Expeditions

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Team

4 Weeks:  Tony Revell (Leader), Derek (T-Pot) Stables, Dave Arvescough.
3 Weeks:  Jason Mallinson, , Andy & Angie Cave, Henry Bennett
2 Weeks:  Jonathan Sims, Pete Ward 
1 Week:   Richard Hudson, Rachel Gregory

Expedition Log

6 January 1996 Quichat

T-Pot, Dave, Jason, Rachel & Tony
Meandered through cave to the end.  Jason went a bit manic & tried to push the choke - went a few hundred metres into the choke. Took some photos near the 2nd entrance shaft and up the start of the inlet shaft while Jason pushed up the inlet to the end point.

7 January 1996 Chapultepec Cave

Rachel, Wardy, T-Pot, Tony, Jason & Dave
In classic Cuetzalan weather (rain & fog) we descended the shithole from hell. After entering the cave via the Bat Shit entrance we followed a stream past several inlets down a loose & muddy passage.  Rachel felt quite at home as the place is very similar to a Mendip cave.
Eventually we arrived at the terminal choke.  The whole place stinks of shit.
We looked up the inlet - a tight, stal-filled passage which is near to the supposed main lead.
Jason continued upstream to more shit.
The whole cave is loose and heavily polluted and not likely to be entered again.
All members vowed never to return to the worst cave in Mexico.

8 January 1996

Walked along road past San Andres, Xochical and Tenango looking for shafts near to the road.  Also looked at the waterfalls, Talcomitl and a couple of shafts near to the road beyond Tenango.
A cold but dry day.

9 January 1996 Naciemento Tepetzala

Wardy & T-Pot
Walked down from Cuetzalan, turned off at refresco just before Schoolhouse Cave and followed path down into valley.  Followed valley down past two active resurgences.    Just as path crosses open fields we contoured round south side to the entrance which is hidden in trees.
From the entrance a dry passage was followed for a few hundred metres to a static pool.    On the right a very tight 'inlet' passage was noted, but left.   Continuing up the main passage we met an active stream.  Downstream led to a tight, immature passage which became too tight after 20m.  We continued upstream, the stream flowing in a trench that meanders below the main passage.  Eventually, we arrived in a chamber at the start of a large hading rift.  The stream enters from a small passage 6m up on the left hand wall - this continues for at least 50m and is still going.
We carried on up the hading rift, which is full of old stalactites and cascades, the way on via squeezes or climbs over/under the formations.  The rift does not carry a stream but draughts strongly inward.  After a few climbs we reached a stal choke with a howling draught and the sound of a large stream.  Beyond the choke we joined a large stream with the passage continuing.  We stopped surveying at the stal choke and once we knew the passage continued we made a swift exit.

9 January 1996 Talcomitl

Jason, Tony & Dave
Kicked our way through bushes over edge of shaft & landed at top of slope.    Descended into massive entrance passage & down to water.  First objective was to survey bypass to downstream passage, which is quite tortuous.  The bypass was surveyed by Dave & Tony whils Jason looked up inlets & avens in the downstream continuation.  1st inlet on left led to high aven after 35m, 1st inlet on right led to stream issuing from impenetrable hole in wall.  Aven in same area climbed for 20m (very cherty) to where it closed down.
Once survey completed, we carried on to the end of known passage.  Here the way splits into three.  The most obvious rote was taken & surveyed immediately.    This passage seemed to be a high level overflow with deep pools and chert nodules.   This passage intersected a larger one.  Upstream led to a high aven & small crawling passage, continuation blocke by stal.  Downstream followed a high level passage with formations (& flood debris in the roof!) leading to tight crawls.   Following the water down through boulders led to 2 ways on.  The 1st passage was followed through a deep pool away from the flow into a maze of sharp, cherty flood overflow passage.  This was followed for approximately 100m through some interesting squeezes to an impenetrable crawl.  The 2nd route followed the stream through awkward rifts to where a continuation was possible along a tight rift.  A tight 15m deep rift in the high level stuff might drop into the same area or beyond.   There is much evidence of backing up (to the roof!) in this whole area.
Return was via original stream passage - very interesting.

10 January 1996

Team visited pyramids then Jason tried to look for valley, unsuccessfully, that Lugger had told Tony about.

11 January 1996 Sima Castor

Jason, T-Pot, Dave
Todays shaft bashing mainly ended inblocked shafts or immature caves.  On the way back we saw 2 depressions which we hadn't looked at.  The 1st didn't look too promising but after a thorough examination a 3m drop was found and descended with a handline to a choice of routes - upstream & downstream.  Jason & T-Pot pushed downstream via low pools & awkward squeezes in a shale/cherty passage.  After 50m the way on opened up into a walking size passage which led after 50m to a 16m shaft.    At bottom of shaft passage continued as before to a collapse area which was passed by a squeeze over a block.  Beyond the passage opened up and continued to head of pot appproximately 5m deep.  A step over this led to the head of another pot, approximately 15m deep with a big ledge 10m down.  No gear left to descend so returned to entrance.
Back at entrance T-Pot pushed upstream via flat out squeezes to where passage seemed to continue up through very unstable boulders which started to collapse upon investigation so a quick exit was made.

11 January 1996 Sima Campacino

Tony, Wardy.
Investigated large, impressive shaft 15m in diameter near to a campacino store in the village of Xalpantzingo.  Tony descended using a tree for a main belay and a tree which grew across shaft for a deviation.  Shaft was 25m deep to a landing in a pile of rotting pig carcasses.  No passages led of base of shaft and a quick exit was made.

12 January 1996 San Andres

Tony, Wardy.
Descended Killer Bee entrance and followed main passage to the duck.  Here we went up to the left up a climb to the rope where Dick sat out the flood a couple or so years ago.   We climbed into a walking size passage on the left which led via a 6m climb to a choke.  A 7m deep pothole dropped into a passge which led via a climb down over a tight,blind pot to the head of a pitch down to a streamway.
Back at the top of the 6m climb a short 2m climb led to another massive choke.
Deciding that we were not on the right track we returned to the top of the rope where Tony looked up another passage which led up a climb to a passage leading to a deep pitch into the main streamway.  Wardy attempted to traverse into a passage opposite the previous one but was unsuccessful.
No other leads were located and as time was getting on we exited the cave leaving the pitches rigged.

12 January 1996 Sima Castor

Jason, T-Pot.
Descended 15m pitch reached yesterday and pushed downstream via a 3m pitch to another 15m pitch.  At the bottom of this a narrow rift with fallen blocks led to a 5m climb.    Beyond this the route passed a large inlet on the left and led into a tight high rift which led after 20m to the top of a 15m pitch.  Having no more tackle we exited the cave.

13 January 1996 Rest Day.

 

14 January 1996 Sima Castor

T-Pot, Jason.
Returned to push & survey beyond last pitch.  Unfortunately passage sumped 20m beyond bottom of pitch.  Whilst derigging, T-Pot pushed an inlet through a series of crawls and squeezes to a 25m pitch.  At the bottom the way on led to a tight rift with a larger continuation seen at the bottom. 
Back at 3m pitch, a climb over the top led to a large passage which entered a collapse area.  Beyond this a climb down led into a small streamway of ample dimensions.    This was pushed for approximately 400m and was still continuing when the team turned round and exited the cave.

15 January 1996 Sima Castor

Jason, T-Pot, Jonathan, Henry.
Returned to survey side passage found yesterday.  Surveyed 400m to a stal constriction.  This was hammered out and led to an aven followed by a low crawl into a sizable square cut passage.  Passage degenerated to a flat out sand swim.    Total surveyed length 440m through well decorated rift/canyon passage with pin cushion walls.  Trends down dip with number of climbs.
While T-Pot and Jonathan exited cave Jason & Wardy pushed through sand crawl into large chamber with main way on off right (possible route on left) through very well decorated passage, past a stal blockage and stopping at a hammerable stal blockage after about 250m.
Way on looks negotiable.  Trend is high canyon passage, lowering to constriction, opening up again.
Leads:

  • constriction at end.
  • high level going up near 5m climb (200-300m from junction).
  • sump like area to left heading down (approx 150m junction).

15 January 1996 San Andres

Dave, Tony, Andy & Angie.
Entered Killer Bee about 2.00pm.  After leaving Andy & Angie in the Dales Passage area we carried on down the pitches rigged on the trip of 12th.  Before the ducks we started surveying the upward passage heading westward (already surveyed to top of slope), and then continued south to an upward pitch of 6m.  On from here the passage leads to a draughting choke which Tony pushed into for about 40m before returning..    We then headed off down a rift & westward to the roof of the western inlet stream passage.  Small passage and no more than 50m surveyed from the new stuff at the top of the rope pitch climb from the main stream.
We then headed back to the top of this rope pitch climb and on into the western inlet which involved a roped descent and a 5m pitch.  In the western inlet we headed up to the boulder choke going south.  I placed a bolt in on a tricky 4m climb after Tony proved it wasn't freeclimbable with a spectacular plummet, holding a chunk of rock in one hand and whacking me in the eye with the other, falling 3m to land spectacularly in a puddle.  We then proceeded into much more impressive passage and eventually split up at a junction.  Both passages eventually united through chokes and we met up near the terminal boulder choke but found no way on.  On returning we noticed a strongly draughting inlet, about 2m wide and 3m high, on the right before the bolted climb.    No time to investigate and exited the cave, out by 11.30pm.
Leads:

  • left hand inlet in western inlet.
  • new passage above start of Dales Passage which runs over the top, and has a connection back down into the passage.

16 January 1996 Dave & Angie.

Walked over to Killer Bee to look at 2 shafts on the surface.  Both were blocked.
Hole 1 is 0° and approximately 100m from the junction of the Killer Bee path and the path on the edge of doline.  Hole draughts strongly and takes stream in wet weather.
Hole 2 is 302° and abot 200m from same point.    Hole about 4m deep on same stream bed and had a strong, hot draught emitting from a 2m slot.
No other leads.  Boulder chokes at end of western inlet in San Andres have a lot of high ground above them and finding a surface link looks unlikely.


16 January 1996 Naciemento Tepetzala

Tony, T-Pot & Andy.
Entered cave about 8.00pm and made quick progress to the end of the surveyed section.    From here a climb led up through a squeeze into a nice passage which led to a large streamway.  From here the route upstream led, via some small climbs to a bedding.   Beyond this the passage increased in size and led via a couple of squeeze/climbs which avoided a squeeze up into to an inlet.  From here the main route was up a climb into a narrow passage which cut over streamway before dropping down a 3m climb to a junction.  The left hand route was ignored and the right hand rout followed up into Pink Comb Chamber.  The only route on from here was via a 12m aid climb which was attempted unsuccessfully as the bolts wouldn't purchase as the wall was loose.
After returning to the entrance for a brew we then pushed the inlet before the squeeze.    This was a 3m climb into a small passage which led past several inlets to a larger passage.  Upstream led through a squeeze into a chamber with several inlets on the left and a couple on the right which look like the way on.

17 January 1996 Rest Day

 

18 January 1996 Sima Castor

Dave, T-Pot, Andy & Angie.
Entered cave about 11.30am.  At bottom of 2nd pitch Dave had a look in the opposite direction to the main stream.  This route led into and old, dry abandoned stream route with a number of boulder falls heading in a south easterly direction.    After passing three boulder blockages the passage led to a connection with an active streamway that headed of  below us in a north easterly direction.  The route downstream was followed for quite a way past 2 inlets  on the right (not pushed) in a rift between 1m & 2m  wide.  A halt was made at a 3m drop.
The upstream section of this new streamway was briefly investigated by T-Pot as far as a 4m pitch upwards.  This streamway possibly connects with an open swallet as it is full of rubbish.
Leads:

  • Roof passage heading north west at start of new passage near 2nd pitch.
  • upstream & downstream of the new stream passage.
  • two inlets on right in new stream passage.

18 January 1996 Chichi-Resistol

Jonathan, Jason & Henry.
Looked at possible leads marked on survey between pillar room and boulder choke in Resistol.  None led to anything.  After this we looked up in the roof up passage.  Two leads requiring substantial bolting were found, one about 15m and one about 45m.  These were not pushed due to lack of equipment.

19 January 1996Chichi-Resistol

Jonathan, Jason & Henry.
Examined downstream choke and pushed a route for about 100m which is worth a revisit with fishing line.

20 January 1996 Quichat

Jason & Andy.
Looked at previous unclimbed inlet waterfall *.

Climbed cherty crap and surveyed walking size passage with polluted stream and chert ledges.  Eventually ended in a choke at the end of a crawl after 200m.  An inlet along the route was looked at but not pushed to a conclusion in a flat out bedding.

21 January 1996 Sima Castor

Dave, Jason, T-Pot, Tony, Andy, Jonathan & Richard
Pushed downstream in the new streamway past 3m pitch.  50m beyond reached a marked station in another streamway - one of the Sima Grande streams.  Just beyond the 3m pitch was a 4m pitch up - stream at the bottom very polluted.
Upstream was pushed to a 10m pitch up.  At top of pitch passage continued to a junction.  Right hand led to an aven where a stream entered.  Left hand led to a crawl of about 200m through debris ridden stream.
Back in North East passage Dave investigated the first inlet heading south east to a stream passage which headed upstream for at least 150m and downstream for at least 20m.

22 January 1996 Richard, Jonathan & Jason.

Went to look at valley near Tepetzintan which was reported as having a river cave in it.  However, locals in the area did not know of any caves.  Found 3 small resurgences which issued clear water but were impenetrable.

23/24 January 1996 San Miguel

Jason, Jonathan & Richard.
Aimed to bottom system and get past Nick Point.  Long slog downstream to 25m pitch.  After pitch a passage on right hand side was explored  and led after a short, loose climb back to the top of the 25m pitch, providing a useful bypass.    Carried on downstream to the Nick Point, a horrendous site with all the systems combined waters dropping 4m into a whirlpool.  Attempts to pass whirlpool threatened to sweep us away and the general opinion was that this was a suicidal approach.   A short distance upstream an exposed climb reached a high level traverse and an inlet passage (explored for 50m to an impenetrable hole).  Traverse continued over Nick Point to a tricky climb down to the stream.  Downstream continued for 250m in a narrow canyon to deep swims which led to a sump.  On the return journey we searched the sides for passages but only short loops were found.
The streams which converge just before the Nick Point consist approximately 25% San Miguel water and 75% from the inlet passage which is consistent with Chichi & resistol Water.    The water was exceptionally low during this trip otherwise crossing the Nick Point would not have been possible.
As the two streams converge they enter a high canyon in massive limestones.  It should be possible to bolt high up into the roof and traverse the Nick Point and possibly find a high level continuation.  The passage leading to the sump is comparitively small, being circular and about 4m in diameter and dipping at about 9°.  It is possible that a high level passage runs above this.

25 January 1996 Sima Castor

Henry, Tony & Dave.
Photographic trip.

26 January 1996 Naciemento Tepetzala

T-Pot, Henry, Tony & Andy.
Made many attempts to do the climb in Pink Comb chamber but were defeated by bad rock and many near misses from falling debris.

26 January 1996 Tepetzala Resurgence Area

Jason, Richard & Jonathan.
Checked out main wash area resurgence.  Swam into a maze of rift passages and climbed out into a boulder choke.  Various routes were followed and found small immature streamway that eventually got too small.  Surveyed about 50m.
On track to Naciemento Tepetzala we found another small resurgence.  This was explored and surveyed upstream for approximately 600m to where it joined the main Tepetzala passage around station 29.  There are a couple of unexplored inlets in this section.

27 January 1996 Dave.

Visited site beyond Ixhuata that I recce'd on 25th.

1st cave about 80m down valley through coffee bushes.  Climb down into 4m wide hole heading roughly south.  Passage 4m wide, 5m high swings to to north east ends in a chamber after about 50m.  Small passage heads north for 30m to a 3m pot to nothing.    Various tight sinks in cave but no draughts and no leads.

2nd Cave is just a series of crossing joints.

3rd Cave is easterly of two holes (the other is blocked).  3m drop to small meandering passage.  One leg heads north for about 30m, draughts, but is painfully small.

The rest of the valley wasn't checked as the weather turned to rain though it looks like there will be more holes.

28 January 1996 Sima Castor

T-Pot, Tony & Andy.
Surveyed blind pitch located by T-Pot & Jason on the 14th and located another passage that went over top of blind pitch into a continuing rift which ended after a short distance.  On right hand side a well decorated hands and knees crawl led after two right hand bends to a large rift chamber with an inlet high on the right.  Below the inlet 3 pitches of 3m, 2m & 3m led to the head of a 30m pitch which we were unable to descend due to lack of equipment.
We then traversed the length of South Avenue to Coconut Highway and started to survey at a high level till a stream was met.  Pushing upstream, over stal bosses through a rift type passage we stopped at a duck under stal which noone fancied due to the high levels of pollution.  The downstream section was pushedfor approximately 15m to a tight, impenetrable rift over which a series of small chambers and step-downs were followed until they too closed down.

29 January 1996 San Andres

Jason & Tony.
Derigging Trip.

31 January 1996 Dave.

Returned to check out a shaft located on the 25th, about 1.5km to 2km east of Zoquiapan.  Sketch map shows the main path.  Heads east down valley, crosses the east flowing stream twice and then at the second main path junction crosses dry streambed for a third time on bearing 27°.  Travel 70m then shaft 10m across streambed on bearing 145°.

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