0408: Helechales, Cueva de los
S Vega 30T 451275 4794802 (Datum: ETRS89. Accuracy code: G) Altitude 460m
Length 600m (including site 1679) Depth 148m
Area position

Updated 6th May, 9th June, 15th October 2001; 17th April 2002; 21st December 2008; 6th January 2011; 29th November 2016; 30th June 2018

   The entrance lies at the base of a small shakehole with a smaller entrance ten metres to the west. On a shelf, just inside the entrance, a large, fragmented Bronze Age pot (with carbon on the internal faces) was found at Easter 2001. This has now been re-assembled and is with the Museo Regional de Prehistoria y Arquelogía. A drawing from Ruiz Cobo Jesús et al, 2008, p146 appears here. There appears to be more pottery at the lower end of the entrance chamber and more has been found on the floor below the initial find.
   The cave can be split into the Old Series, described first and the 2001 Series.

Old Series
   A step up to the right leads to the head of the first pitch where the ladder can be belayed from stal on a ledge down to the left. An 8m climb over calcite lands in a calcited rift. To the right the rift closes in while to the left, a further 3m drop to the floor reaches the head of the second pitch. Straight ahead, a shallow but greasy slope passes below roof meanders to enter a chamber with formations. Down to the left, a crawl (with pitch above) has not been pushed further than the 10m, 1982 limit. To the right at high level, a low passage with a floor trench rises for 15m where a run-in blocks progress; a route through at floor level drops in below the second pitch.
   The second pitch is a straight 8m drop against sharp rock into a chamber on a fine rift. Water sinks below the ladder and the low , draught-free crawl has been excavated to reveal the passage turning left with more rubble to remove.
   To the east, a black-floored passage rises to a cracked mud floor and ends at a calcited, 5m high aven. There may be a passage 3m up. A tiny meander is too small at the start of this passage and so is a climb under the north wall of the main chamber into a small chamber with a choked inlet. The western end of the rift ends at the pitch from the stal chamber above.
   The obvious roof tube over the top of the first pitch has been explored for 15m to where the passage chokes. The continuation heads out to the second entrance over bouldery holes in the floor.

2001 Series
   To the right of the first pitch head a traverse across a 10m drop (first negotiated with a scaling pole) leads to the other side of the rift and a series of traverses across a couple of pits. At the base of the last pit, the passage from site 1679 joins the system, although this is of no interest to the traversing caver above.
   A short length of walking passage ends at a 10m laddered pitch and a 16m pitch. A choked bedding was excavated at this point due to the draught and the sound of falling water. A 4m pitch then leads to an extensively excavated section at the top of the Hoedown Pitch, where an 88m drop has a ledge 30m down. Holes on the pitch side have been noted: 19m below the ledge a hole doesn't go; 27m down there is a walking-size passage; 31m down there is an eyehole that leads to a very muddy rift over the top of the meanders at the pitch base. All of these were apparently explored on 14/8/2001 and drop back to the main pitch.
   Snail Inlet over the top of the Hoedown Pitch was entered at Easter 2002. The passage has a good draught and is generally 5m square with much rubble fill. The passage splits after about 50m - the right branch ends at a 5m high aven with a possible low passage at the top; the left branch slopes up to choke with rubble.
   At the base of Hoedown Pitch, a narrow meander has been pushed for about 15m to the top of a pitch which drops 13m to a ledge. An inlet enters here that ends at a small aven after 28m - this is too small but may be bigger beyond. From the ledge, a further drop of 17m ends at a large flat area with a wet outlet which is too small and narrow, although it appears to draught. "A poor finish to a good cave". The end lies 80m above the Codisera Arm in Coterón.

Tackle list
- 20m rope and 3 hangers (studs) for crossing old series drop
- 40m traverse line and 3 hangers (left rigged with Bluewater)
- 15m rope and 2 hangers and 2 ladders (Could do with SRT rigging ?25m rope)
- 45m rope and 6 hangers
- 15m rope and 3 hangers to The Garden
- 33m rope and 2 hangers Hoedown ledge
- 78m rope and 2 hangers to base of Hoedown Pitch

References: anon., 1982 (logbook); Corrin J, 1983c; anon., 2001a (Easter logbook); anon., 2001b (Whit logbook); anon., 2001c (Summer logbook); anon., 2002a (Easter logbook); Corrin Juan, 2003a; Corrin Juan, 2003b (survey); Ruiz Cobo Jesús and Smith Peter, 2003 (photo and line drawing of pot); Ruiz Cobo Jesús et al, 2008 (survey and drawing of the pot); León García José, 2010 (survey and photo); Ruiz Cobo Jesús, 2016b
Entrance picture : yes  view across the entrance
Underground picture(s): pottery and the old series : new series
Detailed Survey : 1:500 (old)  1:1000 (2001 and 2002 extensions)
Line Survey :
On area survey :
Survex file : yes (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
download South Vega System
Passage direction rose diagram: 30/6/2018