The caves of the Western Massif of the Picos de Europa, namely the Ario plateau, have yielded considerable deep caving in the heart of Europe and offer incredible promise.

The Ario caves have been continuously explored during the past 50 years. They were originally pushed by Oxford University Caving Club and in 2013 the Ario Caves Project was born to continue the work.

Xitu the iconic cave featured in Beneath the Mountains has been the focus of many expeditions and is 1135m deep. The whole Xitu-2/7-C3/C4 system is over 1540m deep with an ongoing upstream limit of exploration. The current objective is to find the physical connection between Xitu, 2/7, C4 and higher shake holes (a depth potential of over 1,800m).

Ario offers one of the worlds deeper systems in a relatively accessible location. Above ground are hundreds of metres of limestone peaks with lots of known but unexplored cave systems entrances.

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