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The altitude campThe Anialarra is a savage limestone plateau, situated at the French/Spanish border in the  Pyrenees, and is part of the world famous  Pierre-St-Martin area.  In this area, over 500 kilometers of caves is known. Four of them are deeper than a 1000 meters!  The potential remains very big: -1700 m deep caves are possible!

The expedition will take place in August ( 4th of  Aug to 1st of Sept).  We will be staying at  Camping Ibarra in Ste Engrace, and of course an high-altitude camp will be made (capacity: 6 persons) at our regular spot, at an altitude of  2100 m, "in the middle of nowhere".  

As always, the expedition is organized by SC Avalon, but cavers of several clubs and countries will participate.  Actually there are cavers of  SC Avalon, Technico, Speleo NL, and of the French federation.

The program is - again- rather ambitious and overloaded.  This means also, that we are still looking for some cavers that would like to re-enforce the team!


  • Last year we found, near the end of the Anialarra System, at a depth of -648m, a 400 m long new part that might very well be the key to the discovery of those miles of virgin and big river passges that must exist behind the terminus of the cave.   Of course, this will be our main objective.
  • Since two years we are busy re-surveying the whole cave.  We have made quite some progress, and this expedition we will focus on the upstream part of the cave.
  • We are thinking of using the AN51 as our entrance to the cave this time; a 400 m deep series of pitches that has never been surveyed.
  • Last year we discovered several interesting other caves. In some of them, new passages or pitches can be seen that take only a couple of hours of work to get in. Of course we will push these caves further on.
  • We will continue our systematic prospection of the plateau.  A two-person team gets a 100x100m area and has to explore this in detail: going down every pitch and dressing up a complete inventory.   And, hopefully, this will lead to the discovery of yet another big cave.  This is the real adventure  (by the way: there are at least 400 of those squares to be searched).
  • If time allows us, we will make a trough-trip of the Pierre-St-Martin (Tête Sauvage-Verna), just for fun.

...A LOT TO DO...


Putting the first bolt in a virgin pitchAs said, in August 2001.  But, one week is really the minimum, two weeks ore more are even better.  We have to ask for the necessarry permits before the end of April, so if you want to join us, please hurry!


You do need experience in vertical caves!  Rigging techniques are not a real necessity, but you must have a good knowledge of all vertical progression techniques (SRT).

Family and kids are welcome as well, that's why we have the base camp in the valley at a comfortable campsite. It is a nice and beatiful area, with some tourist attractions ( Gorges de Kakouetta, Holcarté) and a lot of possibilities for hikers (Gorges de Ehujarré).  Several pittoresque Bask villages are to be admired.


You need a complete personal SRT-equipment.  Carbid lighting.  If possible, a  "pontonnière" (only for those going to -650m).  No neoprene suit! 
All other material (ropes, karabiners, rigging gear, battery drills, cave radio's, digging gear, tents, sleeping bags and food for the surface camps and in the cave, carbid, etc...) is being provided by SC Avalon!  A small participation in the costs is asked for all of this.


Non-Avalon members pay 500 BF (12,5 EURO) per week.  Avalonmembers 250 BF (6 EURO) per week.


Contacteer/contact us:  SC Avalon vzw
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