The caves of the Western Massif of the Picos de Europa, namely the Ario plateau, offer incredible promise. Pushed by Oxford University Caving Club for the past 50 years the Ario caves have yielded considerable deep caving in the heart of Europe.
The current objective is to find the physical connection between Xitu and 2/7 and higher shake holes (a depth potential of over 1,800m). In an effort to achieve this the Ario Caves Project was born.
Xitu the iconic cave featured in Beneath the Mountains has been the focus of expeditions in recent years and is 1135m deep. The whole Xitu-2/7-C3/C4 system is over 1540m deep with an ongoing upstream limit of exploration.
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.
Video about the 2013 expedition: