse over hole in the floor with pool, to top of the easy 6th pitch of 16m (muddy ledge halfway).  The wide passage (Paso de la Oveja que come Nesquik) again closes to an awkward take off in the rift for another 16m pitch.  A short walk in pleasant passage leads to a very awkward mudstone/shale rift. (The next section was not surveyed).

Traverse up to a dry chamber with old formations.  Squeeze through into rift at roof level 25m above stream level. Continue for 40m to a window in circular shaft.  Climb up to 15m pitch into pool (Pozo del Lago).  Climb over pool into the continuing rift with several small climbs at stream level eventually reaching another shaft of about 40m. The pitch from here is too shattered so slightly back from the pitch climb down 10 m in the meander to where an 8m pitch regains the stream.  This time the same 40m shaft, "Pozo Critico", is reached partway down and can be safely descended as a 25m pitch.

A smooth—floored balcony above the water makes an ideal campsite for exploration.

The cave continues as a meandering shale rift with several awkward sections to 4m pitch down to a pool with a sandy bank.  Beyond, the rift passage gets smaller and smaller, through one tight section and then to flat out tight crawl, with a faint draught "Autopista Sangrienta" (Bloody Highway).  The rift widens before second 4m pitch is met. Staying near roof level above a deep fissure in the floor the end of the meanders opens out to "Pozo Comepiedra" — the Stone- Eater Pitch (depth of cave -350m at this point)

Pozo Comepiedra in an extremely impressive rift up to 20m across with a superb free hanging 54m pitch which lands on a floor that slops steeply downwards to another drop of 17m.  Scramble down the boulders until another overhang is reached. This is a broken 24m, (130m total?)

Pozo Flobalop, a 40m deep shaft, is next.  At the bottom the stream flows along a high canyon and then sinks into a cross rift. A small hole ahead takes most of the draught and the start of a short oxbow section to an 11m pitch and then a 17m pitch landing back in the water again.  A short stream passage ends at the top of a deep shaft, Pozo Slugalug.

Pozo Slugalug marks the end of dry caving in Flowerpot.  This damp spray filled 116 m deep shaft is rigged as a series of short drops.

Two more pitches of 15m and 12m and final 6m pitch lands in terminal sump pool. (-723m)

BILL Series

The small opening leads to a chamber with a sloping floor.  Down to the left leads back to BEN series, whilst a 3m climb down at the bottom end of the chamber leads to a 20m pitch. A small passage leads to a pitch of 7m into a small chamber, with a minor inlet and straight onto the head of a 40m(?) pitch.  At the bottom is another small inlet, and the stream flows into a fissure.  Traverse over, to a 10m pitch followed by a 38m pitch "Puit Technique Francais".  In the chamber at the bottom the water flows down into an inclined fissure, which can be followed for 50m before becoming too tight. No way on.

Note: Flowerpot is on the whole typical of the caves of the Andara region consisting for the first half of a single extensive meander with several wider sections and taking a small stream, which is followed all the way to the final sump.  Much of this section is well decorated with old orange calcite, a rarity among the caves in this area.  The cave from Pozo Comepiedra onwards is more grandly proportioned and Pozo Comepiedra itself is without doubt one of the most impressive passages in the Picos.  There are no known leads in this latter section except perhaps high in the cross rift below Pozo Slugalug but in the first part of the cave there may still be several possibilities at roof level.