Cueva del Precipico
In Canyon Bustamante, Bustamante, NL, Mexico
by Gill Ediger
The entrance to the cave is located high on the canyon wall. Access to the
entrance is along a largely unmarked and uncertain route up a boulder floored
arroyo, a long ridge of sharp karst, a veritable forest of lechuguilla, a short
but rather sporting cliff, a hike along an animal trail with a beautiful view of
all of that part of Mexico, a butt slide down some fearful looking scree and
thorns in an arroyo that plunges off into the canyon several hundred meters
above the floor, and a short traverse along a narrow ledge high up on the wall.
It is a fun trip!
But taxing and of from 2 to 4 hours duration.
Coming down in the dark is only slightly worse, so try for the day time if you
can. That generally means the next day.
Most groups plan to sleep in the cave a few hours, both to rest and to wait till
daylight. You will need a sleeping bag and ground sheet, at least, if you plan
Between October and March you will need to carry a gallon of water--or
more--other times take 2 gallons.
Two gallons weigh 16 pounds! Tank up well the night and morning before you begin
your hike. Your urine should be almost crystal clear when you begin your
trip--it'll be almost orange when you return. Budget your water carefully! Make
sure you still have half of it left halfway through the trip! Drink the last of
it halfway down the mountain.
You will need to carry enough food for a 24 hour trip--think light weight, full
of energy, no water needed to make it edible, food. Hot food and drink is a good
thing to have. You may want to split up the toting chores, one caver carries the
stove, another the fuel, and a third the pot to cook it in. Take a spoon and
plenty of jalapeos.
You should be sure that your mental and physical condition are prepared for an
extended, strenuous, and sometimes difficult trip of 24 or more hours. Many
others have done it, so it isn't anything to be afraid of, but you should be
prepared for it. If at any point on the climb you feel that you are going beyond
your ability, you should consider going back to camp. If you break down, others
may have to help you and carry your gear under conditions which are already
trying for them. Try not to let that happen. Normally healthy and physically
active cavers can make the trip with some sweat and effort and determination and
without the need of fear or worry.
You will need to carry vertical gear for a 50 meter and a 10 meter rappel and
climb, both well within the cave. Make sure someone else takes the ropes.
If you want to take pictures you should take your camera, at least.
You should carry sufficient cold and foul weather gear to survive wet and
freezing weather if that is in the forecast. Very cold Northerns move into the
area in February. If sleet or snow is forecast, do not go up the mountain, it's
slick enough already.
You should be prepared to endure minor cuts and scrapes and cactus pricks
without the need to go into full medical emergency mode. You will bleed at some
point on the trip, perhaps at several points. Put up with it.
Start with sturdy boots in good condition. Some rocks are razor sharp on the
climb, both up and down.
Do not fall! Make up your mind now and stick with it.
To find out if it is a cave worth the effort, you must see it for yourself.
Have a good time.