Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 01 Feb 2013

Expedition details (GPF2013a-002)

Expedition Name (& Club): Ario Caves Project (OUCC)
Destination country: Spain
Region: Picos de Europa
Lat: 43.2727 Long: -4.9851 Elevation: 0 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Miss Steph Dwyer
Total cavers: 35
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 0
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 0
UK/nonUK cavers: 20/15
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 2
Expedition dates: 29th Jun 2013 - 3rd Aug 2013
Duration (days): 35
Man-days in field: 1190 Man-days travelling: 140
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

The Ario Caves Project is a continuation of 50 years of Oxford University Cave Club
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

Please explain the aspects of the trip which make it eligible for Ghar Parau funding.

Detailed description of objectives:

Give a more detailed account of the purpose of the trip, including any particular known caves you intend to visit, specific areas where you will explore for new cave, and scientific experiments you will attempt.

The scientific justification for this super deep system comes from the culmination of many years of exploration, surveying, geological studies, shaft bashing, careful GPS documentation and dye tracing. This work has uncovered many systems who in their own right range from depths of several hundred metres to >1,000m (namely C3-C4, 2/7, Xitu and Culiembro) but whom are connected by either overlapping survey data, physical connection or positive dye tracing. C3
Previous work in this area:

Give details of any previous work in this area by your own and other teams. Include references to reports and articles published on the area, and the names of any local cavers or academics with whom you have discussed the Expedition.

Xitu was explored by OUCC in 1979, 1980 and 1981, when it was bottomed to become the deepest cave explored by a British team at the time. These expeditions are documented in
the Proceedings of the club, available here: It was also revisited by OUCC in 2001, when it was explored upstream of the main
entrance. The main part of the cave was re-explored in 2011 as a totally fresh look at the cave. Though Xitu was bottomed in 1981, it was by no means fully explored. For example, on one
of the first rigging trips in 2011, a team accidentally swung into a window in a shaft which looked like the way on, and found a large continuing passage (named 'Pendulamus') within an
hour of the surface. The 1981 expedition was focussed entirely on achieving record-breaking depth, whereas there is a great deal of potential for expanding the cave sideways, possibly
connecting with other caves and deepening the system overall. Many of the aims of the 2012 expedition were taken directly from the 2011 expedition

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
All of the expedition equipment will be driven out to Spain. As in 2011, the expedition vehicle will go by ferry to Santander, rather than taking the longer drive through France.
From there it is only a short drive of about two hours to Los Lagos. Several expedition members will be named drivers on the insurance in order to allow shopping trips as required.
Previously the Gordon Foundation has lent a Land Rover for this purpose, although this was not possible in the last three years; in this situation, we will buy a vehicle for the duration of
expedition and sell it afterwards, an approach which has worked well in the past. OUCC owns a large trailer which can carry all our gear, and be left at Los Lagos car park (the nearest
roadhead to camp), pending the approval of the Parks Authorities. All of the caving gear will be carried up the mountain in rucksacks by expedition members. All other members who are
not going with the expedition vehicle will make their own way to Los Lagos using public transport. The carbon emissions of the expedition vehicle will be offset through Blue
Ventures Carbon Offset (who finance efficient stove projects in South Africa), and other members will be encouraged to do the same for their transport.

# from UK: 0 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £0

# from outside UK: 0 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £0

Travel total: £5,800 Travel p.p. from UK: £0
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £0


Total: £0 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £0 Equipment:-
Ropes and rigging: 300
Surface camp: 300
Underground camp: 700 - new stoves and sleeping bags required for new expo capacity and exploration beyond 1000m.
Dye trace: 100
Sub total: 1400

Supplies: 300
Training: 500
Sub total: 800

Food: 1000
Fuel: 200
Sub total: 1200

Prospectus: 200
OUEC Bulletin: 200
Report: 50
OUCC Proceedings: 100
Sub total: 550

Admin and misc.: 100
Contingency 10%


Total: £0 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £0
Exped Total: £9,760 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £0
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £0
Mean Exped cost per person: £279

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
Total shortfall: £9,760 Mean shortfall per person: £279

Referees and Report

Please give the names, addresses and phone numbers of two suitably qualified people whom the Committee can contact. You should ensure that they are aware of the objectives of your trip, and that you have their permission for the Committee to contact them.

Referee 1: Prof Tim Guilford
Affiliation: University of Oxford

Reason: Professor of Animal Behaviour at Merton College, Oxford

Permission obtained?: No
Referee 2: Mr Tony Seddon

Reason: 0

Permission obtained?: No

Expedition report author: Stephanie Dwyer