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After 3 weeks in the Pierre-St-Martin area, more precisely the "Sierra de Anialarra" (Spanish side), the 5th "Anialarra Interclub" presents the following results:

1) This time we used another entrance, the AN51 (Pozo de los Dos Acuarios), a cave that has, after it's discovery in 1986, probably never been visited again. Rigging the cave, re-bolting it entirely (at least 30 bolts added), surveying it entirely and partially derigging took about 5 to 6 days of work.  It is a very nice, vertical cave.  At the base of the final pitch one is at -387m, and in the heart of the Anialarra System! The camp, with the giant lapiaz in the background

2) This cave provided an "easy" access to the upstream parts of the cave system.   We had to do some work in the very narrow junction at -420 (where upstream and downstream parts of the cave connect) , in order to make it wide enough for everyone.

Then, we did  2 raids with underground camping, to the bottom of the system at -648m; one raid of 3 days (Paul & Fritz) and one of 2 days (Mario & Tom). Unfortunately, despite a lot of long and difficult digging work near the end of the cave, we could not bypass the boulder-choke that blocks the caveystem at -648m.   So we decided to uninstall the underground camp again...

3) Galerie du Gypse: horizontal cristallisations (because of the strong airdraw)Surveying and exploration of the upstream parts (in between -450 and -350m) : 6 days of work.  In total, AN51 included, 2000 m was surveyed, of which 560 m "première" (new). +/- 150 m première hasn't been surveyed yet. An important upstream branch has been discovered, going in NE-direction.  We explored it over 350m of length; big gallery (5 by 5m) ending in a big room, where several galleries have remained unexplored, because of a lack of time.  (NB: the total length of the "Système d'Anialarra" is now 11 km, the depth remains  -648m.  Already 8,3 km have been resurveyed.

4) Dye-test at -75m in Gouffre de Caou-Couges (FR3). Fluoresceine-tracers have been put in all important tributary rivers of the Anialarra System (between -400 and -500m).  The FR3 gives access to an important underground river, which unfortunately cannot be followed downstream (too low).  Th destination of the water was unknown.  Thanks to our topographical work, which has repositioned both the FR3 and the Anialarra river considerably, it became clear that the FR3 had to be a tributary-river of the Anialarra.   Our dye-test has now confirmed this.  At -480m, one of the rivers of the Anialarra coloured green.  This river appears from under a boulder choke and cannot be followed.  

5) Working in the very narrow meander of the AN607 to 8 days of hard digging work in AN60 (-95m) in a meander with ice-cold and powerful airflow, at a depth of only -40m. We have worked in the meander over 20 meters now, and we are approaching a very big pitch.  We cannot see it yet, but the echo is well over 10 seconds.

This cave is well positioned above the Anialarra System, not far from the l'AN3-Pozo Estella, at an altitude of 2150m. At least 450m of limestone separates the entrance and the Big Canyon of the Anialarra System.  The exploration of this (possible) 5th entrance will surely be very exciting.  Wait and see in 2002!

6) Because of a lack of time, only  4 days of surface prospection: 3 in the upstream zone, 1 in the downstream zone.

7) 3 days of digging in a blowhole  (AN701) which is perfectly well positioned above the end of the Anialarra System.  We hope, one day, to find an access here that will arrive AFTER the final  boulder choke of the the cave system!

8) And in between all the work, three of us quickly made a Pierre-St-Martin (SC3-Verna) traverse in only 13 hours.  Many thanks to the British club that allowed to use their ropes in the SC3!

9)The pleasure of surveying! Worth mentioning: thanks to two full automatic surface VHF radio-relays, and the two caveradio's, we could made a perfect radio link between the underground camp at -600m,  the St-Engrace Camping(15 km further) and the surface camp near the entrance of the cave.  Thanks Herman & Erwin!

10) And last but not least: the numerous and inevitable walks to the surface camp, most of the time heavily loaded...


Belgium - SC Avalon (organisation): Rudi Bollaert, Paul De Bie, Filip Declerq, Herman Jorens, Annemie Lambert, Mario Lebbe, Wilfried Speelmans, Annette Van Houtte, Michaela Vandecasteele

Belgium - SC 33: Oswald Pauwels

Belgium - Technico: Tom Van Rooy, Ulrik Potters

Belgium - Styx: Lieven Demeyere

Holland - Speleo NL: Tjerk Dalhuyzen, Erwin Lokhorst, Monique Vollenga

Spain-Catalunya - Fritz Kunzel

France - Tritons: Benj Richard

Contacteer/contact us:  SC Avalon vzw
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