Cave exploration around Matienzo during 2013
An map with area names can be found here. (The cave centre lines are outdated.)
January & February
A very quiet period with no new explorations. Radon testing was carried out in Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada and Cueva Asiul but there has been a problem with at least one of the two detectors (Corentium Canary). Further details will appear in due course. The Matienzo radon page can be seen here.
Site 1499 was the scene of a successful dog rescue on the day of Reyes - the shaft was confirmed as "not going anywhere".
The list below shows links to those 3 sites which were extended or newly discovered over January & February 2013, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, entrance photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.
El Naso 61 Asiul, Cueva de;
Las Calzadillas 1499 shaft;
S Vega 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la;
Nearly 50 people took part in the Easter expedition with the weather being spring-like, veering towards the "quite wet" for those on the campsite. Results were not as successful as the previous Easter with only 2km of new passage surveyed. The results are shown on the table. Nearly 90 new sites of speleological interest were identified.
Most new passage was surveyed in El Cubillón at Moncobe - an inlet series and a climb over the sump. Simas del Picón is being resurveyed and small extensions were made. The Wrong Trousers inlet in Torca la Vaca was pushed upstream to a rift chamber with high level passage heading off to the north, open and going!
Rupert Skorupka's diving quest to find the missing resurgence water in Comellantes was thwarted by too much water and bad visibility. The duck in Cubio de la Reñada was flooding on occasion and the resurgence was very cloudy most of the time. It was observed, within a few hours, that the flow in Squirrel's Passage (a feeder into the Comellantes water) was just 1/10 of the flow at the rising. A small inlet into Breakdown Chamber was estimated to have 1/4 of the Squirrel's Passage flow. After a flood event, Cueva del Molino at Bustablado was running milky while Comellantes was clear. One interpretation is that Molino is receiving snow melt water from the Porracolina mountains to the south while Comellantes is getting water from Cueva Vallina and the South Vega system (where there was no snow melt). There is now a guide line through the Reñada duck but this shouldn't be used for free-diving.
An overnight camp (the first in a Matienzo cave) was carried out by the Danish team in Hidden Hole with a view to pushing a number of leads. Unfortunately, one of the tackle sacks fell down the 57m Gloom Pitch. This contained water, milk and the DistoX so, although drinking water was found in the cave, the small extensions found on the 30 hour trip could not be surveyed.
A number of entrances were GPS'd and photographed (over the winter period) and also a few new, small sites discovered. Site 3871 continues. Sites near the top of the hill were re-visited: shaft 1220 would need major work with no sign of any enlargement down a parallel shaft; others nearby were seen to draught in strongly. Site 1124, descended 15m after first being documented 17 years ago, was found to have a good draught and is considered a "very good prospect" for enlarging.
In Sima-Cueva del Risco, a new 180m long series was surveyed - Curly Mud Passage.
At the end of the Easter period, an open entrance (site 3884) was found southeast of the Jivero caves and site 246, just above the depression floor. This was explored upstream for about 200m in phreatic passages with vadose cut down and continues small. Downstream has yet to be explored past a small drop.
El Naso area west to Las Calzadillas
In the resurvey of Simas del Picón, a 47m extension was made in the Melted Wax Candle of Doom Chamber and 121m in the Picón Eye and Pee Pee Chamber extensions, close to the entrance. Alasdair Neill has now completed the new survey whcih can be seen here. In the stream valley, just up from the entrance to Cueva de la Morenuca, a stream sink was noted (site 3801) and a dig (site 3802) close to and at a similar altitude to the western high level passage in Torca Mostajo.
A couple of possible digs and continuing holes were noted in the Bosmartín area.
The Northeast Sector including the Four Valleys System
The hunt for the big system behind Lenny's Cave at Secadura continued although no continuations were found in the cave. Cueva del Jabalí was checked out but would require extensive digging where the the stream filters away in the cave. The dig to the west of Lenny's, site 3741, was visited a number of times. The resurgence at site 3729 was explored but found to be constricted at a stal boss, with 3ft deep water and no room to turn around. Sites 291 -293 were reinvestigated and nearby dig 3841 excavated on a number of occasions. The dig - Dos Burros, site 3777 - to the east of the Los Boyones resurgence was excavated to passage that reached 9m depth and a length of 15m.
Cueva del Sifón Claro, dived from the back of a small chamber in 1980, was found to have collapsed. A jumble of boulders and fallen trees now covers the site, with holes down to water between rocks.
Further explorations occurred in the Riaño area. In Cueva de Riaño, as part of the Four Valleys resurvey project, new passage and unsurveyed routes with one set of foot prints were found in the downstream area. A visit to the Road to Torno inlet, trying to connect through to Cueva del Torno in the Fresnedo valley, was frustrated by lack of climbing equipment. In all, 112m of new passages were surveyed in Cueva de Riaño. The surveyed length of the Four Valleys System is now just over 56km.
Cueva de la Espada and its surroundings were investigated a number of times. In the cave, 92m were surveyed in small passages and the supposed link towards Llanío was dug with a garden spade. "Passage totally choked with squalid mud but may be worth further visits." Associated holes included the newly found site 3795. Here, a sloping p10 dropped into a short segment of large stream passage running parallel to the stream in Cueva de la Espada and presumably an inlet to that cave further down stream. A return was made to site 3442 which had been connected down into the Espada stream in August 2010. Extensive digging of mud was required before the cave and passages were accessible and could be surveyed. Site 3796 above a stream sink was explored for some 25m in a stal-filled crawl. Also documented was the enticing Sewer Works sink, site 3800.
In Cueva Llanío, the lower levels to the south east were pushed and explored but no new leads found.
In Llueva, site 3834 with three entrances was entered but closed down in all directions. Site 3833 is a cold store in a chamber with draught coming from all over but having lots of loose rock.
A number of holes were investigated at Fresnedo. To the south, high on the forested slopes, the slightly draughting site 3842 is being enlarged through flowstone after a p6. Sink 2478 was partially excavated but further work will require dry weather. Site 3798 was explored down a p6 to a "meander with a 10cm wide opening". Much lower down, close to the Virgen caves, sites 3824, 3825, 3826, 3837 and 3828 have possibilities.
A number of sites are proving to be of interest in the area of Hornedo and to the south towards Alisas and to the west. The highlight of exploration at Hornedo has to be exploring up the Wrong Trousers inlet at the bottom of the entrance pitch in Torca la Vaca. When the system was first entered in 2008, explorers dropped two sets of pitches to the stream but were soon enticed away with larger, less squalid passages part way down. A return to "downstairs, upstream" this Easter gave the opportunity to dig out the low upstream section and enter a slightly larger set of passages. In a rift chamber, passages can be seen heading north, probably out of the hill and heading south. This higher level will be reached with a couple of bolts up the wall at the side of a 4m high mud face. Over 200m were surveyed here and the (unrealistic?) expectation is that the visible high level will go for miles, just like its counterpart 300m to the west.
Colin Hayward and Jim Lister had plans to carry on upstream from Wild Mare Cave into Torca la Vaca to further investigate Elephant Sump and beyond. The high water levels and murky conditions put paid to that.
The search for holes continued around Torca la Vaca, including looking for another entrance that would enter the cave upstream of the Buttermere duck. Site 3069 was opened up but the small chamber entered had no way on. The small passage at site 2917, returned to after a couple of years, was excavated and continuing small passage entered. A quick turn around was made when an increasingly strong smell was enecountered in the vacinity of a freshly gnawed calf's leg bone. Other sites can be browsed from the Barrio de los Urros and Hornedo lists below. On the east side of Hornedo, Black Marble Hole has an unexplored slope down out of a small chamber to a "passable" small opening. Site 3089 was opened up but a bouldery slope at the base of a 5m deep rift needs stabilising.
Over the end of Torca la Vaca and into the Cobadal depression a number of sites were documented but they are all considered poor prospects for extension. (Site 3863-3868). High level shaft 2717 was opened up to reveal a 3m descent in a choked shaft. Some interesting holes were found at the "hidden valley", south of Cobadal: site 3829 is an open 15m deep hole that takes water but closed down at the base; site 3831 is a straight 7m descent into a completely choked chamber; site 3830 has a echoing p20 - 25m which remains undescended because conditions were too wet from water showering out of the roof.
Two resurgences were pushed on the south side of the northern depression at Cobadal. Woodcutter's Cave was explored to a too tight continuation and Double Horse Trough Rising was pushed and surveyed for 130m to where it gets too small. There are avens along its length.
Heading further west in the Fuente Aguanaz catchment, site 3543, documented in the past as a sink, was shown by a local to have a cave behind thick vegetation. This was used as a Civil War shelter but passages were seen going off a chamber and exploration continues.
Ideopuerta, to the south and up towards Alisas, continues to reveal new holes and extensions. In Torca Hoyo Carabo (formally Washing Machine Hole), several days digging allowed a p48 and p4 to be dropped to a small way on. Holes investigated to the south of the cave include site 3821, a shaft that requires work to enter where stones fall a good distance. The "lost" deep shaft (site 2768) on the side of the Ideopuerta valley was shown to a group who found it was only 12m deep and within this group of holes.
The open 4 x 2m entrance to site 3812 (with the working name of Yo-yo Cave) leads straight into a sloping chamber and a couple of up and down climbs and pitches before ending in an unstable dig. Yo-yo Cave is near the end of the now-tarmaced camino heading south from the Ideopuerta hamlet. Other holes looked at near Yo-yo include 3 entrances to a small passage at site 3813; a series of undescended rifts at site 3811, and site 3807 - a very tight 8m deep shaft.
The area between Ideopuerta and Las Calzadillas saw some prospecting. Site 3818 was found to be a scrap-filled collapse going down 8m; site 3819 is filled with rubbish and choked 11m down; site 3853 is a 9m drop to a boulder slope and undescended 22m deep holes; site 3854 was 11m deep.
A dozen new sites were investigated up a valley to the right of the main road to the north of Las Calzadillas. Site 3859 is an obvious entrance to a p6 and a roof tube. Other holes were mainly shallow rifts and can be browsed through the Las Calzadillas section below.
At Moncobe, at the western edge of our permit area, two caves were given attention. In El Cubillón, an inlet series was explored and a climb over the sump was found to close in. The length of El Cubillón was increased by over 200m. Passages half way down the p85 in Cueva de la Casa Vieja were investigated leaving open rift routes for the future. The exploration here is mainly technical rope work and "not for novices." Site 3692, where a lot of digging has occurred, has partially collapsed and the hole is now a "low priority".
A number of new holes (sites 380, 3805, 3808, 3809, 3839, 3840 and 3845) were investigated just to the west of Barrio Fuentecil over the end of Fuente Aguanaz. They were all found to be fairly small.
Some preliminary work was carried out in a number of caves with a view to obtaining a permit in the summer for underground "bug sampling".
The list below shows links to those 183 sites which were extended or newly discovered over Easter 2013, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, entrance photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS. They include some explorations that happened in December 2012 and through the winter. A map (with out-of-date cave centre lines) showing area names can be found here
Updated or new cave surveys will be produced in due course.
|2185||Double Horse Trough||complete|
|2889||Torca la Vaca||complete|
|3543||Civil War cave||complete|
|3649||Casa Vieja||in hand|
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Barrio de los Urros 2917 cave; 3066 digs; 3069 shaft;
Bosmartín 3849 cave; 3850 cave; 3851 cave; 3852 dig;
Bustablado 727 Molino, Cueva del;
Camposdelante 3115 Hombre, Torca del; 3543 cave; 3614 dig; 3814 hole; 3815 hole; 3836 hole; 3837 sink;
Cobadal 613 Torcida, Cueva de; 618 Orchard Cave; 1163 Casillas, Cueva; 1874 Snottite Cave; 2090 dig; 2183 Woodcutter's Cave; 2185 Double Horse Trough Rising; 3829 shaft; 3830 cave; 3831 shaft; 3863 dig; 3864 rift; 3865 cave; 3866 dig; 3867 shaft; 3868 dig;
Cubija 75 Picón, Simas del; 3801 sink; 3802 dig;
El Naso 59 Molino, Cueva del;
Fresnedo 2478 sink; 3798 shaft; 3824 dig; 3825 cave; 3826 dig; 3827 dig; 3828 cave; 3842 cave; 3844 dig;
Fuentecil 3804 shaft; 3805 shaft; 3808 shafts - 2; 3809 shaft; 3839 cave; 3840 cave; 3845 cave;
Hornedo 2889 Vaca, Torca La; 2907 sink; 2949 cave; 2951 sink; 2958 dig; 3166 dig; 3286 dig; 3790 dig; 3791 dig; 3817 Black Marble Hole; 3846 collapse; 3861 cave; 3862 Felipé, Cueva de; 3878 cave; 3879 dig;
Ideopuerta 2768 shaft; 2829 dig; 3420 Hoyo Carabo, Torca; 3664 shaft; 3665 shaft; 3752 digs-3; 3806 cave; 3807 shaft; 3810 collapse; 3811 shaft; 3812 Yo Yo Cave; 3818 collapse; 3819 shaft; 3820 dig; 3821 shaft; 3822 dig; 3823 dig; 3853 shaft; 3854 shaft;
La Colina 3001 shaft;
La Collada 2717 shaft; 3056 shaft;
La Secada 3847 shaft; 3848 hole;
Las Calzadillas 3813 cave; 3855 cave; 3856 holes; 3857 shaft; 3858 shaft; 3859 shaft; 3860 holes; 3872 rift; 3873 depression; 3874 shaft; 3875 shaft; 3876 shaft; 3877 dig;
Llueva 2748 cave; 3816 dig; 3832 cave; 3833 cave; 3834 cave; 3835 dig; 3883 dig;
Moncobe 2538 Cubillón, El; 3649 Casa Vieja, Cueva de la; 3692 dig;
Muela 3799 shaft;
Ozana 17 Jivero 2, Cueva de; 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del; 3884 cave; 3885 resurgence; 3886 sink;
Riaño 103 Espada, Cueva de la; 105 Riaño, Cueva de; 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 1630 cave; 2417 Letterbox Cave; 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del; 3299 cave; 3301 cave; 3442 cave; 3795 cave; 3796 cave; 3800 Sewer Works Sink; 3838 dig; 3880 shaft; 3881 cave;
S Vega 40 Comellantes, Cueva del; 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la; 458 Hidden Hole; 498 shaft; 499 shafts - 2; 671 cave; 732 cave; 851 shaft; 857 cave; 1183 cave; 1184 cave; 1185 cave; 1220 shaft; 1244 shaft; 1340 shaft; 1435 cave; 1652 shaft; 2594 dig; 3803 cave; 3869 cave; 3870 cave; 3871 shaft;
San Antonio 3089 shaft; 3094 shaft; 3882 shaft;
Secadura 118 Churro, Cueva del; 120 Sifón Claro, Cueva del; 122 Suviejo, Cueva de; 123 Rayo de Sol, Torca del; 288 Bodega, La; 291 cave; 292 cave; 293 shaft; 3721 Lenny's Cave; 3729 cave; 3741 dig; 3742 resurgence; 3750 Jabalí, Cueva del; 3777 Dos Burros; 3797 hole; 3841 dig;
Seldesuto 1124 shaft; 1125 shaft; 3792 shaft; 3793 shafts (3); 3794 shaft;
Trillos 1178 shaft; 1180 shaft;
Although only a few trips were undertaken over the May/June Whit period, each was productive either with new passage surveyed, new holes descended or sites properly positioned.
The highlight was the exploration and survey of site 3884 in Ozana. This open hole, discovered after the main Easter explorations, was explored upstream mainly in a narrow trench to where it becomes smaller close to sink 2449. Downstream exploration was very wet (because of a wet Spring period and having to crawl through a small waterfall) but a boulder choke was met within a few metres of the base of the second pitch and upstream of the pitch also stopped at a sump. The total surveyed was 341m.
On El Naso, an undocumented, open (and still undescended) 5m shaft was found.
High above Seldesuto, in and around the Trillos area, the 30 - 50m diameter hole at site 674 was finally explored and documented. Nearby site 3887 was explored down 10m to a block stopping progress at the top of a possible 20m drop. Site 1126 was explored down 6m to a choke and other sites were correctly positioned using GPS.
The list below shows links to those 21 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the May / June period, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, entrance photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS. A map (with out-of-date cave centre lines) showing area names can be found here.
El Naso 3888 shaft; 3889 shaft;
Ozana 2449 dig; 3884 cave;
Seldesuto 482 Lanza, Torca de la; 483 shaft; 674 shaft; 1120 shaft; 1121 shaft; 1122 shaft; 1123 shaft; 1124 shaft; 1125 shaft; 1126 shaft; 1408 shaft; 1409 shaft; 3887 cave;
Trillos 1177 shaft; 1178 shaft; 1179 shaft; 1180 shaft;
Over 90 cavers and associates took advantage of the dry summer and low water levels. The caving period lasted for about 5 weeks and more than 5.3km of new cave passage were surveyed plus 2.5km of re-survey in Cueva Carcavuezo, part of the 4 Valleys System. The longest new cave was Cueva de los Urros where a maze provided 1.4km of passages. More than 900m of new passages were discovered in Cueva de Mostajo and a new entrance to Torca la Vaca is hoped for down an 8m shaft which will cut out various up and down pitches and the 7m long duck. (An article from the SUSS website details the Sheffield cavers' contributions.)
In Cueva Vallina, in the passage running north of Bathtub Passage, an "horrific" aven, covered with mud, was climbed to where it "did nowt" and, pushing through the northern boulder choke, dropped a 15m pitch to a mud-walled outlet and immature inlet above. At Trillos. high above the northwest edge of Vallina, site 1180 was pushed down 5 pitches to a depth of 44m and site 3894 was found to be 7m deep after a tight entrance.
At Alisas a number of shafts were dropped to conclusions. Site 2000 (a "rather uninspiring hole") was dropped to a sand and boulder choke at -65m. Sites 2049 and 2051 were found to choke at -9m and -16m, the latter in a large rift passage.
In Cueva del Risco, a 96m extension was made to Dieline Passage and various loose ends tied up in Oñite, below the Sala Carballo. The sites associated with the resurging water from Risco were positioned correctly on the map, and the actual resurgence, La Lisa, given number 3929.
Signal crayfish were spotted in Cueva del Agua and a check made in Cueva Jivero 2, a haunt of the European variety. Although none were seen on that vist, some of the invading species were seen in Jivero a couple of weeks later. The presence of the signal crayfish in Matienzo streams was communicated to the office of the Medio Ambiente in Ramales.
On the hills to the south of La Vega, the high level resurgence (site 2290) was surveyed for 41m before it closed in. A few metres up the hillside, sites 2890 to 2895 were investigated but there is still some confusion as to which site is which within this tiny area. Cave 671 was resurveyed, almost tripling the length to 92m.
In Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada, some more sense was made of the sumps and passages at the start of Squirrel's Passage and the D3 area. A survey of the area can be seen here. (Updated link 7/9/2013)
El Naso area, west to Las Calzadillas
The highlight of the exploration here was the pushing of the MUSC Series in Torca del Mostajo for 906m by the university team. MUSC continued exploring the series found below the end of the large, high level passage in 2012. At the southern end, down a short drop, the passage continues down another unexplored 12m drop with possible leads below. To the north, which sets off part way along the 2012 extensions, complicated and varied routes have a number of leads still to pursue including a deep pitch to water. Resin anchors were placed on the entrance pitch and the traverse in an attempt to prevent the spread of smaller anchors. Site 3802, a dig some 70m beyond the western end of the the high level Mostajo passages was excavated on a couple of occasions. More work is needed before the entrance pitch is bypassed.
MUSC and others were also busy in Simas del Picón where the most significant extensions were part way down the Mega Bat Series. Over three hundred metres of mainly large passage headed west then east to almost connect with passage heading down from the entrance. Frank's Cave, a short distance below the Picón entrance, was excavated down a draughting tight rift to an 8m drop into a chamber with the draught issuing from potential digs.
In smaller explorations on and around El Naso, the archaeological site, Abrigo de la Cubija, was extended slightly through a walled crawl to where ancient animal bones were visible; shafts 1599 and 3889 were dropped to chokes a few metres down and site 2125 entered a low crawl which choked.
To the north of Las Calzadillas, 4 new sites were investigated. The most interesting two are site 3912, an east-west rift which involves a climb down past loose material to give a final depth of 11m and rift 3897, excavated at both eastern and western ends providing very small extensions at 7m depth. Site 3855, described at Easter as "an open hole under a cliff" was revisited. An 8m pitch dropped into a chamber where a horse skeleton complete with horseshoes was found. Also revisited was site 3856 where 3 open rifts were found to choke less than 6m down.
The Northeast Sector including the Four Valleys System
On the southern flank of Muela, the Torca de Yusa (with its 118m deep entrance pitch) was dropped to open passage seen up a mud wall climb a couple of years ago. The Black Rose Caving Club team reached the top only to find a choked pitch of 10m depth and, on the NE side of the slope, a 15m loose and muddy pitch that dropped into a large chamber that choked "just around the corner". On the west flank, site 350 was discovered with a 2 second stone drop, so far unexplored.
One of the aims of the summer expedition was to push any leads in the far reaches of the Cueva de Fresnedo 2 system. As it happened, time and other explorations got in the way of a full push but, after digging out the collapsed entrance, useful work was done in the cave: rebolting the pitches for SRT, writing up a tackle list and pushing an outlet passage about 3 km from the entrance for 180m. This ended in a mud choke but, part way along, a stream could be heard down a hole which needs descending.
Cueva de Fresnedo 1 was revisited but the way into the far end was found collapsed after climbing into and along a rift near the entrance.
Eight hundred metres to the north, site 3910 was found, a large entrance sloping down to an open sump with passage visible under water. This could be a window into the drainage of a number of caves in the area but, unfortunately, it's north of the current permit area. There are plans to apply for access in the future.
Close to one of the possible feeders (Slaves' Cave), site 3018 was descended in a very tight shaft into a chamber which drops into 20m of well decorated passage. Between Slaves' and Freedom Pot, site 3825 dropped into a choked chamber and, one hundred metres to the west, site 3824 soon choked, as did site 2687, another hundred metres to the west. Near Fuente de la Virgen, sites 3826 and 3827 were found to be too tight to continue exploration.
At Riaño, Cueva de la Espada had one visit where 32m was surveyed in a carbide-marked passage near the top entrance. The bottom entrance has been signposted from the main road using the name given by the expedition in 1975 rather than the local name, Cueva del Ruchano. Fox Cave, in an isolated and heavily vegetated valley 700m to the north, was pushed and surveyed to give 286m of passage with a number of entrances, some draughting. Further down this valley, in site 3566 where water could be heard falling ahead, all the leads closed down. The Riaño Cave resurgence (site 575) was investigated by Colin Hayward and Jim Lister and a possible easier entry point to the flooded rift seen under boulders.
A lot of time was spent pushing and documenting old and new holes under a sandstone bed on the 265m contour above Cueva de Riaño. Three sites were originally documented in this area: site 640 was excavated this summer to provide a length of 10m with the route possibly continuing over a 4m pit; site 641 was re-explored and 1423 confirmed as an 8m drop. New sites include 3917, entered through a prominent portal which turns into a narrow rift with a parallel shaft descended for about 15m; site 3920, a 17m long cave which becomes too low in stream deposits; site 3921 - 3m long and digs at sites 3918 and 3919.
Nearly 800m to the SSE, site 3745 was opened up but closed down after 3m.
In Secadura, Lenny's Cave was visited to provide better detail for the survey and to investigate the chokes at both ends of the cave. The draughting dig 3841, to the SE of Lenny's Cave, was visited on a number of occasions over the summer with holes opening up in the floor. On the north side of the valley, site 2385 was revisited and there appears to be some prospects for digging in this draughting site.
The only work carried out in the Four Valleys System and nearby caves happened in the Matienzo depression where a resurvey was started in Cueva de Carcavuezo, the sink for most of the water in the Matienzo depression. Passages were surveyed down to the sump and east through Duck Passage. Over 2900m of passages were surveyed including 437m of previously unsurveyed routes. A second entrance (site 3895) at the overflow sink was also partly documented. The length of the 4 Valleys System is now about 56.5km. Cueva de Bollón was also pushed in tight passage beyond previous limits. One passage was explored and surveyed north for 65m through very tight passage to a small chamber where the draughting continuation was described as "impossible" but "could possibly be dug". The tight route to the east, approaching the Ovlov Series in Carcavuezo, was pushed for nearly 50m, dug in 2 places, to where it becomes too tight although, again, it may be possible to excavate through.
In Climbing Wall Cave, 250m NW of the western end of Bollón, the narrow rift at the base was pushed through to a tiny chamber and other small extensions made. Five hundred metres south, Candy's Dig (site 1379) was found to be loose with the draught at the top lost at the bottom.
At San Antonio, 217m of passage at Fuente Aguanaz between the resurgence entrance and the middle entrance then up to the boulder choke near the top entrance was surveyed - a job that had been waiting for years.
The Torca la Vaca-Wild Mare system saw the most activity in the Hornedo area over the summer. Jim Lister and Colin Heywood concluded their series of dives from Wild Mare up to Lake Bassenthwaite in la Vaca by surveying 64m through Elephant Sump and taking photographs in the downstream sections. It is now clear that the Lake is part of the main drainage through the cave and not a back water.
A two night camp was planned to push on in passages beyond the Lake. This was a successful exercise, but not without its ups and down. The downside came as the teams were trying to tie in new surveys into the old one - a previous group had surveyed through without leaving marked stations at any of the junctions. One definite highlight was the realisation, on re-exploring the Wasdale Screes area, that tree roots and a spider high up in the final rift indicated surface proximity. After one night underground, some of the group left the cave to return with a set of Molephones. These were used later that afternoon to locate a point directly under a track running around a large depression. People hammering rock on the surface were distinctly heard underground and the explorer high in the rift hammering on boulders in mud was plainly heard on the surface. Surveyed areas from the trip in la Vaca included the Deep Rifts area; two passages off the High Street and passage from Ed's Birthday Passage to the Frizzington Extensions. Six batches of data were surveyed totalling 267m.
The Molephone connection and its apparent closeness to the surface was not allowed to rest. Over the next two weeks good relations were forged with the farmer and a shaft (site 3916), eventually 8.3m deep, dug out from nothing against a small piece of visible limestone. A draught is now issuing from various holes at the bottom and, reassuringly, from the direction of the underground rift. It currently looks as if the top of the rift, roofed with mud and boulders, is above the bottom of the shaft, floored with similar materials. A connection with the rift may be only a couple of metres away and the plan is to have teams with Molephones, radios and whistles, etc once more on each side of the boulders to find the best route through. The first couple of metres of the shaft is against a limestone face with 3 walls of soil and rocks. When the site connects this stretch will be lined with a 2m piece of 600mm diameter, twin-walled plastic road culvert. A 6m long piece was very generously donated to the expedition when we asked for 100% discount at the building materials supplier BigMat in Ramales!
Site 3916 started off with no draught, other nearby holes have a draught and have been excavated to a greater of lesser extent. Site 3905 in the depression has been excavated in a flat out crawl on 7 occasions giving a length of 6m in draughting passage. Another draughting site, 3914, further down in the depression has been dug to a loose chamber.
Continuing exploration started at Easter upstream of the entrance pitch in Torca la Vaca - the Wrong Trousers - a team found the excellent lead closed in after 44m and also discovered that a possible series under the entrance drop was only 22m in a bouldery section.
The downstream Torca de Peña Encaramada sump, which should link into Cave of the Wild Mare, was dived by Tim Webber supported by the Sheffield University Speleological Society team. The sump turned out be small to a cross rift and very awkward on the return. Fourteen metres were surveyed here with another 95m in Yellow River passage further upstream.
The unexplored p8 in Pooch Cave (300m southeast of Torca la Vaca) was descended into a tight rift.
The surprise find in the Barrio de los Urros was the extensive maze cave behind the entrance to site 2917. This was partly explored at Easter but explorers were wary of the creature that had gnawed the large leg bone near tight squeezes. This summer, however, saw Cueva de los Urros pushed to 1400m over 10 trips. Essentially on one main level with some passages 10m above and below, the complicated system takes up no more area than a rugby pitch.
A group staying at La Cavada to the northwest concentrated most of their efforts in the Ideopuerta, La Gatuna, Moncobe and Cobadal areas. At Ideopuerta, Torca de Hoyo Carabo (Washing Machine Hole) was, once again, found blocked with flood debris and sediments and some effort was expended in trying to clear it. In Yo-Yo Cave, a draughting slot was partially excavated in the final chamber but more work is required. Site 3890, explored and surveyed by SUSS, turned out to have more interest than most shafts some horizontal development in the depth of 39m. One hundred metres to the southeast, site 3853 also showed some promise with a chamber at the bottom of two pitches. The only way on at 44m depth appears to require "serious digging" at the base of the final boulder slope. Smaller finds at Ideopuerta included site 3899, a small 7m deep rift and site 3892 - a cool chamber with no way on.
At La Gatuna, site 3496 was excavated on a number of occasions to reveal a 15m pitch with a very narrow draughting rift at the base.
The recent find at Moncobe, El Cubillón, was the scene of bolting where Snail Aven closed in after 18m. In the same area, on the western side of the cave, a boulder choke was passed and passage continued up a waterfall into inlet passage which was followed for some distance but not surveyed. The downstream sump was also inspected with a view to future diving. Various digs were discovered above and to the northwest of the cave. Site 3901 was excavated on six occasions with a return planned after revealing draughting holes; 3902 was aborted after the draught was "lost" and site 3904, where "modest progress" was made.
Five hundred metres south of Barrio de Arriba, site 3029 was dug with a number of draughting possibilities to pursue.
At Camposdelante, the Civil War shelter, site 3543 was hurriedly abandoned when a bouldery wall above a dig started moving. The site (surveyed to 106m long and 21m deep) "may warrant another visit". The dig above the Duck Pond sink is now more focussed as one of the possibilities has met an upward boulder choke. A dig in another direction continues. Site 3830, a deep rift being too wet to descend at Easter, was a disappointment as it choked 21m down with "no prospects". Nearby site 3908 drops in a series of chambers to a tight, draughting but blocked solution tube that would require a lot of work to clear. Eight metres to the east, site 3909 was excavated to a 5m drop into a chamber with a draught coming out of the floor. To the south, site 3907 was dug out to enter 6m of small passage under a sandstone bed.
The list below shows links to those 167 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the summer 2013, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, entrance photos or movie added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS. A map (with out-of-date cave centre lines) showing area names can be found here.
Alisas 189 shaft;
2000 shafts - 2;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Barrio de los Urros 2917 Urros, Cueva de los; 3066 digs; 3925 dig;
Bosmartín 3932 shaft;
Camposdelante 3215 dig; 3543 cave;
Cobadal 2091 dig; 3830 cave; 3907 cave; 3908 shaft; 3909 shaft;
Cubija 71 Mostajo, Torca del; 75 Picón, Simas del; 892 Regaton, Torca del; 975 Cubija, Abrigo de la; 2167 Frank's Cave; 3722 cave; 3723 dig; 3802 dig; 3891 dig;
El Naso 59 Molino, Cueva del; 614 shaft; 615 shaft; 967 shaft; 1599 shaft; 2125 shaft; 2375 shaft; 2785 shaft; 3138 shaft; 3843 dig; 3889 shaft;
Fresnedo 126 Fresnedo 1, Cueva; 582 Virgen, Fuente de la; 672 Regato, Cueva del; 841 Fresnedo 2, Cueva; 994 cave; 2415 shaft; 3018 shaft; 3019 hole; 3824 dig; 3825 cave; 3826 dig; 3827 dig; 3828 cave; 3910 cave; 3911 shafts - 2;
Hornedo 767 Wild Mare, Cave of the; 2889 Vaca, Torca La; 3174 Pooch Cave; 3261 shaft & cave; 3380 Peña Encaramada, Torca de; 3817 Black Marble Hole; 3905 cave; 3906 dig; 3914 dig; 3915 dig; 3916 dig; 3923 shaft; 3924 dig;
Ideopuerta 1970 cave; 1975 Mortiro, Torca de; 2751 dig; 3420 Hoyo Carabo, Torca de; 3578 dig; 3752 digs-3; 3779 caves-2; 3812 Yo Yo Cave; 3821 shaft; 3853 shaft; 3890 shaft; 3892 cave; 3893 hole; 3899 cave; 3928 shaft;
La Gatuna 3496 shaft;
La Secada 81 Carcavuezo, Cueva de; 98 Bollón, Cueva de; 1379 cave; 1452 Hole in the Road; 1504 Climbing Wall Cave; 3895 cave; 3930 caves - 3;
Las Calzadillas 2989 dig; 3195 shaft; 3759 shaft; 3760 shaft; 3855 cave; 3856 rifts - 3; 3897 shaft; 3898 cave; 3900 rift; 3912 shaft; 3913 dig;
Moncobe 2538 Cubillón, El; 3029 cave; 3901 dig; 3902 dig; 3903 dig; 3904 dig; 3926 dig; 3927 shaft;
Muela 116 Yusa, Torca de; 350 shaft; 2338 shaft;
Ozana 14 Gonzalo, Cueva de; 17 Jivero 2, Cueva de; 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del; 32 Transformador, Cueva del; 3884 cave; 3929 Lisa, La;
Riaño 103 Espada, Cueva de la; 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 575 Resurgence Riaño; 640 cave; 641 cave; 936 Fox Cave; 1423 shaft; 1425 cave; 2470 hole; 2691 Giant Panda entrance; 3026 dig; 3566 cave; 3744 cave; 3745 shaft; 3917 SixFourOne, Cueva; 3918 caves - 2; 3919 cave; 3920 cave; 3921 cave; 3922 cave;
S Vega 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la; 384 caves - 2; 671 cave; 1190 Mad Muppet; 2290 resurgence; 2890 shaft; 2891 shaft; 2892 shaft; 2893 shaft; 2894 shaft; 2895 shaft; 3761 cave; 3762 shaft; 3931 shaft; 3933 shaft; 3934 shaft;
San Antonio 713 Aguanaz, Fuente; 3011 shaft; 3012 CTB, Cueva; 3106 cave; 3283 Invisible Cave; 3896 dig;
Secadura 2385 cave; 3721 Lenny's Cave; 3841 dig;
Solórzano 1106 Campiazo, Nacimiento del;
Trillos 1180 shaft; 3894 shaft;
Updated or new cave surveys will be produced in due course:
|0071||Mostajo||data and drawings archived|
|0081||Carvavueso||in hand (major project)|
|2538||El Cubillón||in hand|
|3895||cave (near Carcavuezo)||in hand|
[Abridged mainly from reports by Alasdair Neill and Phil Papard]
A small team spent over a week in Matienzo during a dry October and made inroads into the 4 Valleys resurveying project. A number of old and new shafts were investigated in the Alisas and North Vega areas.
In the Four Valleys System, site 3895 was explored beyond a tight section near the entrance. A number of strongly draughting digs were noted, and an upper entrance connected. This cave is close to the Carcavuezo entrance and is believed to be that used in the past as an alternate entrance, but any connection to the main cave is now choked.
In the entrance series to Cueva Carcavuezo, passages beyond the climb into Big Chamber Somewhere near the Entrance were looked at and surveyed beyond the limit reached in the summer, these appearing to form a continuation of the chokes at the start of the Afternoon Stroll. The BCSNTE was visited on two trips, the climb up being made substantially easier by the removal of two chockstones which previously made the climb pretty tight.
At the western end of the chamber, two passages were explored. One extended about 20m to a possible dig perhaps towards surface, while the more northern was pushed through a draughting dig to a further dig after 35m. Also at the western end of the chamber, a route through boulders in the floor was pushed to an undescended hole dropping to water, presumed to be the upstream sump area.
In the streamway in the "old" cave the area around the upstream sump was investigated, some possible leads requiring bolts to reach.
Downstream an oxbow towards the downstream sump was surveyed and a draughting narrow rift noted.
The complex of rifts on the north side were further surveyed up to the connection to the Western Series.
The Western Series was resurveyed as far as the start of Barn Passage and various passages beyond were revisited.
Overall 267m of new passage were surveyed in Carcavuezo along with 587m of resurvey.
At Riaño, in Cueva de la Espada, a roof passage noted in July was surveyed and various holes dropping back to the streamway found, in a length of 36m. This has been visited before as carbide arrows were found. The stream in the upstream series near the top entrance was found to have stopped flowing due to the dry weather.
The nearby Fridge Door Cave, site 1800, was visited in view of the drying up of upstream Espada. Previous exploration had not progressed far beyond the base of the 6m entrance pitch. On this dry occasion the cave was found to drop into a stream passage generally 3-4m in diameter, leading after 130m to an upstream sump. The passage contains deep mud, and may be largely sumped in wetter conditions. There was a small flow of water. Some draughting passages around the base of the pitch may warrant a further visit; one was connected to a climb from the streamway.
A number of visits were made to the Alisas / Trillos area. Some of the sites appear to have been visited by a previous (Catalan?) group as traces of red paint were seen.
Site 3936 was explored down 27m. Site 3397 was explored to a depth of 52m. A pitch of 18m was then rebelayed to a further 34 m to the floor.
Site 3938, with a second entrance site 3939, was explored down a rift and pitch in a 45m long hole.
Various small holes and digs were investigated on the north side of La Vega.
In total, the October team surveyed 488m of new passage along with the Carcavuezo resurvey.
In November, a visit to cueva de Jivero 2 failed to find any of the invading signal crayfish, but did see a seemingly thriving population of the native crayfish. Site 3153 was dug on a number of occasions revealing pottery and human bones and teeth in an archaeological project led by Peter Smith.
The list below shows links to those 28 sites which were extended or newly discovered over autumn 2013, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, entrance photos or movie added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS. A map (with out-of-date cave centre lines) showing area names can be found here.
Alisas 636 shaft; 2676 shaft; 3397 shaft; 3935 dig; 3936 shaft; 3937 shaft; 3938 cave; 3939 cave; 3940 shaft;
Cubija 75 Picón, Simas del;
Fuente las Varas 3945 resurgence; 3946 resurgence;
Ideopuerta 3890 shaft;
La Secada 81 Carcavuezo, Cueva de; 3895 cave;
La Vega 3153 cave;
Lastrillas 2712 dig;
N Vega 2665 dig; 3941 shaft; 3942 dig; 3943 shaft; 3944 cave;
Ozana 17 Jivero 2, Cueva de; 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del;
Riaño 103 Espada, Cueva de la; 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 1800 shaft;
Trillos 1665 shaft;
In summary for the year -