Matienzo 2006

Cave exploration around Matienzo during 2006

The year began with some worries about the permit - however, it had turned up at the end of January. By the end of February, the Ghar Parau Foundation had OK'd UK Sport funding of £450. So on the admin side, the year started well!

February trip
A small number of people visited for a few days but the weather was too wet and cold to do much. Digging continued in Boil in the Bag (site 868) and a couple of sites were documented in Riaño. Stream levels were too high to carry out a proposed through trip from Oñite to Risco through the Sala Carballo Pitch Bypass, but the survey was finally drawn up.

The list below shows links to those 5 sites which were extended or newly discovered during February 2006, or which have had surveys updated, entrance photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.
0027 Oñite, Cueva; 0868 dig; 1616 dig; 2362 dig; 2363 cave

Easter 2006, Whit and summer
Northwestern corner
Before Easter, much discussion was had over the proposed optical brightener test from the bottom of the Sumidero de Cobadal. Most scenarios were considered regarding flooding, time for the OBA to come through, etc but - with a lot of preparation and a bit of luck - the test provided a positive and intruiging result. The optical brightener came through to the Fuente Aguanaz resurgence (some 4.3km away and 75m lower) in a time of somewhere between 5 and 7 days. Fuente Aguanaz has an average flow of 951 litres per sec and a known passage length of only 1.7km - there are no feeder systems known. In comparison, the Four Valleys System with 43km of cave passage feeds a resurgence of 650 litres per sec. Hopefully, with thorough surface work, we will start to piece together the system that must lie behind Fuente Aguanaz up to Cobadal and possibly up to Alisas. (The method used for the test and detailed results are found in this document).

In the summer, some prospecting over the supposed Cobadal-Aguanaz route rediscovered Cueva Casillas (site 1163), a small resurgence cave that was explored for 43m.

There were high hopes of Cueva Collada at La Gatuna being a feeder to the Cobadal-Aguanaz system - the cave had been explored in November 05 to a "40ft damp pitch". This turned out to be 20m deep and the stream disappeared into a low bedding that is "not a good digging prospect". There is a possible passage on the opposite side of the pitch, but for the moment that's it for downstream Cueva Collada. The phreatic passages upstream were also looked at again but with no extra sections to add after the initial 1982 explorations.

The early days of the Easter expedition were partly focused on the depression at La Gatuna. Sandstone beds are abundant and form the roof or floor of a number of sites. Holes investigated included 2317, 2367, 2368, 2369 and 2370. One older member of the team thought he had discovered a new open hole, until the farmer presented him with a survey obtained off our web site. (Cubio de la Gatuna). In the summer, a number of holes were opened up one afternoon in a small area. The holes (sites 2485, 2486, 2487, 2488, 2489 and 2490) included a number of draughting sites (including one where a goat needs to rot completely away) and possible digs.

A number of days were spent and a substantial number of shafts and holes were investigated above Cobadal around the Bosmartín area. Site 2408 was one of the longer holes at 71m and others are shown below.

Solorzáno and Riaño
The highlight of the Easter trip was Cueva del Torno  (site 2366) - a classic discovery, found in the bar when locals started talking about a draughting entrance. The following day, at Fresnedo, the open entrance was eventually found, backing up childhood reminisences, and exploration started into large walking passage with many junctions. Further trips were eased by enlarging an awkward suqeeze and turn, but essentially the cave was there for the finding! Digging was required downstream to reach a 50m long chamber with some fine formations. At present, the lower streamway seem likely to drain to the resurgence Nacimiento del Campiazo (site 1102) at the head of the Solorzáno valley. Upper level passages may head south west to pass under the hill to link with the 4 Valleys System in Cueva Riaño. There are still a number of leads to explore in the cave, currently measured at 2801m long and 63m deep.
As well as finding over a kilometer of higher level passage in the cave in the summer, a human skull was discovered in a passage apparently heading out to the surface. A hunt on the surface for a possible entrance led to site 2523 (Pig Nut Cave) being excavated over a number of days. After a 6m pitch, the site yielded about 100m of passage with much infill. Another apparently human bone was found in this cave'

The discoveries in Torno precipitated further explorations in Cueva Riaño. The entrance had to be dug out (probably the last team entered in August 2001) and an inlet at the northern edge of the cave was pushed for 245m. The passage is heading east rather than north to Cueva del Torno, but there are still leads to explore. Further explorations in the easter extensions yielded another 128m of passage, unfortunately not heading through to Torno.

During the summer, a new cave to the northwest of the Fresnedo 1 and 2 caves was opened up and explored to a going canal. Cueva de Huerto Rey (site 2519) has some walking passage but also has a generous supply of sediment. The high level runs to the northwest and ends at a dig with passage visible beyond. The lower level is reached down a 12m pitch: to the northwest the passage ends at a low, draughting duck and in the opposite direction, a 4m pitch reaches the unexplored canal. This water is probably at the same level as a possible resurgence (Nacimiento del Campiazo, site 1106) over 1km away. In Carcass Cave, site 2476, a hands and knees crawl ended at a dig after 20m. This was passed to another draughting dig after 2m.

Numerous other sites were found around Torno and Cueva Riaño, for example, Trackside Cave in Riaño - a draughting hole with 86m of passages including a 9m pitch and site 2414 on a fault above Torno where 39m were surveyed to a gravel floor at the deepest point. Others are listed below.

South Vega and Arredondo
Cueva Vallina keeps providing passage to explore - this time over 650m were surveyed at Easter. Bird's World Upper Levels had probably been entered previously but were not on the Catalan survey. In the summer 4 trips into the system took place. The Rio Rioja was re-investigated and nothing ne wfound. The Man Trap (probably previously explored by the Catalans) was surveyed. The passage parallels the strong east-west trends in the higher level passages and over 800m was surveyed. In a trip beyond the boulders into Vallina 2, a disto was used to find the height of the Tocadome Aven (75m) and Kingsdale Passage was extended by 120m. The new, adjusted length of Cueva Vallina is 31050m.

In Papá Noel, Shafted Oyster passage was surveyed off Snowbat Bypass and the deepest point in the system was reached when holes off Floorless Chamber were pushed down p17, 9 and 22m followed by a couple of short climbs and a p10. The tiny draughting streamway continues flowing on at about the same altitude (168m) as the resurgence, 600m away. On the same trip as the extensions were made, Bjarne Buchardt tumbled 5 or 6m down boulders in the Paper Plane area. By the time the first rescue team reached the top of the Coterón entrance pitch with a long rope, he had been assisted to the base. He was then hauled up the 45m to the surface. By then, a large number of Spanish cavers had arrived and they were turned away with thanks. An excellent and speedy turn out! Bjarne was taken to Loredo hospital where he was a broken rib was strapped up - very lucky!
In the summer, one trip in Papá Noel pushed beyond Hole in the Wall to discover Hanging Death Chamber, with a slope down to undescended 30m pitches and a long "diving board" rock with another possible 30m pitch. The survey showed this area to be close to Anastomoses Hall in Cubio de la Reñada some 50m below. A search through the card index showed that avens beyond Anastomoses hall had been looked at in the past, and partially bolted.
A number of days was spent bolting up one of these and exploring the passages at the top. Fine helictites and other formations were found including one slanting 180cm long straw that appears to have attached itself to a vertical stalagmite. 358m of passages were surveyed and they were linked to Papá Noel, not near Hanging Death Chamber but near Floorless Chamber, further east.

Site 2563 was found near a stream sink and explored through low passage for 104m to a small but diggable end. The cave is on dipping sandstone similar to site 574 with a shaft entrance which is nearby. And some people spent Wednesday afternoons in Cueva de los Tablons, digging down in the hading rift. Over Whit, the site "went" into a small chamber with further draughting digs in the floor which should be stabilised. In the summer, a couple of other nearby draughting sites were opened up to tiny draughting holes and filled in again. (Sites 2491, 2492, 2493).

In Juan Lombrero, some extension work was carried out in a draughting passage very close to the entrance.

A number of shafts and caves were explored and partly explored on South Vega / Ozana over the year. Site 2290, the resurgence above Tablons was pushed for about 70m and can be pushed. Site 2424 was dropped for 17m in an enlarged clint. At site 2437, a 25m pitch remains to be explored. Other sites are listed below.

The current highlight of the Alisas area is the vertical descents in site 2264. The site appears to have reached a partial conclusion in the summer with the base at about -140m. To the northwest of Alisas, the hills and valleys around Moncobe were looked at. This area is at the extreme southwest of our permit and could provide some feeders to Fuente Aguanaz. A number of days were spent prospecting without any major find, although the area still seems to have good potential. The sites discovered are listed below.

Mullir / Ozana
Some digging was carried out in site 12, Cueva Concebo and site 0029, Cueva Subterránea, both large passages which irritatingly close down. Surface prospecting in the summer revealed a couple of interesting sites to return to - sites 2570 and 2572 appear to be more than 15 and 20m deep respectively.

La Secada
There were a number of days out, as usual trying to find a connection between Carcavueso-Bollón system and caves to the west. Pants was dug a number of times and the connection between Hole in the Road and Bollón was finally surveyed. The Apprentice Cave (site 2108) was pushed and surveyed, giving a length of about 40m.

A classic year with nearly 7km of new cave surveyed. Significant caves are still being discovered from nothing (Torno) and known caves are still providing significant extensions to those who want to push, e.g. in Vallina and Papá Noel / Reñada. There is plenty of cave to be explored and dug into: new cavers and teams are very welcome to come and join in!

There were many other finds and explorations; in total the passage length surveyed at Easter was 3.3km, in the summer, 3.5km. A full list follows - divided into areas and showing links to those 177 sites which were extended or newly discovered over Easter and Whit, and 156 over the summer or which have had surveys updated, entrance photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.

Alisas 2264 shaft; 2392 shaft;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Arronte 2364 resurgence;
Bosmartín 2393 shaft; 2396 shaft; 2397 shaft; 2398 hole; 2402 shaft; 2411 Nesting Chough Pot; 2412 shaft; 2413 shaft;
Camposdelante 2433 shaft; 2434 dig; 2435 cave; 2441 cave;
Cobadal 613 Torcida, Torca de; 923 shaft; 1163 cave; 1874 Snottite Cave; 1930 Cobadal, Sumidero de; 2066 dig; 2073 shaft; 2074 shaft; 2075 shaft; 2183 Woodcutter's Cave; 2394 shaft; 2395 shaft; 2399 shaft; 2400 cave; 2403 depression; 2406 shaft; 2407 shaft; 2408 cave; 2409 shafts; 2410 caves; 2443 digs; 2565 cave; 2566 sink; 2567 sink; 2568 cave; 2573 dig; 2574 dig;
Cubija 2167 Frank's Cave;
El Naso 140 shaft; 138 Coberruyo, Cueva de; 2324 shaft; 2335 shaft; 2375 shaft; 2376 cave; 2377 shaft; 2378 shaft; 2379 shaft; 2380 shaft; 2483 cave; 2484 cave;
Entrambasaguas 1072 Famous Five Cave; 2383 cave;
Fresnedo 126 Fresnedo 1, Cueva; 841 Fresnedo 2, Cueva; 983 cave; 984 cave; 994 cave; 2366 Torno, Cueva del; 2477 shaft; 2478 sink; 2519 Huerto Rey, Cueva de; 2521 cave; 2522 dig; 2523 Pig Nut Pot; 2524 depression; 2525 depression; 2539 cave; 2540 dig; 2543 shaft; 2544 hole;
Hornedo 713 Aguanaz, Fuente;
Ideopuerta 1972 shaft; 1973 shaft; 1975 Mortiro, Torca de; 2502 cave; 2503 dig; 2504 cave;
La Colina 2572 shaft;
La Gatuna 394 Collada, Cueva de; 2317 cave; 2367 cave; 2368 cave; 2369 cave; 2370 cave; 2485 cave; 2486 shaft; 2487 cave; 2488 cave; 2489 cave; 2490 dig;
La Mina 2381 shaft; 2382 cave;
La Secada 93 Seta, Cueva; 98 Bollón, Cueva de; 715 shaft; 868 dig; 1452 cave; 1655 dig; 2108 Apprentice Cave;
La Vega 312 Mazo, Cueva del;
Las Calzadillas
2401 shaft;
Llueva 1053 Tesoro, Cueva del; 2416 cave;
Moncobe 2494 collapse; 2495 shaft; 2496 shaft; 2497 cave; 2498 shaft; 2499 shaft; 2500 shaft; 2505 dig; 2506 shaft; 2507 shaft; 2508 dig; 2509 dig; 2510 shaft; 2511 shaft; 2512 shaft; 2513 shaft; 2514 shaft; 2515 cave; 2516 shaft; 2517 shaft; 2518 resurgence; 2530 cave; 2531 shaft; 2532 dig; 2533 shaft; 2534 shaft; 2535 cave; 2536 cave; 2537 cave; 2538 cave; 2542 shaft; 2545 dig;
Muela 129 Muela, Torca de la; 135 shaft; 183 shaft & collapse; 1795 shaft; 1796 shaft; 1797 shaft; 2058 shaft; 2059 shaft; 2526 shaft; 2527 shaft; 2528 cave; 2529 shaft; 2562 shaft; 2569 shaft; 2570 shaft; 2571 shaft;
Mullir 806 cave & 2 shafts; 2464 shaft; 2465 cave;
North Vega 423 Barandas, Cueva de; 2575 cave; 2576 cave; 2577 cave; 2578 hole; 2579 cave;
Ozana 12 Concebo, Cueva del; 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del; 27 Oñite, Cueva; 29 Subterránea, Cueva; 39 Coquisera, Cueva de; 242 Tablons, Cueva de los; 246 cave; 574 shaft; 1729 cave; 2427 collapse; 2428 Slip Rift Cave; 2429 Side Shaft Cave; 2436 cave; 2442 cave; 2444 cave; 2445 dig; 2446 cave; 2447 shaft; 2448 shaft; 2449 dig; 2450 cave; 2455 shaft;
Riaño 105 Riaño, Cueva de; 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 581 cave; 643 shaft; 644 cave; 935 Dormouse Cave; 1428 shaft; 1630 cave; 1799 shaft; 1992 cave; 2362 dig; 2417 Letterbox Cave; 2418 Trackside Cave; 2456 hole; 2457 hole; 2458 sink; 2459 hole; 2460 cave; 2467 resurgence; 2468 sink; 2469 sink; 2470 hole; 2471 hole; 2472 shaft; 2473 cave; 2479 shaft; 2480 dig; 2481 cave;
S Vega 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la; 264 Coterón, Torca del; 333 Azpilicueta, Torca de; 0464 cave; 0669 shaft; 0825 cave; 1332 Juan Lombrero, Cueva de; 1391 Volcano Cave; 1392 cave; 1471 Papá Noel, Torca de; 1624 shaft; 1924 shaft; 2082 shaft; 2290 resurgence; 2419 cave; 2420 shaft; 2421 shaft; 2422 shaft; 2423 cave; 2424 shaft; 2425 shaft; 2426 shaft; 2437 shaft; 2438 shaft; 2439 shaft; 2440 dig; 2451 cave; 2452 cave; 2453 cave; 2454 cave; 2466 dig; 2482 shaft; 2491 Tablons 2; 2492 Tablons 3; 2493 Tablons 4; 2541 shaft; 2546 dig; 2547 shaft; 2548 dig; 2549 shaft; 2550 shaft; 2551 hole; 2552 dig; 2553 hole; 2554 shaft; 2555 shaft; 2556 hole; 2557 shaft; 2558 cave; 2559 shaft; 2560 shaft; 2561 dig; 2563 cave; 2564 shaft;
San Antonio 2359 shaft; 2371 cave; 2372 cave; 2373 cave; 2374 cave; 2384 shaft;
San Miguel 115 Nacimiento del Rio Clarin; 239 Peter Plummet; 2461 cave; 2462 cave; 2463 cave;
Secadura 117 Boyonnes, Los; 122 Suviejo, Cueva de; 154 77A, Cueva; 649 cave; 2014 cave; 2025 The Fox Hat; 2365 cave; 2385 cave; 2386 cave; 2387 resurgence; 2388 cave; 2389 cave; 2390 cave; 2391 cave; 2404 depression; 2405 cave; 2501 dig; 2520 cave;
Seldesuto 484 Zorro, Torca del;
Solórzano 1106 Campiazo, Nacimiento del; 2414 cave; 2415 dig; 2430 shaft; 2431 dig; 2432 dig; 2474 cave; 2475 sink; 2476 Carcass Cave;

The autumn has seen a number of trips. A site in Llueva (opened up by Jesús Ruiz Cobo behind the plumber's house) provided well decorated chambers (site 2580). In the same valley, Cueva de Hoyo Verde was revisited and prehistoric pottery was discovered on the eastern entrance slope.
A couple of sites discovered in the summer were looked at. Both of these are at high level to the east of the Matienzo depression. Three ladders taken on the hill were enough for site 2570 as this turned out to be a roomy 24m deep shaft; they were inadequate for site 2572 which provided a 12m drop to a ledge with at least another 31m below (measured with a Disto). A number of apparently easy digs were noted on South Vega and a couple of hours were spent photographing in Cueva del Agua trying out new i-Slaves (from Cumbria Designs). On the side of Cueto, sites 271, 272, 273 and 274 were revisited, positioned in the right order (!) and 273 was partially surveyed.
In Cueva Riaño, about 670m of passages were surveyed: passages found in August and a 470m extension from the most northerly point in Riaño, Schoolboy Error Aven, heading for the Torno area. Another ten surface sites were documented above Hoyuca / Riaño including 2 draughting shafts (2595 and 2596). In Cueva del Torno, the passage / dig at the bottom of Torno chamber was pushed to a sump after 30m and the skull was taped off.

The list below shows links to those 44 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the Autumn visits (to mid December) or which have had surveys or descriptions updated, entrance photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.

El Naso 59 Molino, Cueva del;
Fresnedo2366 Torno, Cueva del;
La Colina 271 cave; 272 Cubillones, Abrigo de los; 273 cave; 274 cave; 635 shaft; 1585 shaft; 2572 shaft;
Llueva 717 shaft; 943 Hoyo Verde, Cueva del; 2580 cave;
Muela 2570 shaft; 2588 dig;
Riaño 105 Riaño, Cueva de; 1142 sink; 2401 sinks; 2469 sink; 2595 Prize Cock Pot; 2596 Petirrojo, Cueva de; 2612 dig; 2613 dig; 2614 dig; 2615 sink; 2616 dig; 2617 dig;
S Vega 2353 cave; 2582 dig; 2583 dig; 2584 dig; 2585 dig; 2586 dig; 2587 dig; 2589 shaft; 2590 White Chamber Cave; 2591 shaft; 2592 dig; 2593 dig; 2594 dig;
Seldesuto 483 shaft; 879 dig; 1120 shaft; 2581 cave;
Trillos 1177 shaft;

A variety of explorations were carried out over Christmas and New Year. In Cueva del Torno, a couple of trips investigated the possibility of another entrance (banging was heard on the surface) and a shorter route to the skull, aiding the possible removal at Easter - a dig in sand and clay continues from the Tigger Series. Excavations continued in Boil in the Bag.
New sites were documented on a number of walks in the Bosmartín / El Naso area: site 2597 is a sink against a limestone scar; site 2600 is a 4m climb down onto a boulder slope in 3m high passage which continues for 20m to end at a choke; Cueva del Campo may be worth a dig at the rear of the cave. Sites 2604 and 2605 are draughting digs on a line of depressions near the top of the road up El Naso. At site 2608, a wide 30m long rift requires investigation where it appears 8m deep and may continue. In the highly vegetated area around Lastrilla, site 2611 is a hidden rift that also requires further investigation.
The list below shows links to those 23 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the Christmas visit or which have had surveys or descriptions updated, entrance photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.

Bosmartín 1355 shaft; 2607 dig; 2608 shaft;
Coteron las Llanas 2609 shaft;
Cubija 2597 dig; 2598 dig; 2599 dig;
El Naso 76 Campo, Cuvia del; 2604 dig; 2605 dig; 2606 cave;
Fresnedo 2366 Torno, Cueva del;
La Secada 868 dig;
Las Calzadillas 1274 shaft; 1275 shaft; 1500 shaft; 2602 cave; 2603 dig; 2610 cave;
N Vega 836 shaft; 2600 cave; 2601 cave; 2611 depression;

Juan Corrin, March, June, November, December 2006; January, February 2007

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