Hitachi Power Tools has provided its cordless power tools to a caving expedition team intent on exploring new underground systems in Spain.

A team of four cavers were tasked with finding Torca Septrin, a tortuous alpine cave high in the Picos de Europa Mountains of northern Spain. Knowing the expedition would take in some hard climbing, which required drills to fix bolts into rock walls, cave explorer Chris Jones turned to Hitachi for help.

“Using the Hitachi cordless 18V SDS Hammer Drill, we placed new bolts in the rock above the round, snow plugged chasm, and began our descent,” explained Mr Jones. “Armed with six 5.0Ah batteries between us, and after four consecutive trips into the cave, we used the drill to descend vertical shafts, finding more tight, difficult passages heading further into the mountain.”

The expedition also took in the Cueva del Nacimiento, which requires a full day to reach the end of its vast 12km length. Several caves were explored through “aid climbing” – using a drill to bolt up the wall. One major climb navigated a waterfall, while another 40m climb led to a chamber with several previously unexplored passages.

“Only with a drill are we able to safely climb upwards, placing bolts into the featureless walls as we go,” said Mr Jones. “The quality of the drill is of significant importance here, as many bolts are placed at full arm’s length. A heavy or inefficient drill is often the cause of failing to reach the top. We were getting 15 8mm diameter, 80mm deep bolts into the rock from a single Hitachi 5.0Ah battery, which in these cold conditions is excellent, and the low weight meant we could climb for a long time without getting tired.”

Mr Jones concluded: “The Hitachi drill performed brilliantly in arduous and cold (2° to 4oC) conditions, never letting us down and enabling us to push the boundaries of our knowledge in one of the last frontiers on the Earth.”