4117: Doldy's Cave (Ciervo, Cueva del)
Hornedo 30T 448502 4800345 (Datum: ETRS89. Accuracy code: G) Altitude 168m
Length included in the Torca la Vaca System
Updated 9th October, 3rd, 30th November 2015; 28th October 2016; 30th June 2018
A complex maze site that lies about 35m above Ed's Birthday Passage close to the Wasdale Screes in the Sistema de Torca la Vaca. The cave was linked down a tight p35 (p15, p10, p10) into Ed's Birthday Passage at the end of July 2015 and is now one of 6 entrances to the system. The length of Cueva del Ciervo (including The Langdales) before linking to Torca la Vaca was 491m. The name was changed to Doldy's Cave in memory of Paul Dold who died in a diving accident, Auguist 2016.
Cave description as of 05/04/2015
- Alex Ritchie
The cave is located about 50 m north east of the cow barn on the left-hand side of the first wooded shake-hole. Note in summer it may need heavy bushwhacking.
The excavated entrance is an almost flat out soil slope which opens out into a small chamber with calcite formations. The way on used to be through a squeeze over boulders to the right, but a route has been forged through straight ahead. Follow the calcited crawl round the corner to another chamber with a blind pit. Traverse across this into a boulder ruckle, turn left and then straight ahead (left is another previously descended blind pot of 11m). Two windows lead onto a now very muddy flat-out crawl for about 20 meters, before the passage enlarges to well decorated walking passage.
Left and through the rifts leads to the current Y-hang for the top of the main pitch which is 70m deep broken by a spiral of ledges. The pitch is unfortunately blind. However there are leads off at -40m which have not been fully pushed and will require bolting.
Back at the top, ahead leads to a roped traverse round the main shaft of the pitch. It is possible to step off at the beginning and turn right. This leads to a choke near the surface along with a series of bones and some possible ancient leather. (Should only be entered with care).
The traverse leads round the pitch into a rift, the last half of which is currently un-protected but is easy enough. From here the passage enlarges to form a large, well decorated chamber on the left with a 10m deep hole in the floor (blind). Right leads through a short crawl to another choke near the surface with a possible crawl off to the left (un-pushed).
A traverse around the chamber passes close to some very important bear bones. (These should not be crossed). To go around the bones step across the boulders on the left taking care of the formations and then by turn right again to follow the rift to a sandy slope, with evidence of claw marks on the right-hand side.
At the other side of the slope, most ways on choke or lead to small un-descended holes in the floor. Left is the only way on. This leads to a T-junction with shallow muddy pools. Taking a left turn here leads back to the main chamber; a right turn leads to a roped traverse over a deep hole (which becomes too tight). Continuing forwards, the passage develops into a rift where, at the end (straight ahead) is a hole in the floor that connects down a 6m drop into the Langdales cave, an easier way in.
To the right just before a hole, is a round trip that will take you through boulders and back to the chamber this side of the traverse, where as a left turn about 20 meters further back leads to an interesting and decorated passage which heads back towards the main 70m pitch and has a visual connection across a drop to the passage on the left of the pools. Before the end of the passage you have to go up a short climb into a chamber, if you turn right here, this leads to a volcano-like formation, beyond which are choked passages, one of which contains a hole.
The aforementioned hole contains a pitch series (Aardwolf Country) that now connects to Vaca and which was surveyed as batch 4117-2015a-01 in October 2015. The first pitch is about 15m deep and is quite tight a few metres down. The pitch remains somewhat narrow throughout the descent and deviations are required. A window to the right at the bottom leads onto the next pitch which is larger to begin with but again becomes narrow for the rest of the descent of about 10 metres. This pitch was initially rigged around a rock. The passage appears to choke in narrow rifts. However, a crawl around the corner leads to a much more open pitch into the Vaca main passage of 10m depth. A stal provided the belay for this drop. This pitch lands at some puddles at station 2889-09-14.71.
Because of the tight nature of the Aardwolf Country, this route into the Torca la Vaca System is not recommended.
Reference: anon., 2015b (Easter logbook); anon., 2015c (summer logbook); anon., 2015d (autumn logbook)
Entrance picture : yes
Underground pictures : yes
Video : Alex Ritchie (YouTube) ; Steve Sharp (YouTube)
Detailed survey : 1:500 pdf Easter 2015, amended after summer & autumn 2015 : In context with Torca la Vaca, after summer 2015 : sketch of pitches linking into Vaca
Line Survey :
On area survey :
Survex file : yes : on centre line survey with Torca la Vaca
Passage direction rose diagram: 30/6/2018