1338: shaft
S Vega 30T 450847 4794916 (Datum: ETRS89. Accuracy code: P) Altitude 426m
Length included in the South Vega System - see Azpilicueta Depth 285m
Area position

Updated 17th December 1999; 14th May, 17th September 2000; 26th April, 21st October 2001; 1st February 2006; 28th October 2007; 7th January 2011; 26th December 2012; 30th September 2015; 30th June 2018

   The length includes Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada (48), Torca de Azpilicueta (333), Torca de Papá Noel (1471), Torca de la Vera Negra (36), site 1338, Torca de Coterón (264), site 675 and Cueva Comellantes (40). A table of the depth within the South Vega System from each entrance can be seen here.

This site is a fenced shaft with 2 openings and a tree. The grid reference above is the centre of the shaft taken from Google Earth. The lower entrance is a scramble down to the top of a 16m pitch (belay 8mm stud and tree). The pitch slopes down to a pot / deviation off a stud on the opposite wall. At the foot, a route to Santi's Grotto crosses an undescended drop that may be traversed to where a junction leads to 2 short choked passages.

From the foot of the pitch a slope drops down past a hole on the right, and past a low opening on the right onto Centipede Pot, to an aven and a tight draughting inlet which needs hammering to proceed.

Centipede Pot is a 13m broken pitch rigged for ladders. At the foot, a passage runs up-dip and quickly chokes.

The way on from Centipede Pot is a grovel over white mud to the top of Dog's Bollocks Pot (p27, rigged from bolt and wire around stal; beware loose blocks at the top; rebelay at -9m). A traverse above Dog's Bollocks Pot becomes wide, but this can be seen from the head of Spice Pot.

At the foot of Dog's Bollocks Pot traversing above the stream passes an aven then reaches the top of The Spice Pot (p54m). This pitch is narrow at the top and has rebelays at -10m and -20m. At the foot, an inlet passage leads to some climbs pushed by the Catalans and downstream has been explored about 20m to where it continues narrow.

Several large openings can be seen in the north wall of the shaft. Swinging off 8m above the floor into the obvious window enters a large passage. A rope is recommended for a traverse on the right hand wall, beyond which the passage (20m high and 10m wide) contains numerous holes in the floor. After 50m a drop is reached where a traverse on the right hand wall reaches a 20m pitch into a huge chamber containing a stalagmite 10 - 15m high (The Sentinel).

The best way to enter Sentinel Chamber is to drop the first hole on the traverse, rigged from the traverse plus a deviation from a large block over the pitch head. The next pitch is rigged from a large Y hang on opposite walls with a deviation (left in place) just below the top. This pitch passes a ledge which gives access to the Sentinel Chamber, or it can be followed into Opportunity Knocks Pitch which passes below boulders and becomes small. From the ledge a short passage leads to a bouldery climb up to The Sentinel.

At Easter 2001, a hole in the floor of Sentinel Chamber was descended to an immature streamway at -172m (altitude 254m) and The Detackled Series was also descended near the "end". The cave was described as "wide open and still going".

In the summer the cave was linked to Torca de Coteron (site 264). In Sentinel Chamber, two ways passed on the right lead down to a large rift directly below The Sentinel. (Both require rigging from naturals and meet at a drop to the head of a short pitch into a rift). The rift starts as a scramble down boulders to a ledge and a sloping pitch, Coco Pot, to the 81 Depths in Coteron. A bolted traverse about halfway down (on the left wall looking down) leads to the second Coteron connection, near to the Edge of the Universe and the head of the first pitch in the 81 Depths.
At the foot of Coco Pot, two very small outlets remain to be pushed - one carries water and draughts, but a jammed block bars the way. Climbs above the floor area lead to the 17m pitch in the 81 Depths and a short, tight sandy rift.

The Sentinel Chamber is being pushed with a bolt traverse to fully explore at the higher levels.

Reference: anon., 1998d (logbook); anon., 1999c (logbook); anon., 2000b (Easter logbook); anon., 2000c (Summer logbook); Corrin Juan, 2001 (photos); anon., 2001a (Easter logbook); anon., 2001c (Summer logbook); Corrin Juan, 2003a (photo); Corrin Juan, 2005; Corrin Juan and Smith Peter, 2007; León García José, 2010 (line survey section and photos); anon., 2015c (summer logbook)
Entrance picture: yes
Underground picture(s): yes
Detailed survey: 1:1000 (pre-2001)  1:1000 with Coteron connection pdf file
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.)
Passage direction rose diagram: South Vega System (30/6/2018)