Updated 13 February 1998; 19th February 1999; 8th January 2000; 26th October 2001; 10th October 2005; 28th October 2007; 6th, 19th May, 2nd November 2009; 6th January, 11th October 2011; 26th September 2012; 8th September 2013; 19th September 2014; 23rd February, 29th September 2017; 1st July, 23rd September 2018
(Note depth of main pitch should be 62m and not 70m. All figures at present include the pitch depth at 70m). The length includes Mostajo, Cubio and Morenuca).
One of the entrances into the Cubija System (North Vega System). In 1993, El Cubio de Cubija (243) was linked with Regaton to make a new entrance series requiring little tackle. See the description of El Cubio for this entrance. In 1994, Regaton was linked with Torca del Mostajo (071) via the Italian Pitch in the latter cave; at Easter 96 Cueva de la Morenuca (0774) was linked into the system.
The original entrance to Torca Regaton is located down off the track, about 10m up from a dry stream bed.
A fairly tight 8m entrance pitch opens out at the bottom and lands on a rubble slope down and short climb down a rift to the loose head of a 12m pitch. In a 3m wide chamber, a climb down at the base using a handline ends at an excavated hole which is the top of the third pitch. Three metres down the loose material is left behind and a further 5m down lands on a choked floor. A 3m climb up and then down ends at the head of an 6m pitch which is also loose at the top with a poor belay. A strongly draughting and tight rift leads to head of the main 62m pitch which requires a number of rebelays and deviations to avoid the loose walls.
At the base, a number of routes exist between avens, the main pitch and the way on. To the left a stoop gains a small chamber with a pool in the floor and climb up the opposite wall leads to a split, the left entering another small chamber with considerable climbs up to a large aven with a huge hole in the floor which is the main pitch. By sticking to the left hand wall of the aven it is possible to climb down onto a rubble slope to a black limestone tube which drops straight down into another chamber which is connected to the main way on. The right hand route at the split involves a further climb up a sharp spiky arete to which it is again possible to see the last rebelay on the main pitch. By sticking to the left down through boulders a climb down is met with water entering from above which again joins with the main passage into the cave.
The pool at the bottom of the main pitch leads into a sandy chamber which appears to have a slight draught. The water here was lowered sufficiently in 1993 to duck through to a crawl and then walking-sized passage with good formations, ending in an aven with a possible climb in the roof above an inlet. Sixty metres back from this aven, on the north side of the passage, is an inlet which is 45m of flat out crawling to a very small sump pool.
In the summer of 1994, passages near the 70m pitch were entered. The route leads quickly to an enlarged duck beyond which is a climb up a small aven. This enters a tube to a junction: the left branch leads to a sloping passage with a draughting drop of about 3m but closes down after 50m; the right hand branch leads to a choke with two ways on. Straight ahead enters a large aven with a strong draught and a small passage on the left leading back to the old cave (the original climb seen in 1993). The right hand route beyond the boulder collapse leads quickly to easy walking with a slope up into a large aven, which can also be seen from a nearby window. Station 930 is on top of large boulder and marks the route in from above through Torca del Mostajo.
The main way on from the base of the main pitch is obvious and is a short crawl beneath collapsed blocks to walking, stooping and a short climb over a block to a rift and The Resistor, which is a water-filled cross joint. Stepping over the water a calcite slope is gained and a small crawl is enterable in dry conditions. This leads to the GT Series which was explored during the summer of 1995. Beyond the " sump" a complex area of rifts gives access to two independent passages. Keeping to the right two climbs up lead to a small chamber containing an aven. From here a rift passage continues for about 200m until it finally ends at a draughting choke containing bat droppings. En route there are a number of climbs up, some of which are still unpushed.
Back at the initial start of the series, a meandering rift passage may be entered by keeping left after the first climb. Near here a small unsurveyed passage heads back to join the main cave before the Resistor. Where the rift enters an area of large boulders after 50m, a climb up on the right hand side over blocks leads to an initially impressive passage. This closes down after only 50m at a nice mud floor with the way on appearing to be a high level inlet entering from soft flowstone. A maypole would be the best option for attacking this.
Continuing further along the meandering rift a junction is met with a 35m high aven straight ahead. Climbing up into a narrow rift on the right gains access to a small inlet that continues for 120m. Along the inlet there is evidence of under-cutting with the stream taking alternative routes via short, small sumps and oxbows. Although there are several unpushed climbs at high level, the best possibility for more passage is up a calcite slope at the end after an exposed 3m climb on blocks. A small chamber with a draughty mud dig and a visible passage at the top of an aven is located here.
At The Resistor, a short squeeze over the water to the north pops out into 5 - 6m wide, walking passage. After a short walk between sandbanks, an unpushed, calcited inlet is seen on the right. There are two more inlets further down on the left: the first leads after 20m to an unpushed choke; the second is unpushed. A walk over brittle flowstone ledges meets a junction where Skye Passage enters on the left.
Downstream is large passage with pools, oxbows and a number of climbs over boulders. The Toilet Pan with its gurgling noises is in a fairly confusing area where the water is continually sinking and rising. The water is lost in a tight passage but the route continues between sandbanks to the Powerhouse Junction.
The obvious route to the left squeezes between two boulders and meets water rising and sinking. A muddy area with solution hollows leads to a chamber where the water is seen sinking into a small hole. To the west a rift passage becomes too tight at a mud choke.
A sandy ramp up at the Powerhouse Junction immediately enters a 2 - 3m high, 5m wide passage. The sandy floored passage steadily increases in size until, some 80m from the junction, there is a route over or under a large flake with mud and evidence of water levels, Beyond, the passage enlarges and on a slope up there is a narrow route on the left named 50m Error Passage. This is an unpleasant alternative to the further reaches of the cave with mud and pools for some 400m to a junction. It links via an unstable slope, to the base of the southwestern pit in the large aven. Straight ahead at the junction becomes too narrow which another route leads to more narrow rifts and a further climb into the large aven. This alternative passage needs resurveying.
The main way turns right and left with pools and mud banks and then dramatically alters its character, changing to a narrow rift with black, highly eroded limestone walls, which doesn't look too promising at first sight. A climb over a pool with an unpushed aven to the right is followed by a 2m climb down to an enlargement, leaving the black rock behind.
One hundred metres of wandering down a sandy passage leads to a ramp and incised trench down to a 20m passage. This is large but quite hard going as the route is strewn with car-sized boulders. After 100m, a junction is met at a couple of pits with a narrow passage heading northwest which ends in an area of boulders and pits in the floor. A climb up enters a huge, boulder- floored aven with a number of water inlets, including calcite flows. In the northwest and southeast corners of the chamber there are undescended pits. Back in the passage which enters the aven, a route squeezing through boulders leads to the base of another, narrower aven with a climb down into a narrow, unpushed rift which is very tight and muddy and appears to sump in wet weather.
Back in the main passage, the route continues large to Alcove Junction with a narrow rift on the left which chokes after 70m. The main route continues enlarging with bigger boulders in the floor but then suddenly decreases in width to 4m and 15m further on leads to Spike Hall.
Spike Hall is probably the most impressive part of the cave being 50m long and about 30m wide. The chamber is boulder floored with a couple of unexplored inlets high up. In the eastern side of the chamber, and 8m lower than the route through, is a large, blue pool which appears to be a sump. A small inlet near the sump is tight and muddy.
Spike Hall is left at its southern end through The Stoop, a narrow rift with a trench cut in a mud floor. This enters a large passage with mud banks and a couple of side passages. The passage lowers to an inclined muddy and collapsed bedding which is choked straight on. A very wide and low bedding is the route through for some 30m to where it is possible to stand up in 6m square passage. A 2m wide rock wall blocks progress and requires a 3m climb up and jump down on the other side. The large passage continues, with possible unclimbed routes on the walls, to a wide, mud-floored chamber where the passage style again suddenly changes.
Peaky Passage is formed in black, highly eroded limestone with plenty of eyeholes and oxbows, with the stream somewhere in the floor in a narrow trench. The draughting passage continues to a 4m pitch down to a slope of boulders and a chamber with a large sump which appears to flow around the southern wall of the chamber. The draught whistles between boulders but no route has yet been discovered despite using string as an aid!
Back at the top of the 4m ladder, the passage continues to the right to another choke which, although it has no draught, is probably something to do with the main one.
Skye Passage splits almost immediately with the way off to the southeast being mud ramps which are difficult to climb up and remain unsurveyed. A small stream enters and there is another small unexplored passage.
The main route into Skye Passage crosses a deep pool which can be bypassed by a climb to an oxbow on the right. A rift passage starts with pools in the floor which is best negotiated by staying as high in it as possible. The route brings you back down to floor level shortly after passing an unpushed tube in the roof. A sharp right hand bend enters a chamber with an arrowed climb up to the left. This enters tight passage which heads over the top of Skye Passage and then veers south again to end in chambers with a high aven and possible holes in the roof.
Back down in Skye Passage a canal is met which is bypassed by a climb up the left hand wall. There are a number of unpushed leads in this area, including the canal continuation. The main route continues to Breakdown Chamber with Orbitolina beds. A crawl down enters a muddy section which would be completely submerged in wet weather. A tight inlet to the south remains unpushed. A flatout muddy crawl leads to a pool with sloppy mud floor and a continuation through a wide, low bedding to where the cave appears to end in boulders.
By looking upwards a route through is seen to a large chamber, similar to the Powerhouse Area. When entering the chamber a large draught is met head-on, moving from west to east. The eastern end of the chamber has not been fully pushed. The southern side has a view down to a cobbled streamway which is where the draught appears to go. The upstream, eastern passage was pushed into in 1993 and is the route to Lassie's Last Stand and the Cubio entrance, described later.
A climb down to the west enters a 5m high, sandy passage with pools and an oxbow to the right and 20m further on, a junction is met. To the south, the minor Aven Inlet was surveyed in 1994 with about 100m of passage including a maze area and 40m high avens. The main way continues to the north and meets the oxbow on the right. The passage swings to the west and shortly afterwards there is a mud climb up to the left which enters a small grotto with an aven which has not been properly looked at. The route enlarges to a 15m wide chamber with stal in one area and large sandbanks with a cobbled streamway. Thirty metres beyond is a sandbank on the right with a 10m high aven which requires bolting to a possible passage above.
The streamway continues down as the Woodhouse Way in a perfect phreatic tube with a clean washed floor and, in places, a small trench. The passage enlarges with sand banks and occasional boulders start appearing. Just beyond a large flake in the floor, a outlet on the southern side has been pushed.
Pillock Passage, a narrow, washed, black limestone passage has a tight section and a one ladder pitch. this is followed by a section of tight passage with a small contortion leading to a larger area covered with mud with no exit. A very narrow, clean washed, black limestone rift leads off near the end of the passage. There is a similar draught to the downstream boulder choke area. The passage appears to act as a flood outlet to the Woodhouse Way and the base is 23m below the main passage level at an altitude of 166m (true).
The Woodhouse Way continues with the draught roaring west to east and the river flowing ahead. About 70m beyond the inlet, boulders start to meet the roof at BOS Choke.
An obvious route through the choke on the left leads to a 2m climb up through some barely perched boulders followed a climb down to the right through some equally bad boulders. A large passage can be followed to the left to a large opening. Walking up a slope enters a 30m long, 15m wide by 20m high chamber with some nice roof stal. Up on the left side of the chamber a slope leads to large perched boulders which may have a route upwards.
The most obvious route onwards is opposite the point of entry to the chamber and is a high, sharp and heavily eroded rift. this continues for 250m, up and down climbs and under low arches, still heading into a massive draught. A 15m high chamber has holes in the floor and roof. the floor of boulders also has mud chimneys.
A 4m pitch down (a free climb?) enters a passage with a few bouldery climbs into another chamber with a large sandy slope coming from left to right. The left route leads to Frog Passage described later.
To the right, a sandy climb leads to a low section into an easy walking, crawling, stooping passage. this ends at a right hand turn with a large draught coming through a 2m diameter eyehole, named the Surprise View.
At Surprise View a mud traverse was made into a parallel shaft with three outlets: a pitch down choked; a further traverse and climb down entered a chamber with a small hole in the floor and no way on; a climb up entered a sloping climb into an aven with a small inlet passage which became too small.
The hole in the floor below Surprise View is a 27m pitch which winds down past various tight sections to enter a large passage. Above the sump part way down, a passage to the left needs a rope to climb down to where water can be heard.
At the "base" of the pitch, two routes lead off. A draughting crawl leads to a muddy climb after a few metres. This enters a mud and pebble dig which immediately drops into a streamway. To the left a short section of passage ends at a static sump with an active one just before. A squeeze through boulders on the right enters a chamber containing another sump and a climb up into a tight, draughting rift.
The other exit from the base of the muddy pitch is a squeeze onto an ascending slope to a clean washed black rift with water in the bottom. Various tubes lead off and there appears to be a deep sump at one end. Two tubes on the left interconnect with each other after many twists and turns. The bottom of this maze has a sump through which running water can be heard again, but not seen (as common with rest of the area).
A large passage with blocks above the rift was entered and this continues over several climbs until it eventually closes down in a muddy aven with a slightly draughting choke above. Part way along this passage a clean washed tube may be entered at floor level and after several metres the sound of running water may be heard beyond a section of low airspace.
The Surprise View series reaches a depth of 150m (true) below the entrance of Torca del Regaton. The altitude of 153m - exactly the same as La Cuevona (248), the resurgence for Cueva del Agua (059) - suggests that either a water table of some description has been reached; that the water may drain to the north where the altitude of the water around Rocky Horror in Cueva Hoyuca (107) is about 120m; or the water must drain to the west or northwest, although Cueva de Porquería (915) in Cobadal has an altitude of 200m. The water in the resurgence at Fuente Aguanaz (713) lies at approximately 50m altitude.
The entry to Frog Passage lies some 70m back from Surprise View and is a small gap which leads to a black, clean washed passage of small proportions. this quickly changes to a bouldery passage some 4m high and wide. this drops onto a sand and pebble floor and continues in great fashion for a couple of hundred metres until a lowish section is reached. A T junction is reached with water and low airspace on the left hand side but the streamway continuing on the right. This can be walked upstream for about 100m until a very deep wade through a blue pool is encountered.
On the other side of the blue pool arch, the passage very quickly develops into a 3m wide canal. the passage continues in similar vein with a few ducks (which would very easily sump) and small rock bridges. An inlet on the right at Aquatic Junt is a small wet passage with run-ins of small boulders which is still going very small.
Pot Fish Passage continues as the deep main canal, and a junction on the left, with a very strong draught, leads quickly to a boulder choke. A smoke bomb lit here had smoke quickly disappearing in boulders. To the south a narrow inlet passage meets a choke, with. the draught heading away. To the east, about 60m of small passage becomes too tight.
Pot Fish Passage continues wet and then develops into a nice walking sized streamway with formations to yet another boulder choke which requires pushing.
Just after the deep pool a 40m sticky mud ramp leads up, decorated with helictites and fine formations.
One hundred and fifty metres after BOS Choke, Skipping Rope Passage can be entered on the western wall at the top of a climb.
After about 100m of muddy crawls and chambers, a draughting calcited bouldery area is reached which should dig.
The entry to the passage to El Cubio and Lassie's Last Stand is a short to a larger passage. the streamway continues upstream, past several side passages and high avens, to a wet crawl and excavated duck. beyond the stream passage leads to the base of a 6m pitch with a rift passage visible at the top. Opposite this is a sandy ramp which soars up into blackness and another climb which leads to a further passage and a maze.
At the sandy ramp, near the 6m pitch, a route can be followed at a lower level to a well decorated grotto with nice stal to a low draughting arch. This was dug out to gain an area of low immature streamway after about 70m.
The 6m climb up was bolted to reach the top. the streamway continues for about 50m in reasonably wide, sharp, meandering rift and then pops out into a 15m diameter chamber, 20m high. The route continues up a couple of climbs and into another large chamber. On the right, on a sandy patch at stream level is a perfectly preserved skeleton of a dog. About 30m upstream a choke is met.
The very top of the ramp, beyond the climb, seems to be a passage in its own right running parallel to the ramp. The "up" passage ends at a draughting choke. Back down the choke however a step into a phreatic passage leads to a complex of tubes, some ending in drops above the top end of the ramp. The main way on ends at a low side passage that enters further back along the ramp top near the climb into the passage. Opposite this a phreatic rift heads off the ramp approximately south and gradually ascends past several side passages until a short climb is reached. The passage at this point looks very old with much gypsum sand. the cave changes character above the climb to a sandy solution tube that eventually hits a rift passage with stal. This was followed to a narrow ascending rift, with a slight draught. this rift was pushed until it seemed to be changing character again - still going on and up and enlarging.
In 1994 it was found to end at a calcite choke requiring a scaling pole. Further back, a left hand turning over a big drop / traverse leads to a 40m+ aven through 50m of passage. At the base of the rift a large chamber was explored under the traverse where the passage meet. This was not descended.
The passage from El Cubio de Cubija (243) drops into
Regaton near / on the ramp and is described under that cave.
In 2005, a major effort was made to push the cave towards the Sumidero de Cobadal as it is thought that the system may act as a feeder, possibly down the Wessex Inlet. This resulted in 747m of new passage in Regaton, but no link with Cobadal although one passage was left with possibilities. The account of the 2005 explorations which follows needs tying in with the descriptions above. The survey drawings from 2005 (based on survex files 0892-2005-nn where nn is 01 to 05) need adding to the main survey which requires redrawing from the Acorn version in Corel Draw or Therion
Notes on Regaton from Patrick Warren (3 trips, August 2005) with additions from the log book
Climbs just before Powerhouse junction, on both sides, were explored to conclusions.
A side passage off to the SE (?) on the R-hand side going in, some ~ 100m beyond the 50m error passage, and just past a hands-and-knees crawl, was explored and surveyed by the other team.(This sets off at 30T 0450154 4797316 z=182m to an excavated, draughting squeeze which enters varied going, generally upstream to a calcite blockage with a squeeze into a continuation. Some walking but mainly muddy crawling eventually ends at a diggable choke at 30T 0450356 4797316 z=198m, some 50m below Mostajo. A few very small inlets seen with trickles of water and there are some nice helictites in the roof after the calcite squeeze).
Holes in the floor of 50m Error Passage towards the large (un-named) chamber lead into a bit of a tube maze, explored to conclusions apart from one remaining lead which is a 7 inch squeeze to a continuation which is not much bigger (the air is fresh but there is no noticeable draft).
In the large chamber off end of 50m Error Passage, the ~ 9m deep pit at E side was descended and found to open out over known passage (the steep slope down into 50m error passage itself). The ~ 10m deep pit on W side was descended to a tiny stream which was followed for ~ 10m under floor of chamber before the way on becomes impassable. In S wall of chamber, about 10m up, a possible passage is visible, heading in the direction of the avens in the rift passage immediately to S. Could be reached via a delicate 6m climb over a rather shattered wall (might be useful to place a couple of bolts for protection).
Below the large chamber, the surveyed continuation of the 50m Error Passage was followed for about 200m to re-enter the main passage at Spike Hall. There are no remaining open leads off this passage.
In main Powerhouse passage, at Alcove junction, the side passage initially leading N was followed to a boulder blockage maybe 20-30m beyond the end of the survey. Beyond is maybe 100-150m more passage, heading WSW and enterable by a small person (!), or by a larger person with a hammer and chisel. There was a steady though not large draft in towards Regaton (hot weather, august 2005). This passage is a phreatic development that appears to be a bit different to the 50m error passage series, being higher up and appearing less highly eroded (this may be the quality of the limestone).
Back at Alcove junction, an large aven appears to enter through roof immediately S of the side passage (would be a big bolting project to gain access).
Half way along crawl in main passage beyond Spike Hall, an inclined 2m by 1m immature canyon leads S and upwards, for 20-30m, to end in a small circular chamber with an impassable inlet. This canyon appears to have followed a single bed limestone and is the only clearly vadose development in this section of the cave. The route to the main choke leads through a highly dissected section with several interconnecting smaller loop passages below the level of the main passage. The main choke is entered by heading N below the 4m rope climb, and was found to be highly complex. It is still possible a way could be found through this choke, but a very systematic search would be required.
In summary, all leads in Regaton N of junction between Powerhouse passage / Skye passage were pushed by various teams. Remaining possibilities to my mind are (i) the drafting phreatic passage off Alcove junction, (ii) the main boulder choke at the end, (iii) the possible passage 10m up wall of large chamber at end of 50m error passage.
The whole development at the -100m level (below the entrance to Regaton) appears to be phreatic with insignificant vadose passages. The current water table itself is maybe 5-10m below this level, as evidenced by the significant mud deposits (eg in lowest part of the tube maze below the main line of the 50m error passage in the vicinity of the large chamber), and the sumps encountered in Spike Hall and the main choke (these may be opposite ends of the same passage). The water level (very dry conditions, August 2005), was 2-3m below the final survey stations in the end of the continuation to the 50m error passage, at the point of entry into Spike Hall.
According to Quin (BU pp59-62), in his magnetic susceptibility studies, sediments from Regaton show little similarity to sediments from Torca del Mostajo (071), indicating that the sites have not had a common morphogenic agent. It needs explaining why the caves are linked.
Samples of stalagmite were removed from the cave for dating in 1993. According to Openshaw (reference DK), the stals were of little use for studies of palaeosecular variation.
Reference: anon., 1992a (Easter logbook); anon., 1992b (logbook);
material in file; Corrin J and Quin A, 1992 (survey and photo); Corrin J,
1993 (survey); anon., 1993b (logbook); Neill Alasdair and Jackson Keith,
1993; Quin A, 1993b (survey and photo); Openshaw S et al, 1993; Corrin J,
1994a (survey); Corrin Juan, 1995b (survey); anon., 1994b (logbook); Corrin
J, 1994b (survey and photo); anon., 1995c (logbook); Corrin Juan, 1995a;
Quin Andrew, 1995 (survey); Corrin Juan, 1996; anon., 1996a
(Easter logbook); Openshaw S, 1996 (survey and photo); Corrin Juan, 1997a;
Corrin Juan, 1997b; Corrin Juan, 1998 (photo); García José
León, 1997 (survey and photo); Corrin Juan, 1997c; Corrin Juan, 2001a;
Corrin Juan, 2003c; anon., 2005b (Easter & summer logbook); Corrin Juan
and Smith Peter, 2007; Corrin Juan, 2010; León García José, 2010 (survey and photos); Corrin Juan, 2013a; Papard Philip, Corrin Juan and Smith Peter, 2014
Entrance picture : yes
Underground picture(s): various 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 below 1st pitch climb below first pitch
head third pitch Power House stal sampling beyond the Resistor? salamander Skye Passage
to the Power House unexplored passage
Detailed Survey : pdf : as part of the Cubija System survey
Line Survey :
On area survey : line survey of North Vega System (no detail)
Survex file : Regaton August 2005 (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
Cubija System with surrounding major caves (April 2018) (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
Passage direction rose diagram: Sistema de Cubija (North Vega System) 1/7/2018