Cueva del Nacimiento – The Wet Aven and Grand Circle

Eastern Massif, Picos de Europa, Northern Spain

Cueva del Nacimiento – The Wet Aven and Grand Circle

With one group already on an underground camp at Death Race and the tea slurping and crisp munching getting on my nerves at base I decided to start on another underground camp.  A team had already taken in a second set of camping gear to Consort Hall the day before so the team of Phil, Martin, Joe and Sam set off into Nacimiento with 2 main objectives:

  1. Continue aven climb of the Wet Aven, a circa 30m high aven coming in part way up the Teeth of Satan ramps.
  2. Revisit the Grand Circle. Although heavily explored in the 70’s, worth a revisit to see if there were any opportunities for climbing or ‘expanding’ tight rifts

Suffering from the effects of a hangover, I entered the cave at around 3pm and promptly wanted to leave.  Every step, seemed to take forever, my bag was too heavy and nailed to the ground, sweat pouring out of very office.  I wanted to quit and go home and sit on nice plumped up cushions.  However, the others were having none of it and my pleas fell on deaf ears. It took a good 2 hours for the hangover to go before I was anywhere near able to cave effectively.  However, it took around 4 hours to get to Consort Hall, which seemed rather good going given the size of the bags we were carrying and the hangover.

Camp was the usual gritty and muddy affair, opting to use group equipment this year round, meant I didn’t have all my creature comforts, so a chillier than normal night was received.

A late start the following day, meant a bit of a rush, but we quickly made it to the Wet Aven.  Martin and Sam staying to climb, while myself and Joe dropped back down the ramps to the Grand Circle.

 We spent a few hours crawling around in the upper part of the Grand Circle but as feared there was nothing new that could be identified (plus it was not as ‘grand’ as expected).  A few holes down were identified but as the direction was not up and 99% certain they are the known pitches down to the stream.  On the return to Consort Hall we re-rigged a few pitches and tidied up some old rope, dragging various bits back to camp.

A few hours later, Martin and Sam returned.  The Wet Aven was still going and had been climbed for another 20m or so and was still going up but starting to narrow.  Lack of time forced a retreat for this camp.

Another chilly night’ sleep and then the following morning we struck camp.  Myself and Martin heading out, while Sam and Joe, took a quick look at I Love Horses, a ramp above Consort Hall.

Out of the cave in 4 hours and then long walk up the hill.