3380: Peña Encaramada, Torca de
Hornedo 30T 447739 4801293 (Datum: ETRS89. Accuracy code: G) Altitude 121m
Length 4931m Depth 52m (Nov 2023)
Area position : Resources : Logbook search

Updated 19th July, 1st November 2010; 6th January, 24th, 27th May, 16th October 2011; 15th January 2012; 7th, 8th October 2013; 24th, 25th May 2014; 1st July 2018; 30th November, 8th December 2023

   Major extensions were made in November 2023 over 7 trips. Extensions were found from the I Want It All area south to the Champagne Supernova Series. Pre-December 2023 cave description.

  The entrance is a small, outward draughting hole in a small depression about 4m from the road. A slide down a mud slope goes under two boulders and drops into a fluted, limestone hollow. A climb up the opposite side reaches the 30m pitch head. Two bolts on the right (backed up by a large outcrop, also on the right) allows an awkward, feet first, flat out approach to the pitch head. (Note: a rope protector is needed to avoid the inevitable rub.) A steeply sloping pitch starts over calcited features - many have been removed to make the drop safer. A deviation after 6m avoids the majority of the rub. The pitch was heavily decorated with (loose) calcite, now much removed and / or rather grotty, again making the pitch safer. The initial landing is on boulders wedged in the rift then a tighter, gnarly, final 6m to the bottom.
  The way on is via the lower but wider sand-floored passage to a right turn at a T-junction. A squeeze around stal columns leads to further stal columns which can be bypassed on the left. A blind hole in the floor is crossed over then obvious passage is followed, watching out for the loose walls which tend to collapse rather too easily. Side passages are mainly dead ends. At one point a pile of fallen slabs marks the position of the Bridge of Doom - a roof collapse feature, now destroyed. (See photos below).
  Shortly after this, a passage goes off on the right. This leads to fragile rift passage and the way on to the lower series via a ladder pitch at the start of the rift. (A 10m ladder is required with a long belay to a boulder at the start of the passage - although two 10m ladders work well.)
Back in the main passage the route leads past two sets of "pretties" (care!) to gradually descending passage to a drop of 2m (on the right on stals) into the final section. Immediately after the drop there is an aven on the right that appears free climbable but is awkward. This has not been climbed yet but a way on can be seen. Further on is an excavated hole in the floor which is a climb down 2m to a constricted rift with pretties and a possible pitch down to the Sump Series seen ahead. Back on the main level, the way on is straight ahead to a sandy aven. To the left is a sand choke with a possible easy dig to continuations. Ahead is a sandstone boulder choke. To the right is small, crawling passage to an approximately 7m pitch with a puddle at the bottom. (This is believed to connect to lower Sump Series, but not proven as yet.)
  It's Not Big and It's Not Clever is a low, crawly, horrible dead-end on the right near the end of the higher level, dry series.

  Back at the the turn off to the lower Sump Series and the ladder pitch down, the water can be followed through hands and knees / walking passage for approximately 300m. Several oxbows have been noted and one significant inlet on the right (Orange River). At around this point numerous eels have been seen. The passage continues downstream to a wider area with minimal airspace which sumped off after slight rain. This was dived in the summer 2013 by Tim Webber. At 14m in, a cross rift is met with sandstone boulders and a possible way on. The dive line at this point has "Encaramada" written on it. The sump is very tight at the start: the returning diver was stuck for 5 minutes until he removed his cylinder and helmet. This point must be very close to Cave of the Wild Mare.
  At the foot of the ladder to the lower Sump Series, upstream ends at a calcite blockage but with "bigness" apparent beyond. The way on is to the right via thrutching passage to a chamber which has a hole in the roof. This has been disto'd to 23m. The way on is on the left of the chamber followed by a right turn. Going upstream, a climb over a stal curtain passes various avens and inlets. (At the top of the climb a passage to the left veers right for 5m and has sign and sounds of "bigness" ahead. This was not entered due to lack of time). A notable climb up on the left enters a boulder-filled chamber leading to a sump and boulder-filled aven (I Want Me Mum Chamber). The upstream continuation - at various levels according to girth - is in sharp and very gnarly passage. This is where the Easter 2010 survey ended with a small inlet on the left leading to a small, low passage with a sump. The way on is now dry with an inlet on the left leading to a "reasonable" 5m climb up to dry sand / mud phreatic passage (not entered). Back in main passage the way on trends left and slightly uphill with the way on continuing lower and wider. No draught was evident at the time or the "grab-fest" would have continued.

The cave was extended by 2373m in the summer, 2010. The unattributed passage descriptions below are mainly written by Dickon Morris (summer 2010).

  Above the upstream sump in the lower streamway is a 5m climb, Stairway to Heaven. A short crawl at the top pops out into walking size passage. To the left is about 20m of passage terminating at a choke where a cattle tooth was found - El Torro choke. Going right from the top of the climb the passage continues fairly pleasantly.
  After 50m a junction is reached. A ramp to the left leads to about 100m of passage - Wish You Were Here - terminating in a stal choke. Above the passage just before the ramp a passage in the roof can be followed to a small, blind pot with a passage on the other side - this is unpushed.
Just before the pot, a passage to the left leads via an extremely tight squeeze to a large rift which is unpushed. The right hand passage is pleasant for 100m and reconnects at the El Torro choke.
  Continuing on from the bottom of the ramp, the passage becomes too tight after about 30m directly after some impressive stal. The way on is an obvious step up to the right where a squeeze with a strong draught is reached after 30m. Twenty metres after the sqeeze the passage becomes very narrow but there is an obvious step up to the right. After 60m of crawling and stooping, the passage pops out in a large stream canyon.
  To the right, the canyon immediately becomes low but continues for over 100m to a too tight squeeze. Worming through boulders to the right leads back to the far side of the stal squeeze.
  At Easter 2014, at the southern end of the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and opposite the entrance to the passage leading to Tin Man Junction, a short series of passages were entered. These are apparently previously entered but the survey included a nice grotto which didn't seem to have been previously visited. (Batch 3380-14-02. Length 97m).
  On the same trip, some digging was carried out just after the pitch into This Way and That - an offset on the survey. A sandy crawl breaks into a larger continuation but access is prevented by boulders. A wreaking bar would probably allow entry, but the air seems stale.

  I Want It All area south to Champagne Supernova Series [Amendments and additions by Rob Eavis - November 2023. Video of these explorations.]
  Going left down the stream canyon leads after 10m to a concealed junction with a major side series (Wizard of Oz Series) to the left. Twenty five metres later a choke is reached and worming easily through this enters the most pleasant passage in the cave (Long Road To Ruin) which is a 300m stomp to a boulder choke.
   Just before I Want It All, a passage on the right (labelled "open" on an earlier survey) was entered and surveyed as "3 oxbows back to the main passage" at Easter 2014. (Batch 3380-14-01-Oxbows, length 59m).
   Passing this choke (I Want It All) involves a tight and awkward squeeze (The Pug Trap) which pops out into a very large chamber with high avens.
   By climbing to the top of the boulders it is possible to reach two high level passages. The first is reached by a bold step. A walk up a narrow ramp leads to about 70m of varied passage ending at a tightly packed boulder choke, passing a 10m deep rift which remains undescended. Just before the final choke a small body-sized tube draughts strongly inwards but is too tight to enter.
   Back in the large chamber a passage can be seen on the wall opposite but requires a rope traverse. The traverse (de-rigged) starts at the edge of the last big boulder that you can stand on at the top of the boulder slope where two bolts are easily visible. It's an easy traverse around the left hand wall, using 4 bolts and a 20m rope. The ongoing passage is on the opposite wall and begins as a nice walking sized passage. Following this passage, you pass a blind pit on the floor. The passage leads to a chamber with numerous ways on. A slide down a mud slope traversing the right wall, care needs to be taken here as the slope leads down to the head of a blind pitch (-16m). This pitch was descended to a mud filled floor with no ways on (and no draught). Whilst on the re-belay it's possible to see a passage approx. 4m above the bolts, this requires bolting into. Back at the top of the pitch the main way runs parallel to the pitch, heading SW taking care on another bold step across a 7m pitch (undescended - doesn't look promising). At the start of this passage a tall rift heading northwest can be entered. This rift continues for 14m until a tight squeeze is reached. This could be passed with a hammer or a very determined thin caver. The rift can be seen to continue after the squeeze.
   Slytherin now continues as a walking sized joint oriented passage which after 5m a boulder blocks the way on and requires an easy climb up and over. After 10m a small climb down is reached, at the bottom is a hole in the floor along the entire left hand side of the passage, this remains undescended but does not look promising. Traversing along at mid-level leads to an awkward climb (2m) into a 4m long awkward rift (a sideways crawl is the best way to pass this). Care needs to be taken on the way back out as you crawl headfirst to the climb down! At the end of this tight crawl a climb down a sloping boulder leads back into the main rift. After about 2m the rift becomes tight and the only way on is the crawl at floor level heading south. The crawl brings you out into a small chamber with avens (un-climbed). Following the left-hand wall leads to a 5m pit choked with mud. Staying high you can traverse around to a boulder choke. The choke hasn't been fully explored - the way through the choke is quite obvious, from where you finish the traverse. Heading right and down a mud slope, a small step up through a "keyhole-shaped" hole can be seen on the right hand wall, through this leads to a large well decorated rift. 3m along this rift is a tight rift descending NW but looks too tight to enter. A window is passed on the left, this leads to Nosferatu (see below).
   The rift continues on a solid floor which soon gives way to a false floor "hopping exercise". None of the holes in the floor have been looked at. The way on is to stay high and work your way across the mud covered boulders. After 10m a very well decorated section is entered, Ollivander's Wand Room. A passage cuts off to the north just after Ollivander's Wand Room. This was not entered. Ten metres further a large passage heading north can be entered via an easy traverse/climb down, sticking to false floor ledges! Care to be taken as to how secure these ledges are. This passage was pushed until the rift became too wide. A passage can be seen heading off at the top of a collapsed mud slope but a black void can be seen beyond, a very promising lead.
   Back in the main rift, a flowstone constriction is reached. A wet crawl on the left hand wall is passable but a drier way is to climb up the flowstone and squeeze between a stal grill (caution needed with formations). The passage now changes and a solid floor is regained in a large clean washed rift passage! A hole in the left leads to a blind aven/pot, the rift beyond the aven was pushed but is blind after a few metres. The main rift now terminates in an impressive sandstone boulder choke. It may be possible to bypass this choke by bolt-climbing.
   Nosferatu can be entered by climbing through an obvious window on the left hand wall, halfway along the decorated rift leading to an easy step across a hole in the floor. This section appears to be part of the muddy boulder choke as seen previously, and could have numerous ways of accessing it. The way on is right, southwest, passing between two stal fangs! (care needed). A further 5m enters a much larger passage with extensive breakdown, This passage wasn't fully explored and would benefit from a second look.
   Heading southwest, after 20m a huge boulder splits the passage into two, SW leads to a loose sandstone choke, this looks passable (care needed) as a black hole at the top can be seen (not entered). Water can be seen dripping down an aven? making it a very draughty place (promising lead).
   The second passage heading west from the large boulder changes noticeably from worn scalloped walls to very sharp limestone. The passage now heads SW again, passing a few cross rifts (not explored). After 10m a cross rift cuts across the passage. On the right hand side a pitch (-6m) was freeclimbed. At the base of the pitch the passage continues NW for 6m reaching two tall avens (require bolting and surveying).
   Back at the pitch head the main passage continues for 7m to a large boulder choke at the base of an aven. It's possible to follow the right hand wall for a short distance before coming choked at this level. A climb up here leads to a crawl from a perched boulder (not pushed). It may be possible to bypass the choke via a bolt climb.
   Back in I Want It All, at the base of the main chamber are a few passages going off. The area was revisited at Easter 2014 and the following observations made. There is a very strong draught through the initial squeeze into the large chamber, much stronger than that coming from the entrance to Map of the Problematique. Up in the boulder pile above the squeeze, in the side passages surveyed on the original survey, the final leg with no passage detail leads to a complete choke. The undescended pitch is about 10m, in a rift, and not obviously draughting. It's hard to say if there is passage below. There are possibilities of a few high level leads but they may just be blind alcoves.
   The way on south is down the obvious slope and into the short, flatout crawl on the right. This soon reaches a T-junction with the main stooping passage that becomes the Map of the Problematique. After 25m a small stream is reached. This flows into a slightly smaller passage on the right which heads NW for 120m to a mud blockage. A couple of draughting avens on the right remain unchecked. Heading upstream the main passage continues passed numerous smaller passages which have not all been fully pushed.
   One on the left after a further 30m was explored in 2023 which reaches a tall, draughting cross rift after 25m which requires bolt climbing. Further on the passage becomes wetter but remains a good size until Absolution Aven is reached after 150m, on the left (more on that later). Here the main passage enters a maze-like area with many different routes through, including some not surveyed nor explored. All are crawling or flatout, some in water. There are two routes into Absolution Aven. The obvious is to the left just before the water and then up a boulder slope to the right. This was the route followed in 2011 and requires a bold climb up over boulders. An alternative was found in 2023 by taking the 3rd right and climbing up a smaller, parallel rift. 10m up this (the aven continues high above, unclimbed) a small route through boulders links into Absolution Aven proper. Here the roof is 20m high and it is possibly the largest room in the whole cave.
   Once through the maze area the main passage south is comfortable stooping/hands and knees to the end, roughly 200m away. However, after only 20m a passage off to the left leads to 260m of unusual passages (Champagne Supernova Series). Initially missed off the 2011 survey, this extension is predominantly a small tube which accesses numerous, phreatic cross rifts/passages, each much bigger than the connecting tube. Two of these have exceptional helictite formations. The draught comes from the very end of the small tube, which is too small to progress further along.
   During Easter 2011, the route at the south end was pushed through over 2 trips to a large cross rift forming the current end of the cave south. Here there are numerous leads in the roof that require bolting, but the main horizontal passages close down. Fuller descriptions for batches 3380-11-01 and 3380-11-02 will (hopefully) appear here. The end of the cave is about 80m horizontally away to the northeast and about 50m down from the sink, site 3170, at the base of the giant Hondo depression.
   It is worth noting that the drawn survey of this end section does not match well with the cave and should really be redone. The team in 2023 started to do this, found the Champagne Supernova Series after only 20m and got no further…!

  Wizard of Oz Series From the junction with the canyon is about 80m of mostly crawling passage to a junction with a walking size passage (Tin Man Junction). To the left soon reaches another junction where the left hand passage is very pleasant for around 60m passing some 1.5m long straws before it reaches a section with some good, dry gour pools and becomes completely choked with flowstone. By entering a rift to the left as you reach the final section of passage it is possible to climb down and pass through a squeeze. This pops out in the roof above the step after the stal squeeze earlier in the cave and provides a useful shortcut.
  To the right at Tin Man Junction is 60m of narrow but reasonably high passage to a chamber with a cairn and two ways on. The left hand way is a yellow-floored passage (Yellow Brick Road) which goes for about 80m to a boulder choked aven. Straight on at the junction leads, after a crawl and a squeeze, to a sandstone boulder choke. This has been passed by the author to reach a walking size passage with a good draught and heading in the "right direction". However, the choke began to fall on the return so stabilising is required.
   At Easter 2011, this was passed and the area described thus: From the corner before the Dickon Trap (heading towards the end) left leads 5m to boulders. Right leads through a crawl to a small chamber followed by a further crawl to a small sandstone choke. A duck under a boulder and a hole in the floor and a crawl to the Dickon Trap. A climb over boulders leads to a small aven where the passage descends to a small muddy / sandy meandering rift passage which can be followed for 40m through a couple of constrictions. Straight on up the slope leads to a calcite blockage. A climb up the rift back on yourself leads to a 15m aven blocked at the top with boulders. There are no leads to push. The Dickon Trap Extension is surveyed as batch 3380-11-02.

  The upstream sump in the lower streamway was found to be open in July 2010 and was passed to about 100m of low, unpleasant passage.

A diagram of the hydrology of the San Antonio - Hornedo - Cobadal area drawn after Easter 2011 can be found here.

The explorations in the summer 2011 were mainly around the entrance series - 463m were surveyed. Most details are on the survey. Details that can be gleaned from the log book include
   - 5m down the entrance pitch, an oxbow can be swung into. There is about 35m of passage including a pretty grotto, a too tight rift and, the most obvious route, leading to a wer choke. (batch 11-05)
   - a series at the base of the entrance pitch has about 50m (batches 11-04 and 11-13)
   - batches 11-08 and 11-10 were surveyed beyond the 2m climb at the northeast corner.
   - batch 11-09 was surveyed as a traverse over the top of the p10 to a too tight rift and an aven which may be worth bolting.
   - batch 11-11 drops into a streamway which became too tight downstream. Water was followed upstream then the water was left and the passage pushed to a small chamber. Beyond is a series of small chambers which contain footprints - I Want Me Mum Chamber. Also around this series the following note was made:

   During the very wet end of July 2011, there was a stream observed coming out of the boulder choke that links into the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
This stream flowed along the normally dry passage and encouraged investigation of a few side passages.
This map shows the observed and presumed path of the water.
At each point the volume / time seemed to be the same – hence the assumption that this was one stream appearing and disappearing.
This flow reappears in a new section of stream way which drains to the sump series and then the “main“ stream.

Link to entry in the Cave Diving Sump Index.

References: anon., 2010b (Easter logbook); anon., 2010c (summer logbook); León García José, 2010 (Volume 1 and Volume 2) (survey and photo); Corrin Juan, 2011 (photo); anon., 2011b (Easter lobgook); anon., 2011d (summer logbook); anon., 2014b (Easter logbook); Papard Philip, Corrin Juan and Smith Peter, 2014; anon., 2023d (autumn logbook)
Entrance pictures: 2010, 2014 : autumn 2023
Underground pictures : 2010 : 2011 : 2014 Easter (Tim Webber) : 2014 Easter (Martin Hoff) : autumn 2023 (Jon Pemberton) : autumn 2023 (Rob Eavis)
Video : downstream, summer 2013 (YouTube) : Easter 2014 (YouTube) : autumn 2023
Detailed Survey : Easter 2010 (incomplete) : after summer 2010 : Easter 2011 (incomplete) : after summer 2011 (incomplete from Easter 2011)
Easter 2012 (complete) : summer 2013 : Easter 2014: autumn 2023
Line Survey :
On area survey : beneath a 3D landscape (Therion file, January 2012)
Survex file : yes (Dec 2023) (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.) Archived Nov. 2023
Hornedo area with Wild Mare Cave and Torca La Vaca (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)
Passage direction rose diagram: 1/7/2018