The Western Massif of the Picos de Europa is well know to generations of British exploratory cavers. Pozu del Xitu was the first 1000m pothole explored to depth by a British team in the early ’80s, and many teams have dreamed of forging a connection between the high mountains down to the Culiembro resurgence in the Cares gorge some 1500m below.
This year a team from Oxford University Cave Club is returning to Asopladeru la Texa to push some significant leads left at the end of the ’08 trip. A large and well decorated phreas at depth, first reached by Phil Rowsell after some ‘soul searching’ climbs; a large ongoing streamway beyond a short sump, where a cascade needs bolting; and the impressive downstream lead, the ‘Blue Again’ sump – left at -43m depth in a large open passage. I’m intending to dive this with CCR, trimix, and drysuit, rather than the SCUBA plus wetsuit combination used last time! Pushing these leads are the main aims of the expedition, with the desire to make the first deep through trip after nearly forty years hard work in this most beautiful of caving areas.