RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 38 Number 1 Article 1
April 2001

RRCPC Millennium Expedition to
Réseau de la Coume d'Hyouernedo
(Réseau Felix Trombe)
Cave System in the French Pyrénees

22 July to 5 August 2000

Introduction

The cave system has over 30 entrances and is about 90km in length and 1004m deep, making it the twelfth longest cave in the world, and the longest cave in France. It is located in the beautiful forested Massif d'Arbas in the French Pyréneean dèpartment of the Haute Garonne, 70km SW of Toulouse. The area is not that popular with tourists and the older forms of French agriculture are the norm.

The caving is excellent and ideal for a club trip as the caving varies from a gentle trip into the normally dry resurgence to deep SRT trips and long through trips. It has a magnificent streamway, some big pitches (140m) and the enormous Salle du Vent (300m x 25m x 45m).

It is a complex of active and fossil passages not unlike the Ease Gill system. Some of the caves which form part of the system are major caves in their own right and readers of Casteret will recognise the caves of Gouffre de la Henne Morte and the Grotte de Pène Blanque. The highest known entrance is the Grotte de la Coquille at an altitude of 1457m and the lowest, the resurgence of the Grotte du Goueil di Her, is at 486m. The potential for further exploration is considerable. The most sporting through trip is from Trou Mile to the Pène Blanque and takes about 15 hours. This needs considerable rigging in advance and contains major route finding problems. Two parties succeeded in doing this trip.

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