0122: Suviejo, Cueva de (Solviejo, Cueva de) (Selviejo, Cueva de)
Secadura 30T 454763 4799901 (Datum: ETRS89. Accuracy code: G) Altitude 177m
Length 5353m Depth 111m (Includes Torca del Rayo de Sol)
Updated 19th February 1999; 3rd, 22nd February 2001; 3rd June 2002; 9th November 2003; 6th November 2004; 14th May 2006; 28th October, 17th November 2007; 4th, 14th, 16th May 2009; 2nd December 2010; 6th, 18th January 2011; 15th September 2017: 14th January, 30th June 2018
The entrance was gated at the back end of 2017, to protect the archaeological items. Access is presumably only available by applying to Cultura.
Finding the entrance, Easter 2009 The most straightforward route is from the farm 200m above the entrance. The details, with GPS track, are to be found in the 2009 Easter logbook, date 13/4/09
Rigging Easter 2009 The pull through bolts at the entrance pitch are badly sited for a number of reasons. A better ladder hang is round to the right on a short traverse, but it needs a traverse line put in for safety.
There are 2 x 8mm spits for ladder / lifeline. Next trip should take 3 x 10m ladders, 2 x 8mm hangers, 1 x 15m traverse line and lifeline for 25m pitch and then measure actual length of traverse, lifeline and ladder required.
If laddered from the SRT pull-through bolts back from the pitch head, you need 3 x 10m ladders and lifeline for the 30m pitch. The hang is bad and you are likely to damage stal just over the pitch lip.
A gentle walk down through the entrance leads after 25m to the head of a 20m pitch from a ledge on the right. The landing is in a large chamber on a slope of boulders and from this point all routes radiate. Downhill, the floor levels out and chokes with some possible climbs above.
The way to the bottom of the pot is on the right of the top of the slope, and is down through a hole with a short greasy climb to the head of the Greasy Slope Pitch. At the base of this 20m, laddered slope, the only exit leads to a lofty chamber via a couple of short climbs over boulders. The passage type then changes completely as it swings back on itself and heads towards the entrance for 150m. This rift ends at a 4m pitch and a 7m climb into the sandy Campsite Chamber.
The main route then reverses direction again and passes underneath the previous rift to a 6m rope pitch. By heading north for 100 m, the head of Pool Pitch is reached. This is an impressive, circular 20m deep pitch with water falling in from the opposite side. The small outlet passage drops down a 4m pitch and then the final 20m pitch which ends the cave at a miserable and final sump.
Chocolate Crunch Series leads off in the southerly direction from the base of the rope pitch. The phreatic half tube gradually changes to the classical keyhole shape. Turning left at a junction after some 200m leads to some low crawls, while to the right the top of a hading rift is reached which drops into Torca del Rayo de Sol via a 20m pitch.
Back at the Campsite, a short passage to the right leads to two huge avens while straight ahead is a a hading rift which ends at an aven. To the left is a large passage that divides after 100m with both branches soon choking.
At the head of the boulder slope in the entrance chamber there are three greasy calcite climbs. The right hand climb leads into Misty Passage - 200m of well decorated passage containing an 18m pitch followed by a 17m pitch into the chamber at the base of the Greasy Slope. The middle climb leads to a veranda that overlooks the same chamber, while the left hand climb leads into a completely different series.
At the top, an impressive tunnel leads to boulders which rise up to Brain
Cell Hall which contains a large, skirtable pit. A few metres
further, on the far side of the pit, is a climb down in the boulder chaos
which leads to the base of the pit and a 180m long passage that contains
three shafts which are presumably the avens seen off the Campsite.
By continuing northwest from Brain Cell Hall under a large and cracked
roof slab, and past two small grottos on the right, access is gained to
Quick Trip Passage. This is mostly walking for 400m to the head of
an 18m pitch which drops into a small stream.
Near Brain Cell Hall at Easter 2009, a couple of extensions were made. These are batches 0122-09-01 and 0122-09-02.
Batch 0122-09-01 was surveyed back to the base of the entrance pitch. This is a nicely decorated fossil passage ending at a stal choke with boulders in the roof. The drawn survey around the centre line is found here, and has been added to the updated survey dated 2017.
Batch 0122-09-02, the route starting Croissant Passage, is described as follows:
The stream appears under the left hand wall of the passage at the base of the boulder pile and hole in floor before the cracked rock bridge in Brain Cell Hall. Progress in water leads to impenetrable slots. Proceed from the pool where stream enters main passage down left hand wall to a stalled-up rift passage. Climb up stal and back out into main passage using rope as guide and safety line. The last bit of the climb is a traverse out over a drop and up a small hole into a fossil bedding plane. Continue at high level minding the stal until you can see two pools below. Climb down into the upstream pool and land at the base with seemingly no way out. Look under a flowstone boss to find continuation. Continue at stream level to the base of a cascade. Water disappears at base of pitch. Cascade has a rope hand line. (Survey station at the top on the left marked JD20). Passage continues 2 - 3m wide and 1.5m high with lots of stal in the roof. The name of the passage was "So Crawl!" (renamed to Croissant Passage) and continues for about 50m (see 1987 logbook) to a hammered stal squeeze to an aven and continuing stream. The cascade has an interesting croissant-shaped reworked stal on it. Downstream there is a false floor and a "cyclone" whirl pool with a pile of gravel in the middle.
A 15m handline for the climb down from Brain Cell Hall is required. The drawn survey for batch 0122-09-02 around the centre line is found here.
Batch 0122-17-01. Croissant Passage was pushed and surveyed for 330m during the summer 2017. A mixture of crawling and walking, the passage is well decorated and has a number of avens along its length. The end is at avens, some of which have been investigated and other deemed not worth it. There is a tiny water slot at the top of one aven. A video has been made of these explorations. See below regarding the survey.
Upstream the passage is too low but contains white cave axellids?? - Terry?. A climb leads to a calcited traverse back to the streamway. An interesting WC constriction leads to more streamway and a difficult 5m climb up a waterfall to a passage which is mainly crawling. A calcited squeeze is the only obstacle to reach a large aven, massively encrusted with moonmilk after about 300m. The streamway continues low beyond.
On the right of Quick Trip Passage it is possible to climb up to a parallel high level passage that contains some fine formations and cracked mud floors.
The cave is an archaeological site with pottery and possible schematic-abstract paintings found beyond the exposed ledge above the 20m entrance pitch (survey). The black marks are described and discussed in El Arte Esquemático-Abstracto de Matienzo y sus alrededores (Smith Peter, 1998b) and Muñoz Emilio et al, 1995. Ruiz Cobo Jesús and Muñoz Fernández Emilio et al, 2009 has a summary.
A Spanish-found discovery is a short cut to the Campsite area. Following the ramp down below the entrance pitch, a group of stal is seen on the left hand wall. A climb up the wall gains a rift just beyond the stal and a traverse meets the vertical 21m pitch at the end of the rift. A rebelay is 3m down. The landing is in passage just a stroll from the Campsite and is a much shorter and pleasanter route than the one used in 1978.
A resurvey of the cave has been started and there some apparent discrepancies
which need investigating. All of the surveyed passage is now (after Easter 2009 - 30 years later!) in the 0122.3d file. The discrepancies are still apparent. After batch 17-01 was surveyed, a composite survey has been put together of the old (Matienzo Caves) survey (faded) and batches 09-01, 09-02 and 17-01. The position of station "35" is crucial and, at September 2017, this has been visually placed in the Brain Cell Hall depression. This is probably wrong, and a better position for station 35 is required. Passages off Misty Passage (see below) are not shown.
The developing Acanto web site (by the Federación de Asociaciones para la defensa del Patrimonio Cultural y Natural de Cantabria) has a section on Arte Rupestre esquemático-abstracto.
León García José, 2010. (Cantabria Subterránea. Catálogo Grandes Cavidades.) has the length as 5023m after new passages were found and surveyed by the Asociación Deportiva Espeleo y Montaña Colindres (ADEMCO). (There are also photos on Flickr - search for "Solviejo").
The main new passages go off Misty Passage, as the survey from the above publication shows. This survey also shows the linking pitch into site 123, Torca del Rayo de Sol. The "old" length according to the Matienzo expeditions was 3543m. The new length above indicates extensions lengths totalling some 1480m.
References: anon., 1977b (logbook); anon., 1978 (logbook);
Corrin J et al, 1978 (survey and photo); anon., 1979 (logbook); Mills L D
J, 1981; Mills L D J and Waltham A C, 1981 (photo); Corrin J S and Smith
P, 1981; Manchester University Speleological Society, 1982 (survey and photo);
material in file; GEISC/R and CAEAP, 1986
(survey and photo); anon., 1987 (logbook);
Corrin J and Knights S, 1988; Munoz Fernandez E et al, 1987; Fernández
V, ?; Corrin J, 1992b (survey); Corrin J and Quin A, 1992 (survey); Corrin
J, 1993 (survey); Corrin J, 1994b (survey); Muñoz Emilio et al, 1995;
Smith Peter, 1998b (survey); García José León, 1997
(survey and photo); anon., 2006b (Easter logbook); Corrin Juan and Smith
Peter, 2007; anon., 2009a (Easter logbook); Ruiz Cobo Jesús and Muñoz Fernández Emilio et al, 2009 (survey); Corrin Juan, 2010; León García José, 2010 (survey and photos); Papard Philip, Corrin Juan and Smith Peter, 2014; anon., 2017c (summer logbook)
Entrance picture :
Underground picture(s): 1978 explorations : formations : helictites : pictures from around the entrance pitch and QTP, Easter 2009 : Blog (Dec 2013) :
Video: Through trip by Espeleo50 from YouTube : Croissant Passage, 2017 (YouTube)
Detailed Survey : from 1978: low res high res ; from 1986 entrance archaeology
from rescue site tif low res high res jpg low res high res
Hand-drawn surveys of batches 0122-09-01 and 0122-09-02 from Easter 2009
Plan from León García José, 2010. (Cantabria Subterránea. Catálogo Grandes Cavidades.)
Part composite survey, September 2017
Line Survey :
On area survey :
Survex file : yes (complete after August 2017) (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
with others close by, and Cueva Fresnedo (complete after August 2017) (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
Passage direction rose diagram: 30/6/2018