Rubicera to Mortero De Astrana
Friday, 30 May 2014

Id wanted to do this classic traverse for a few years, and Julia had promised to take me while back, so it was a nice bonus to be able to fit it in on the back end of the Gandara Traverse. This trip is just one of many possible excellent through trips in the area, and one of a few in this particular system.. Everyone (except Fleur, Pete and Andy who had set off early to undertaking their Gandara Traverse) was up for it so the cast of thousands set off to the head of the Ason. This trip includes what is possibly the longest ever drive for a shuttle in relation to how far apart the entrances are, but there are no paths between the two (above the surface anyhow) so a car shuttle is the easiest option.

Beardy, Mark and I set off to drop the cars off, whilst Becka led everyone else in warm-up Yoga. The walk in is very spectacular and involves climbing down a couple of terraces from the top of the cliffs on the East side of the Gorge, overlooking the spectacular waterfall at the head of the gorge. The entrance is a huge phreas in the side of the gorge which is a great setting. Note the entrance is not visible from the road below, and the route down (more specifically the point at which to start climbing down) is not the most obvious. Luckily Julia had done the trip numerous times so there were no problems with route finding for us.

The trip is really varied and involves lots of fun and interesting passage without anything overly technical or strenuous. Rubicera starts as a very large boulder floored passage and continues for a while before the way on drops through a not-so-obvious slot down through the boulders. Apparently it is easy to go wrong here as Beardy etc could not find the way on for a while the last time they had been here. But with Julia leading we passed this quickly without incident. The next section is fairly complicated and leads to Pozo del Chocolate, the largest pitch of this traverse. The route then gets exciting, entering a large streamway which is followed via various obstacles and short pitches to end abruptly at an 80m shaft that the water plummets down. The way on is via an airy traverse above this noisy pit to gain a fossil passage in the roof at the other side of the shaft.

A few more small pitches up and down and the way on eventually drops into another large streamway. Following this downstream quickly leads to the top of a massive 180m pitch, but the way on is upstream. A fairly long and entertaining section of strenuous traversing on in-situ lines passes above the stream where it flows through deep pools and sections of cascade. The stream is followed up past a major inlet (where another through trip from Cuivo comes in) and eventually pops you out in the bottom of the massive incredibly impressive surface feature of the Mortero De Astrana. A choice of pitches above a mountain of goat poo were hard-rigged up this daylight pitch in the bottom of the huge vertically/overhanging sided shakehole/collapse feature that is the Mortero. Lots of fun had by everyone, with the best bit of the trip being the streamway at the end (unfortunately Becka and Mark partially ruined this section of the trip for themselves by being TOO KEEN and having already done this bit a few days previously instead of having a rest day).

Thoroughly recommended as a not-too-difficult but still fairly meaty traverse ‘ perhaps one for those who dont like lots of pitches?

Images
Walk in to Rubicera
Posted by: Noel Snape
Size: 122kb
Width: 600 pixels
Height: 450 pixels
Posted: 18 July 2014
Entrance to Rubicera
Posted by: Noel Snape
Size: 119kb
Width: 600 pixels
Height: 450 pixels
Posted: 18 July 2014
Mortero De Astrana
Posted by: Noel Snape
Size: 119kb
Width: 450 pixels
Height: 600 pixels
Posted: 18 July 2014