Matienzo Caves Project 2020

News and cave exploration around Matienzo during 2020.
A map with area names can be found here.

Section links   • Easter / Pre-summer  Summer • Autumn • Christmas / New Year

January / February

   A part-survey of Cueva Vecina (0096), just above Cueva Emboscados (0087) was carried out. Low on the side of El Naso, site 5011 was explored into a 7m diameter chamber with a couple of crawls leading off.
   In Las Calzadillas area, Lorry Pot (1776) was pinned down with a grid reference and further photo. This hole has yet to be explored. Close to this shaft, another small one has been documented (5003). Phil Goodwin completed the survey for La Sima Grande de Las Calzadillas (4772) and provided more photos.
   To the south of the depression, sites 0823 and 4661 have been updated with entrance photos and at San Miguel, Cueva del Llanío (0435) has been better positioned.
   The 200m diameter, circular depression just below the summit of Monte Llusa (west of El Rincón) was approached by walking in along an old track through a depression to the southwest. The Monte Llusa depression, apparently full of jungle according to aerial photos (and standing at the rim), has a number of black holes on 1956/57 black and white aerial photos. In late January, it was easy to drop down through minimal jungle to relatively jungle-free areas under the trees to the base of the depression. Three of the 'black holes' were inspected, turning out to be shallow depressions with no sign of shafts. But it is well worth a more detailed search.
   Jessica Eades has started the Matienzo Bats in Caves Project. Details are found on the dedicated Bats Project page.

   In the hope that an extension to the permit may be granted in the near future, sites around the Cierrolinos area, south of Monte Llusa, have been investigated. These have been given X codes at the moment and some of these have been previously investigated by Spanish groups.
   It's been reported that the Tejuelo group have been in site 4246 (Hoyón 2) but no further details have been given.
   The cavers in the Colectivo Piezo, based in Madrid, have been continuing work to the south - exploring in Cueva del Coverón (0002) and Torca CEZ (3603), trying to link the two systems. Better GPS coordinates for the entrances have been taken but the key would be a more accurate survey of, at least, CEZ to pinpoint possible underground areas for pushing. The group have also explored the nearby Cueva del Tronco (0632) a small passage, entered between blocks, dropping to -20m. They also documented 2808 in the same area near the road, a site first seen by the MCP in 2008 but out of the permit area. Torcón was explored down to -35m in a roomy, "very pretty torca" with routes off but no hope of extension.
   A small group spent a long weekend in Matienzo with the underground activity centred on the dig in site 4732, north of the Mushroom Field. Boulders were removed and a rift entered into 15m of "easy passage". A draughting route down in the rift requires enlarging then laddering to explore. The team had a long walk on the south side of Llueva, visiting the Muela summit then descending to Ogarrio. Most of the holes seen were "out-of-area" so have been documented as X027 to X033. Sites 0170, 1774, 0129 and 0316 were seen and alternative GPS readings taken.

   Due to worries about the spreading coronavirus, specifically that two of the potential participants had recently returned from northern Italy, the Matienzo pre-Easter meeting on March 7th has been cancelled. Some of Phil's Agenda items have been (partially) addressed and those and the Agenda can be seen by following these links:
Meeting Agenda
• Items 3, 4 and 10 - MCP Project report, 60th event and book (Juan). See also Gran Fiesta web page
• Item 6 - Equipment (download - Steve);
• Item 7 - Finances (Sue);
• Item 8 - Bat project (Jessica Eades);
• Item 9 (Easter and summer - please fill these in as appropriate or let Phil / Juan know of dates).

Questions about expedition objectives (items 11, 12, 13) can be raised with Phil through the Facebook page or Google Group.

The list below shows links to those 18 sites which were extended or newly discovered over January and February, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Alisas 4246 Hoyón 2, Torca del;
La Secada 96 Vecina, Cueva; 4732 hole; 5011 cave;
Las Calzadillas 1776 Lorry Pot; 4772 Sima Grande de Las Calzadillas, La; 5003 shaft;
Muela 129 Muela, Torca de la; 170 cave; 316 shaft; 1774 M-8, Sima;
Riva 2 Coverón, Cueva del; 632 Tronco, Cueva del; 2808 Torcón; 3603 CEZ, Torca; 4661 shaft;
S Vega 823 shaft;
San Miguel 435 Llanío, Cueva del;

Easter / Pre-summer

   Date 21/3/2020:
• The Easter expedition has been cancelled due to lock-down in Spain, virtually no transport and social distancing / isolation.
• The summer 2020 events to celebrate 60 Years of speleology around Matienzo have been postponed - to reappear as a 61-year celebration in 2021 - if COVID-19 and the governments allow.
• The summer caving expedition is most unlikely to occur. Some people may be able to visit Matienzo, but there is no guarantee than the current Spanish lock-down will have eased to allow hill walking / caving. A permit has not been issued.
• A small amount of new cave information will be processed and published after Easter, along with maps, etc.

   Date 26/4/2020:
• With Spain and the UK in lock-down, the only update to the speleo info has come from Pete Smith and Neil Rumney.
• Although exploration zones for Cantabria are shown on the FCE website, no permit has been received and all sporting activities throughout Cantabria are currently suspended.

   The small extra area to the northwest that Phil Papard requested when applying for the permit does appear on the FCE map. (The southeast corner of Ribamontán al Monte bounded by the motorway / road to the northwest and having Villanueva approximately in the centre.) The 'X-coded' sites we had previously seen in this area have now been given Matienzo database site numbers and are described on the web site and appear on the maps as sites 5012 - 5036. It is not clear if the northern boundary follows the motorway or main road, so any permit boundary change on the maps will wait until the permit is seen.
   On the northern side of La Vega, four sites were revisited and better positioned. At La Gatuna / Riaño, Pete was involved in the rescue of a calf which had fallen into site 3190. A slim vecino entered the hole, assisted the animal to the surface and said that the hole did not continue.
    Neil sent some pictures from last summer of the passages in Fuente de la Cuvía, Riaño.

Updated sites, including those transferred from the X codes list.

Cierrolinos 5013 shaft; 5014 shaft; 5015 shaft; 5016 shaft; 5017 shaft; 5018 shaft; 5019 shaft; 5020 shaft; 5021 shaft; 5022 shaft; 5024 shaft; 5025 shaft; 5027 Hoyo de la Ribera, Cueva del; 5028 shaft; 5031 shaft; 5032 cave; 5033 cave; 5034 Llusa, Cueva de; 5035 Llusa 3, Cueva de;
La Gatuna 3190 cave;
Monte Llusa 5029 cave; 5030 shaft;
N Vega 446 shaft; 701 shaft; 1002 shaft; 3341 dig;
Riaño 207 Cuvia, Fuente de la;
Villanueva 5012 dig; 5023 resurgence; 5026 rift; 5036 Covachera, Cueva de;

JSC 10/2; 3/3/; 21/3; 26/4/2020