Cueva de la Marniosa

Eastern Massif, Picos de Europa, Northern Spain

Cueva de la Marniosa

Sunday 28th May 2023

Cueva de la Marniosa – Forgott Aven 1

Return to Marniosa, this time to go straight to the end of Extra Caverns, Forgott Passage. Here there are 2 small avens to climb. Fast progress to chamber just before the passage and things slowed from here.

When this part had first been found the only way out the chamber appeared to be 2 climbs. The first on ultimately led to the top of the chamber and a route back out and one of the top. The passage was generally tight and snaggy. The second climb, right by the obvious inlet, was easier until reaching the top where I had to remove my equipment and get through a narrow gap, that led onto the new passage. On the return I just headed over the top and back out above the first climb.

It’s then unclear how the second group, the following year, entered the passage. The initial climb still had rope on it, which served no purpose and the tape on the second climb was out of reach, so there was no way up the second climb or an easy way across the top, without a bold step.

The first rope was de-rigged and turned into a traverse. Next was the hole above the second climb. Bob created a form of pendulum and dropped into the chamber before swinging into the hole. A bit of a thrutch through, looked tighter than I remembered. Bags hauled up from the bottom and then I went back up to the route over.

The traverse is a bit awkward, lot of thrutching and swearing before a drop onto the pendulum. First attempt I was too low, second attempt got into the hole and was promptly jammed. Metalwork being the main issue and no space to really move. A couple of minutes, which felt a lot longer, laying horizontal trying to squeeze a few inches ultimately failed and I dropped back out of the hole. Luckily we had hammer, so while Bob went and scoped out the avens I spent 15 minutes hanging on the rope and hammering the rock, taking off 2 nobbles and smoothing out one more. Bob came back and I had another go, still awkward but I got through (one more nodule should be removed or far better would be to remove the big boss rock that you pendulum under.

Now we are in the sideways thrutch above the inlet, another tightish section has to be passed, more thrutching and then drop into a smallish chamber.

After looking at the two avens we tackled the easier option first. Bob expertly free climbed nearly the entire height, so no need for much equipment. It carries on, getting tighter. Left rigged for someone smaller to attempt in September.

At this point we decided to exit, mainly due to how long it might take to get back through squeeze and lack of suitable static rope for next aven (with hindsight we could have left the smaller one on the now rigged climb and the bigger one on the bigger aven! Bags left at junction, aid kit and drill in ortlieb)

By now my oversuit was torn to shreads, the velco gone at the front and the zips all broken on my undersuit, so most of the trip out was spent with my bare belly and chest rubbing against every bit of rock.

The squeeze back was difficult at first attempt but on second attempt just popped through. (note: going in, recommend face left hand wall, going out, face same wall, but no right hand side). After this just more thrutching in Extra Caverns and out the usual way out. 6 hour trip followed by inevitable trudge up the track to two beers provided by Toby.