Matienzo Caves Project 2019

News and cave exploration around Matienzo during 2019.
A map with area names can be found here.

Section links: • EasterPre-summer • Summer • Autumn • Christmas / New Year

January

   The University of Lancaster continues its link with the Matienzo Caves Project. Over a long weekend in January, Poppy Ambler, a master's degree student, accompanied by Dr Peter Wynn and Andy Quin collected samples in Cueva-Cubío del Llanío (site 3234 at Riaño) for a study of nitrogen levels in water, mud and stal, hoping to gain some insights into land use over the last few hundred years..
   A walk in heavy showers on the hillside to the south of La Vega provided a couple of new sites above Volcano Cave (site 1391): "probably new" site 4853 - a slot dropping down a few metres and requiring digging gear and site 4854, another dig. Both sites had water running away down the holes in the wet weather.
   Enough rain fell after the weekend to flood the fields in Matienzo, although well below the 2 - 3m higher levels at the end of January four years previously.
   Near the end of January, a water trace from site 1265 to the Carrales resurgence (site 4855) was thwarted when the detector disappeared and a second attempt gave a "negative" result, possibly due to too little OBA or not enough time being given for the OBA to come through.
   (Note: Some earlier January 2019 activities are documented in the 2018 Christmas / New Year account.)

The list below shows links to those 8 sites which were extended or newly discovered over January, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Barrio de Carrales 1265 cave; 4855 resurgence;
El Naso 4856 cave;
Riaño 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del;
S Vega 1186 dig; 1627 dig; 4853 dig; 4854 dig;

JSC 29/1/2019; 5/3/2019


Easter

Introduction
    About 35 cavers visited Matienzo spread over nearly six weeks during and after the Easter period. It was much drier than last Easter and this helped with pushing Fuente Aguanaz. However, the expedition started with some wet weather that curtailed Rupert's work to push towards the South Vega system at sump 6 downstream in Cueva Vallina, so this project will resume later in the year.
    The permit for 2019 has changed by adding the area of Hazas de Cesto as far as the main road but, in agreement with the Federation, we have given up the hill of Vizmaya which will be allocated to a Spanish group. Much work was carried out in this new area in order to understand it and identify sites and caves. Prospecting was made difficult in some places by dense "jungle" with "killer vines" making access very difficult. Despite this, 74 sites and caves were found and recorded, the majority not being recorded previously. A number have been pushed but work (pushing, digging etc) for a large number is still needed. In addition, a further 38 new sites were recorded bringing the number of new records to 112.
   A variety of caves were pushed and surveyed and, in total, well over 200 visits to caves and digs were made over the expedition. Including work done earlier in the year, well over 2.5km of new cave were surveyed (see table) and about 400m of resurvey work carried out.
    The main finds this Easter were in Fuente Aguanaz (0713), where nearly 1km of new passage was found and surveyed; in Now’t but Obstacles (4474) where some 350m was added after many trips and complicated digging and surveying; Cueva-Cubío del Llanío (3234), where over 300m of new passage was found and surveyed - but still the link to Cueva de Riaño (0105) is to be made just some 5m away (assuming surveys are correct!); Torca del Mostajo (0071), where over 300m of new and previously poorly surveyed cave (centre line only) was carried out below the Golden Void pitch, (but still an easy link to the "Manchester Series" is to be found); in La Gatuna, Torca del Cortiguero (4911) was found and pushed for nearly 200m and, in our new area, a resurgence cave, Cueva de Tesugo (4878), was found and looked at by several members of the expedition - but a crawl was missed that was later pushed for just under 100m to a sump that may be worth diving.
    A number of finds are still to be surveyed including Drone Pot (4669) and 3% Pot (4877) in the new area. Bolting work at the Zeppelin Hangers in Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada (0048) and above the Double Dutch pitch in Cueva Vallina (0733) show good possibilities of finds with more work needed.
    The excellent Matienzo Karst Entomology Project continued its work during the Easter period, recovering the many traps placed last year. New specimens taken from some 15 sites including Jivero II, Cueva del Coverón, Cueva-Cubío del Llanío, Sima-Cueva del Risco, Lenny's Cave, La Cuvía, Torca la Vaca, Cueva del Molino (Agua) and La Bodega. The traps and specimens will be examined in the coming months and a separate report on the work produced. However, with the very large number of finds, work to identify all and make a final report will take a long time.

Southern Sector
    At Cueva Vallina (0733), Rupert was not able to continue his diving work due to wet weather early in April but spent time bolting above Double Dutch Pitch where a bolted traverse is now needed to reach a possible upper passage. In the Zona Blanca area near Swirl Chamber work was done surveying and sorting out the survey and the link to passages which the Tortosa Group had found and surveyed. The top entrance to the cave was used to coach the diving team and trial the SubPhones prior to a planned location beyond sump 4 in Fuente Aguanaz (0713). These worked very well but, due to problems with contracting an infection, possibly from polluted water in Aguanaz, this location work had to be delayed until the summer.
   Three new sites were found near Cruz Usaño but not pushed: two caves (4943 & 4945) and a shaft (4944), of which only 4943 was on our side of the ridge.
   In the South Vega System, surveying work and bolting at the Zeppelin Hangers in Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada (0048) was carried out and this has helped to complete this part of the re-survey. The climbing has identified possible higher passages, but more work is needed to get to possible leads. After studying the survey, it is clear that a small passage in Torca de Azpilicueta (0333) past the Pipe Cleaner does drop into one of the Zeppelin hangers through a small hole, but this connection has not been surveyed and is not likely to be the lead seen from below.
   Towards the top of the ridge two sites were found in February (4853 and 4854) both taking water in very heavy rain. At Easter, site 4854 was found to be a long term dig with no draught, and at first 4853 looked similar, but a small hole was noted on the south side that draughted. This was opened up on a later trip with caps to where you can see down a few metres to a possible standing size passage / small chamber. A very thin person may now be able to get down but, in any event, only another session of capping will gain access. Site 0822 was descended some 15m but found to be choked with no good prospect – there had been confusion with another site (Spanish Flea) on the Riva side of the hill also listed as 0822 but this has been corrected and renumbered as 4951.
   The cave 4668 just to the west of Torca del Dron (4669) was checked out to see if it would give access to Torca del Dron. A connection was dug and made but it is awkward and restricted going via several bends to take a route some three times longer than the distance between the entrances. While this was being done it was found that it was easy to get under the concrete beams the farmer had put on Torca del Dron so giving easy access. Later a small metal grid was placed over this gap that can be removed via 2 nuts on our normal 8mm bolts – i.e. a normal bolting spanner. In Torca del Dron a traverse round a drop below the entrance pitch reached a further 25m pitch which on a following trip was descended to find a further very large pitch not yet dropped. This find is still to be surveyed.
   The Active Route in Torca de Corcada (0780) at Seldesuto was pushed together with our French colleagues from Spéléo Club Dijon to gain access to further drops where more work is needed. This Active Route deviates away from the Fossil Route so making the dig in the latter also very worthwhile.
   At Alisas, the shaft 4763 was pushed down a 4m ladder to a 2m climb. On the opposite side of a small chamber is a 3m climb to a choke with no way on. Shaft 4772 was worked on in order to enlarge access to a shaft in the corner of the open hole, but more work is needed. Site 2269 was noted to have much more vegetation covering it and a depression to the south (site 4955) had a small stream sinking and could be a good location for a water trace. (These sites are just to the west of our area and were looked at in liaison with G.E. Pistruellos club to whom details have been passed.)
   In the Cubija valley, possible leads below the Golden Void in Torca del Mostajo (0071) were pushed and over 300m of passage surveyed of which some 157m were new. Previously a section of the survey only had a centre line and was dotted in on the old paper survey. With this work, this defect has been corrected. The possiblE easier link to the Manchester Series is proving elusive. Some radio location work may be needed to fix key points on the survey in relation to each other.
    On El Naso, Cueva de Coberruyo (0138) was photographed and a small extension surveyed to complete the survey work on this site.

The North-East Sector including The Four Valleys System
   In La Secada a number of digs were worked on in the area above the “Mushroom Field”. Progress was made at the strongly draughting site 4805 by the main track in the wood at the far end of the “Mushroom Field”. Shoring was installed to try to stabilise the loose infill. What was thought to be solid bedrock now looks like eroded and detached limestone and more shoring is needed. More materials were taken up to the site in Terry’s 4x4 ready for the summer. Two and a Half Fat Ladies (0880) was dug and several large boulders broken and removed. Digging is now awkward due to lack of space and, in the summer, work will be needed to open up the digging face where there is some open space in front. At site 0252 a little digging was carried out, but it was wet due to the floor being dug too low at the end of last year so pooling up water – again work may progress in the summer. Near the Bar Pot (site 0613) was checked out at the far end of the chamber where there is the strongest draught, but spoil may need to be taken out to the surface.
   At the west side of La Secada, more progress and capping at Socks (1017) was carried out and the site surveyed. The site draughts well but less so at Easter, so it will be checked out on a hot day in summer to identify the best place to dig.
   The area opposite Casa Germán had been burnt off just prior to Easter. Sitting in the bar with a telescope three possible holes were noted in the lower slopes. These were visited one evening and found to be small caves (4946, 4947, 4948) with little prospect but worth recording. No GPS unit was taken on the visit, but Juan located the three sites using his drone on a later day.
   In Llueva, at the archaeology site Cueva Túnel (0658) two of the team observed the use of 3D scanning and photogrammetry by experts working for the Consejeria de Educación Cultura y Deporte to produce a detailed record.
    At Fresnedo, in Cueva Fresnedo 2 (0841), a twelve hour trip to the far end pushed the leads in the extension found in 2018. None went any great distance apart from 30m in a nice streamway, but there are still some side passages to check out and survey in this area.
   In Cueva-Cubío del Llanío (3234) at Riaño, over three pushing trips, more than 300m of new cave was found and surveyed. The extension started at a pitch near B Chamber and reached the same level as Cueva del Riaño (0105), apparently only 5m away. Other extensions seemed to take the cave further away from Cueva del Riaño. It seems quite likely there could be some small errors in the surveys of the two caves given the lengths of passages involved, so locating them with the SubPhones may prove helpful.
   A side passage on the right past The Hub was dug but appeared too narrow ahead with no draught.
   In addition to these trips, a visit was made to collect water samples as part of a Lancaster University project looking to see if paleo-nitrogen levels can be obtained in this cave that is currently below farmed meadow land.
   Above Riaño, a new shaft (site 4889) was found with a choke where easy digging for 1m was carried out on a following trip. The site has easy access and a good draught so it's well worth some more work.

Northwest Sector
   At Solórzano, to the east of the main road, a depression (site 4965) with a small rift feature at its base was found. This site is partially choked by vegetation and cut branches but has a slight draught. On the side of the same depression is a short, narrow, phreatic tube too narrow to enter.
   In Cueva de Collada (0394) at La Gatuna, a lead at the west side of White Russian was pushed and surveyed for nearly 50m, but the dig here and near the entrance did not go and have few prospects.
   A draughting shaft (Torca el Cortiguero, 4911) above and to the southeast of Cueva de Collada was found to drop into a passage, not to go to the cave below but to go up an inlet to the southeast. It was pushed and surveyed to a rift for almost 200m, ending right under a house on the Riaño – Cobadal road.
   A “cold store” cave (4905) was located and found to go for 6m to a low dig with a calcited rift to the right. Also of interest are two caves, (4912 and 4913),which still need GPS locations (so they will not be on the map at present) that go for 5m to continuing passage but with no draught, and a series of rifts that could be easily opened up where stones fall for a few metres and run away. In addition, in this area, there are six choked shafts all about 3m deep (4898, 4900, 4901, 4902 4903 and 4906), a 6m free climbable choked shaft (4918) and two caves (4876 & 4904) that have not been pushed or dug.
   At Hornedo, a trip into Torca la Vaca (2889) via BigMat Calf Hole (3916) was made in order to push possible leads in the Nearly Dan Chamber area, but they were found to either not go or had been previously looked at and surveyed.
   In Fuente Aguanaz (0713) at San Antonio, Mark Smith and Jim Lister carried out a major diving project to push and survey leads in Sarah Jean Passage, climb a high aven and, if possible, locate the aven using the SubPhones. With dry weather and low water conditions, very good progress was made with nearly 1km added to the cave in this area. The aven was climbed to a ledge some 15m up from where the top could not be seen due to it curving out of sight. Work to complete this climb and at another aven in the area will be attempted in the summer. The location work was not carried out partly due to missing one or two pushing days: one of the divers developed a bad infection requiring medical treatment, possibly caused by polluted water in part of the cave. Leads in the main upstream passage were not looked at and will be addressed in the summer.
   The area above the end of Sarah Jean Passage was checked out for possible digs / sites that may link into the system. Two digs (4458, & 4956) were overgrown and looked to be poor prospects but should be checked out in the summer for draughts. Site 4954 did have a small draught and again needs checking out to see if it is worth digging. Tyre Hole (4957) is a rift filled with a small number of tyres. In order to make progress some rock needs removing to get access down a drop of a few metres but, again, no draught was detected at Easter. The one site that was draughting well is the sink at site 2831 that had been dug previously but was thought to need a lot more work. Given its location above the newly found passages, this site needs checking out again to see if digging is worthwhile.
   Further over towards the north, a new hole (4973) was noted adjacent to site 3213 and is still to be investigated.
   Cueva Laberinto (3268) was pushed and dug in the sand choked passage near the big rift but no major extension was found and no significant open leads or good digs are left to be looked at in the cave. In Bamboozle Hole (3333) the draught was found coming from a 8m deep, tight rift that would need capping all the way down - so this dig was abandoned after surveying the bottom area. A dig near the entrance gave access to a blocked rift but no real prospect. The site was surveyed as was nearby 3422. At site 4698 the floor below the entrance 5m pitch was dug and capped but the way on requires a massive amount of work and the dig was abandoned. Two draughting digs in a large shakehole (3630) were dug but more work is needed. The floor below the entrance pitch in cave 3239 was excavated to gain 5m down the slope followed by 3m to a choke and a lot of bones embedded in calcite on the floor. There is no real prospect or easy dig left here.
   In Cobadal the cave 4137 was worked on by capping out a rift to gain access to a cross rift, heading back to parallel to main passage. Other possible leads did not go and no significant leads are left to pursue in this cave.
   Two sites were visited at Camposdelante. The cave 4550 was climbed down a 2m rift to a choked floor. The rift above the floor was seen to continue for at least 6m but is partly blocked by rocks and needs work to get access. The shaft / dig 4574 was worked on to remove a slab of rock preventing progress and a 7m shaft was dropped to where a further rift is about 6m deep. This needs “pinch points” removing, some 3m down, to allow access.
   At Navajeda three new caves were found: site 4967, in a small outcrop, is a 3m sloping descent into a small chamber; 4968 is a 2m crawl to a cross rift where the left branch chokes and the right branch extends 2m to bend, continuing very low, and 4969 - an undercut with small passage going off. Cueva del Rotizo (4460) was visited, and it was noted the entrance is now accumulating rubbish.

North Sector
   This new area for the expedition extends both sides of the main road between Solórzano and the main N-634 road at Beranga. The area has three main types of land: very dense deciduous forest heavily colonised with “killer vines” and other thorny vegetation making access extremely difficult; eucalyptus plantations that allow better access, but can still be difficult, and fairly open farm and fell land, so with easy access. (Photos of the west side)
   The area to the west on the hill of Monte Llusa is mainly covered by very dense forest and, apart from some tracks (used by hunters), access is a problem. There are some old aerial photographs from 1956/57 prior to eucalyptus planning and before this dense forest developed. From this resource, Juan has identified a number of depressions that may have caves in them. These have been identified and marked with "D" codes on the QGIS map for investigating, so limiting the need for random jungle bashing. A few were investigated at Easter, but most remain to be reached. (Maps and photos)
   There are open fell areas on the south side of Monte Llusa that are easily reached from the Garzón side where a number of sites and caves have been found. This area extends into the Anero district which is not in our permission area. A number of sites have been located here (but not examined) and have been allocated a code starting with an "X".
   To the east of the main road, the area extends north from Riolastras and is an area of low limestone hills and valleys and, apart from some patches of dense undergrowth and eucalyptus, has better access.
   A considerable amount of time was spent prospecting in this new area where 75 sites in our permit area not previously recorded were found, located and photographed. In addition, a number of previously known sites were located and some surveyed and photographed. This report does not go into detail on all the finds, only the most interesting or surveyed ones are described below. Thirty two locations were identified in the Monte Llusa area, most of which were new. The majority of finds have not been dug or pushed and are not listed here. Some of the finds are listed below where they have been pushed or appear to have more potential.

    In the Monte Llusa area, a big open shaft (4870) situated next to a small flooded shakehole was descended about 10m to a sloping floor. A more restricted drop at the base was descended 7m on a subsequent trip to a further 5m drop to a dig. The site has still to be surveyed and dug. Nearby 4871 is a smaller, open shaft, 4m deep with a 2m choked crawl under and a further rift that drops down 3m to a blind cross rift. Shaft 4864 was dropped for 12m to where it continues too tight to descend for about 5m to a muddy floor. Shaft 4863 is 8m deep to where there is a small 3m diameter chamber. The floor is loose fill and could be dug, but there was no draught at Easter. A wide hole (4891) next to a logging and walking track up from El Rincón to the open hilltop south of Monte Llusa (marked by red posts) was only a few metres deep but had a small draughting dig that would be a lot of work. A small cave (4874) ends in a short drop, this was confirmed to choke with poor digging prospects. Site 4895 is 3m to a blind chamber with mud floor.
   At Garzón, cave 4960 was entered in walking sized passage, 8m long by 3m wide, to an 11m by 7m chamber, 3m high, with a very low passage on the right, but with no draught at Easter. Cueva de los Moros (4857) opened out down a climb into a 20m by 11m blind chamber.
   At El Rincón, an overflow resurgence (4894) was found to have no flow in dry weather so it was possible to lower the water to gain entry. An attempt was made with a small pump, but a more concerted effort is needed. Another flood resurgence is site 4892, 3m of stooping height passage with a very narrow rift continuing. Site 4942 is a hole to water and a possible dive site behind the main, built-over resurgence (4893, marked with an obelisk). A resurgence (4867) on the valley floor on the north side of El Rincón appears to have a significant flow in wet weather. There is an open small cave just above, but this was not pushed due to having only surface gear and a dead animal in the passage.
   A known cave is Cueva del Rincón (4868) where three places in this rock shelter were dug. The first opened up into a crawl to a small space but with no obvious way on. The second was a promising dig with a low passage sloping away but with no draught. Digging had to stop as possible human remains were noted (tibia and a skull fragment) and left in situ. The third dig is a very low crawl that continues with no draught on the left of a rock-shelter – this would need a lot of work.
   In the Hazas de Cesto and Beranga areas, to the west of the main road just south of the motorway, 15 sites (4928-4942) were located. Again, most were new, although site 4937 had, in fact, been found and a sketch survey drawn by the expedition in 1977. This cave still needs pushing and surveying, but at the time of the visit this Easter there seemed to be some pollution of the small stream. Of the other sites, none had any significant extent of cave except 4933 which is a roomy entrance in a steep, fenced shakehole down to a roomy crawl and a small dig; 4934 which is a 4m climb to a dig with a small draught, which may be worth checking out in hot weather, and 4941, a small complex of rifts and tubes where one smaller entrance has a grill and a rift to the left may dig beyond a couple of blocks.
   In the northern section of Riolastras in the Hazas de Cesto municipality, five new sites were found of which four had not been explored: Bedstead Hole (4916), a shaft that looks to be 4m deep; 4917, a shaft covered with a log where stones fall down "some way”; a dig 4924, and site 4949 a small cave under a thin limestone bed. A deep, large hole (Cueva Colapso, 4927), some 15m across with old cave sections extending all around the bottom, is home to a few bats and seems to be a collapsed chamber. This was surveyed to 68m. Nearby is the known Cueva de las Palomas (4004) that could not at first be found in the forest, the GPS being a little out, now corrected. This 146m long site was surveyed and photographed. The cave seems to be home to goats as a lot of the floor of most passages is covered in their droppings. There is a climb to a possible extension in a chamber where there is a large bat colony. This would be a good site to place a bat detector as access is via a roomy crawl. Cave 4095 was explored 10m to a dig in a small streamway.
   Twenty two new sites were found and recorded in the Hazas de Cesto north (east of main road) area. Of these, 15 are digs or small sites with no significant open cave. The other seven are of more immediate interest. Site 4877 (3% Pot) was found in a small cliff next to a tree. Although it was thought to have low prospects (3%), it was found to drop some 8m to about 30m of passage leading to a second pitch and dig needing work to extend further. This site has a reasonable draught and should be surveyed.
    A resurgence, Cueva de Tesugo (4878) is a walking cave to a dam, a tiny stream entry and a small, choked chamber to the west. On a subsequent visit, a low crawl on the east just inside the entrance entered 35m of passage to where the water in the main cave emerged from a sump and into a sink which appears to flow to the dam. A further passage runs parallel to the low crawl to a choke. In total, the cave was surveyed to 105m and the sump may be a possible dive site.
   Site 4910 is a 20m long sloping cave to an upward dig at the end and is a bat roost. Cave 4919 was a dig that, after removal of a blockage, is now a 30m long cave with a climb down into a phreatic chamber with two ways on to digs, one of which was dug to a choke. It needs checking out in hot weather when there should be a better draught.
   Site 4883 is a collapse hole in a flat area of in-fill in a small valley. A hole in the bottom drops through boulders to an easily diggable choke where you can see along for some 5m. This is likely to meet a stream that sinks not far up the valley.
   A large depression (4923) has a 4m by 5m hole 7m deep to a choked floor. Shaft 4925 is a hole with a large rock over the top and drops 3m to a possible way on if dug.

   The following work was carried out in agreement with the Spanish club G.E. Pistruellos.
   At Moncobe, the shaft 4474 now called Now't but Obstacles was very difficult to push with multiple digs and restrictions to be overcome. However, a lot of cave was found and surveyed over seven trips with 314m added, bringing the length to over half a kilometre. Cave 3029 was worked on to enlarge the drop at the end to reveal small passage, however there is too much work needed to continue. At Barrio de Arriba a draughting shaft (4966) was dug but, to continue, the banking needs stabilising and the site made stock-proof. More work is needed to clear the blockage down the shaft.
Easter expedition article by Phil Papard.

Post Easter
   Pete Smith has recently shown bones from various caves to Pedro Castaños. Those from site 3239 were identified as juvenile red deer or calf; from Two and a Half Fat Ladies (0880)as red deer and, of most interest, the decayed skeleton above Professional Advice Chamber in Cueva Hoyuca (0107) was positively identified as that of a leopard, Panthera pardus.

Survey updates
0048 Reñada (additions) in hand (PP/JC)
0071 Mostajo (additions) in hand (PP)
0138 Coberruyo complete (PS)
0394 Collada complete (JC)
0713 Aguanaz complete (PP)
0733 Vallina complete (JC)
0736 cave (sketch) complete (PS)
0822 shaft complete (JC)
0841 Fresnedo complete (JC)
1017 Socks sketch on centre line
1238 shaft complete (JC)
3234 Llanío in hand (JC)
3333 Bamboozle ??
3422 cave ??
4004 Palomas complete (PP)
4474 cave in hand (AL)
4850 shaft complete (SC+DA)
4856 cave complete (PS)
4871 shaft complete (PP)
4878 Tesugo complete (PP)
4892 resurgence cave complete (JC)
4911 Cortiguero / Litigation complete (JC)
4919 shaft complete (JC)
4927 Colapso complete (PP)
4951 Spanish Flea complete (Madrid)


The list below shows links to those 205 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the Easter period, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or video clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.


Alisas 2269 shaft; 4763 shaft;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Barrio de Arriba 4971 sink;
Barrio de Carrales 467 cave; 1264 cave; 1265 cave; 1266 cave;
Beranga 4937 resurgence;
Camposdelante 4550 shaft; 4574 cave;
Cobadal 4137 cave;
Cubija 71 Mostajo, Torca del; 75 Picón, Simas del; 892 Regaton, Torca del;
El Naso 59 Molino, Cueva del; 77 Rascavieja, Cueva de; 138 Coberruyo, Cueva de; 150 Canto Cocurryo, Cueva del; 724 cave; 736 cave; 4192 shaft; 4856 cave; 4915 cave;
El Rincón 4862 sink; 4863 shaft; 4864 shaft; 4865 depression; 4866 dig; 4867 resurgence; 4868 Rincón, Cueva del; 4869 Barrera de la Real, Cueva de la; 4892 resurgence; 4893 resurgence; 4894 resurgence; 4895 cave; 4896 shaft; 4897 collapse; 4942 dig;
El Sedo 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del;
Fresnedo 841 Fresnedo 2, Cueva;
Garzón 4857 Moros, Cueva de los; 4858 shaft; 4859 sink; 4860 cave; 4861 shaft; 4960 cave; 4961 dig; 4962 sink; 4963 cave; 4964 shaft;
Hazas de Cesto (east) 4877 3% Pot; 4878 Tesugo, Cueva de; 4879 resurgence; 4880 dig; 4881 shaft; 4882 sink; 4883 dig; 4884 sink; 4885 resurgence; 4886 cave; 4887 dig; 4907 Boiling Well; 4908 resurgence; 4909 depression; 4910 cave; 4916 Bedstead Hole; 4917 shaft; 4919 cave; 4920 shaft; 4921 shaft; 4922 shaft; 4923 depression; 4925 dig; 4926 digs; 4927 Colapso, Cueva;
Hazas de Cesto (west) 4928 hole; 4929 hole; 4930 rift; 4931 shaft; 4932 dig; 4933 cave; 4934 cave; 4935 cave; 4936 sink / cave; 4938 resurgence; 4939 cave; 4940 shaft; 4941 cave;
Hornedo 2889 Vaca, Torca La;
Hoznayo 4970 Picardos, Los;
La Colina 1010 cave; 1557 cave; 4946 hole; 4947 cave; 4948 cave; 4958 dig;
La Gatuna 394 Collada, Cueva de; 4876 cave; 4898 shaft; 4899 resurgence; 4900 shaft; 4901 shaft; 4902 shaft; 4903 shaft; 4904 cave; 4905 cave; 4906 shaft; 4911 Cortiguero, Torca del; 4912 cave; 4913 dig; 4918 shaft;
La Secada 84 Cosas, Cueva las; 148 cave; 252 cave; 603 Near the Bar Pot; 866 cave; 867 cave; 880 Two and a Half Fat Ladies; 1017 Socks; 4805 dig;
Las Calzadillas 4772 shaft;
Las Piqueras 4955 sink;
Llueva 658 Túnel, Cueva del; 2100 cave;
Moncobe 3029 cave; 4474 shaft; 4966 dig; 4972 collapse;
Monte Llusa 4870 shaft; 4871 shaft; 4872 hole; 4873 resurgence; 4874 cave; 4875 shaft; 4888 cave; 4890 depression; 4891 shaft;
Navajeda 4460 Rotizo, Cueva del; 4959 cave; 4967 cave; 4968 cave;
Ozana 12 Concebo, Cueva del; 17 Jivero 2, Cueva de; 1162 Orillonzuco;
Piluca 714 cave;
Riaño 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del; 4536 Sub-phone entrance; 4850 shaft; 4889 shaft;
Riolastras 4004 Palomas, Cueva de las; 4095 cave; 4924 hole; 4949 cave; 4969 cave;
Riva 2 Coverón, Cueva del; 4944 shaft; 4945 cave; 4951 Spanish Flea; 4952 dig; 4953 hole;
S Vega 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la; 333 Azpilicueta, Torca de; 822 shaft; 823 shaft; 824 shaft; 1238 shaft; 2551 hole; 2552 dig; 3537 shaft; 4668 cave; 4669 Dron, Torca del; 4853 dig; 4854 dig; 4943 cave; 4950 shaft;
San Antonio 713 Aguanaz, Fuente; 2831 resurgence & sink; 3213 cave; 3239 cave; 3268 Laberinto, Cueva; 3333 Bamboozle Hole; 3422 cave; 3630 digs; 4458 dig; 4698 shaft; 4723 sink; 4954 dig; 4956 Daisy Hole; 4957 Tyre Hole; 4973 hole;
San Miguel 500 Pico del Castigo, Cueva del; 843 shaft; 844 shaft;
San Pantaleón de Aras 421 Entrambascuevas 1; 422 Entrambascuevas 2;
Secadura 288 Bodega, La; 2787 Otero 2, Cueva del; 3721 Lenny's Cave; 4914 cave;
Seldesuto 780 Corcada, Torca de;
Solórzano 2713 Toca, Cueva; 3961 Nicanor, Cueva de; 4965 rift;

Pre-summer

   Tom Thomson updated the summary of the work to date of the Matienzo Karst Entomology Project.
   A BCRA field meeting titled Hypogenic Caves of the North Pennines UNESCO Global Geopark was held at Nent Head, Cumbria over the weekend, 29th / 30th June. Chris Scaife was joint presenter for a talk about the latest hypogenic cave find in the North Pennines, Cutthroat Cave. Juan Corrin attended the meeting to pick up more information about how such caves are formed and how to recognize indicator features in hypogenic caves. Possible candidates are (at least) parts of Torca la Vaca (2889) and Cueva de los Urros (2917). More information will appear in due course.
    Rupert Skorupka was active in Cueva Vallina (0733) for 6 consecutive days from 30th May. Downstream diving conditions were not favourable so exploration continued around the top of the Double Dutch Pitch. However, leads crapped out so his focus moved to Jochen's Aven (see Pre-summer, 2018). First the climb up was re-rigged and new passage entered by traversing around an 80m pitch with anchors in good rock just above a 2m thick shale bed - but the route beyond closed down almost immediately. On his last day, Rupert started to rig the 80m pitch, dropping through a slot about 10m down to where the walls belled out and he was "hanging below a dense forest of 2 - 3m long, pristine white stals, hundreds of them on either side." Having used up his 38m rope, ending at a bolting route necessary for a free hang down the main pitch, he had to leave Zarco's Shaft, hoping to return in the summer with more people.
   Local caver Carlos Lamoile Martinez visited Cueva de Entrambasaguas (0381) noting that the trees over the shaft had fallen in taking down a number of blocks into the shaft. He also found a draughting hole on the side of Muela, below Cueva de los Espinos (0489) which was investigated in the summer.
   Most speleological man-hours were expended by Phil Goodwin, Phil Parker and Alf Latham over an 18-day period from 6th June, concentrating on holes at Garzón and Las Calzadillas.
   Six sites were examined at Garzón, to the west of Solórzano. At the base of a small cliff, site 4975 drops into a 3m wide, rubbish strewn chamber with an short ascending slope. Another entrance in a cliff is site 4976 - a walk-in entrance to 14m of passage with lots of calcite ending at a blockage with no draught. Just 8m away site 4977 was found as a draughting dig where lots of work is required. Some 160m to the southwest, site 4978 was also found as a draughting hole with a couple of metres visible. Site 4989 was explored down a p9 into "unpleasant rock" with no way on and a parallel shaft ending at the same level. Site 4990 was found covered with limestone slabs hiding a 2m drop to 8m of zig-zag passage ending a 2m climb down into a 7 x 5 x 3m high chamber with no way on. Further north, towards Monte Llusa, a small shaft, site 4993, was noted but not descended.
   Fourteen holes were investigated at Las Calzadillas. Site 4771 was dropped 8m after opening up the tight entrance. About 50m to the north, a constriction in a shaft at site 4772 (now called La Sima Grande de Las Calzadillas) was opened up and a p20 explored to a small chamber with the draught coming from a rock-choked rift under one wall. A small draughting hole, site 4980, was opened opened up then left for a larger team. Site 4984 also had a draught with a hands-and-knees entrance to a cross rift with boulders. A sloping entrance at site 4985 led down to boulders and a low continuation while site 4988 was a slide down into a small chamber with roof of boulders. Site 4992 was found as an open entrance to a small chamber with formations. There is a continuing passage with a draught that needs excavating.
Possible digs for the future were sites 4979, 4981, 4983, 4986, 4987, 4991, and a wet weather sink (site 4982) was noted.
   At Moncobe, further excavation was carried out in site 4474, clearing one blockage but quicking reaching a point where more work is required. In site 4525, a shaft was widened but still requires more work, and a hole through a calcite plug was opened up to allow access to a sloping passage that ends, flat-out with a small hole and an encouraging draught.
   Site 3692 at Ideopuerta was excavated but all leads appeared to either close up or require too much work.
   At Riaño, a couple of days were spent continuing to dig out a draughting lead 20m past The Hub in Cueva del Llanío (3234). The inhabitants of the bee hives on the walk from the entrance took a dislike to Phil Parker, stinging him six times although without serious effect. A different route to the cave was taken on the second day of digging.

The list below shows links to those 34 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the Easter period, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or video clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Alisas 4757 shaft;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Garzón 4975 cave; 4976 cave; 4977 dig; 4978 dig; 4989 shaft; 4990 cave;
Ideopuerta 3692 dig;
La Colina 381 Entrambascuetos, Cueva de; 382 Entrambascuetos, Sima de;
Las Calzadillas 4625 shaft; 4769 shaft; 4771 shaft; 4772 shaft; 4979 dig; 4980 dig; 4981 dig; 4982 sink; 4983 rift; 4984 cave; 4985 cave; 4986 dig; 4987 dig; 4988 cave; 4991 dig; 4992 cave;
Moncobe 4474 shaft; 4525 shaft;
Monte Llusa 4993 shaft;
Navajeda 4967 cave; 4968 cave;
Riaño 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del;
San Antonio 3268 Laberinto, Cueva;