Lago Ercina

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Site list (GPS fixes) Walks (GPS tracks)  Video clips Panoramas

Coordinates used

Electronic projects:

 Bat detector
 Lamp tests
 µ-controlled lamp
 SEPIC-based lamp
 ISP isolators
 Making SMT boards

Expedition logs:

  Spain 1973, 1974,
  1975, 1976, 1977,
  1979, 1982, 1983,
  1985, 1986, 1987,
  1988, 1989, 2000,
  2001, 2002, 2003,
  2004, 2005, 2006,
  2007, 2008, 2009,
  2010, 2011, 2012,
  2013, 2014, 2015,
  2016, 2017, 2018,
  2019, 2020, 2021,
  2022, 2023
  New England


 The Battle of
 El Mazuco

Name: Sima de Garma Ciega

Location: 3km NW of San Pedro (Ramales area)

GPS: N43°13'56" W3°34'03" (from description below, included in route GPX)

or: N43°14'02" W3°34'00"

UTM: 30 T (various sources)

454022 4786895  (close to where ‘cave’ symbol shown on current 2016 maps)

454095 4787064

453900 4787350  (possibly different pot)

Survey: (see below)

Description: Deep pothole explored by French, Spanish, and British personnel in the late 1970s; see: Garma-Ciega-descripcion.pdf.

Likely route to cave from San Pedro: Garma-Ciega-route-and-entrance.gpx (but note that road up from Astrana gets to same route and saves 200m climb).


1977 – Easter and summer expeditions

Tackle [Transcribed from the 1977 Summer log ‘Technical’ pages, after 1977.07.27.]

Tackle carried up the hill:

35m Bluewater (not in bag – for Pitch 1)

Bag 1: 92m Bluewater

Bag 2: ?m Bluewater

Bag 3: 80m Marlow 10mm

Bag 4: 35m Edelrid, 30m Marlow, 15m Marlow

3 bolting kits, thimbles, 6+ rope protectors, etc.

Second trip up hill:

Bag 5: 45m Marlow

1 tent, 1 bottle of wine

Rigging [Transcribed from the 1977 Summer log ‘Technical’ pages, after 1977.07.27.]

Pitch 1 (Entrance, 33m)

Rigged from tree at East end of general take-off area. Backup back to Polish/French? bolt.  Handline for traverse to rope advisable.

8m down to first changeover (intermediate rope protector used at −4m)

4m down to second bolt, then free hang for remaining 21m

Rigging time 1½ hours (including decision-making and bolting).

Pitch 2 (40m)

Used French fishplate on left of ledge, but replaced bolt.  Rope protector round corner, to bolt at −5m.  Then free hang for remainder

Rigging time ¾ hours.

[No detailed notes for remaining pitches – not rigged by MFC.]

Pitch 3

Rifty but plenty big enough.

Pitch 4


Pitch 5

Clean drop, lower part in water in wet weather.

[After 1977.07.29.]

Edelrid recovered from ‘dead end’ and untangled.
Climb up to Salle à Manger rigged with tailend of Bluewater, for Clogging up.

Pitch 6 (6m)

New bolt put in, rope rigged back to two old bolts, one immediately above (70cm) and other on right further upstream.  Simple pitch (Edelrid initially).

Rope carried on down to use as handline (later removed), with one v. difficult bolt put in.

Pitch 7

... at end of rope was rigged and all tackle, bolting kit, etc., left there.

[After 1977.07.30.]

Progress down beyond “point 12”: steep and at times difficult.  Much abandoned (Polish?) rope found.  Reached to near 36m pitch.

[After 1977.08.01.]

Phil/Antonio down for 20 hours; pass Salle Blanche and get near bottom (i.e., big chambers).

[After 1977.08.03.]

Pete & Mark → −750 (beyond 16 July Chamber).  Also take photos, go some distance up Cellagua, and take notes of pitches.  19 hours. Lower stretch of “entrance series” sharp and strenuous; 2 pitches, as described by French, rigged.

Expeditions to the Picos de Europa and elsewhere since 1973.
Please e-mail Mike Cowlishaw ( or Bill Collis (
if you have any corrections, suggestions, etc.   See also the SpeleoTrove speleology section ».
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This page was last edited on 2019-10-24 by mfc.