MATIENZO CAVES PROJECT
Cave exploration around Matienzo during Easter, Whit and Summer 1998
Juan Corrin, August 1998
The list below links to those sites which were extended or newly discovered over the year, or which have had surveys updated or entrance photos added.
0033 0035 0037 0039 0042 0046 0048 0064 0066 0073 0074 0077 0087 0106 0151 0155 0237 0251 0258 0264 0333 0355 0370 0392 0393 0415 0457 0458 0583 0663 0733 0764 0852 1128 1130 1176 1184 1185 1215 1218 1246 1250 1263 1267 1271 1272 1278 1281 1282 1283 1284 1285 1286 1287 1288 1289 1290 1291 1292 1293 1294 1295 1296 1297 1298 1299 1300 1301 1302 1303 1304 1305 1306 1307 1308 1309 1310 1311 1312 1313 1314 1315 1316 1317 1318 1319 1320 1321 1322 1323 1324 1325 1326 1327 1328 1329 1330 1331 1332 1333 1334 1335 1336 1337 1338 1339 1340 1341 1342 1343 1344 1345 1346 1347 1348 1349
1998 was the 28th year of British caving expeditions to Matienzo (area map) and it proved somewhat disappointing on the speleological side. At Easter, about 1km of new passage was surveyed through very wet and cold weather and, in the summer, about the same amount of new passage was explored. A total passage length of 2038m was surveyed. Fewer people than usual (including only four Catalans) visited the area in the summer although over 120 different sites were discovered, extended or visited.
Most new passage was explored in Toad in the Hole, where the draughting Baz's Choke was dug through in a couple of places and pushed into extensions totalling 583m. A further 46m was explored off Patrick's Silly Passage in Correspondent's Capers, about half way to the end of the cave. Toad is still proving difficult to push.
Diving in Cueva Vallina at Easter, Martin
Holroyd and Ross Greenwood discovered the true source of the water in the
upstream sump 2. The passage continues underwater. In sump 3, another 50m
was explored to a cross rift. In the summer, a muddy climb off Toc
Gallery entered the Rope Climb Series, a muddy series of higher
level passage which may still continue. Explorations in the New York Gallery
suggested that this may be the best pushing area to achieve a link with
the South Vega System. The Catalans explored 66m after climbing up 15m into
the Resistance Gallery inlet. The length of Cueva Vallina is now 26054m.
In the South Vega System, no new passage
was discovered by bolting and climbing up in the final, China Syndrome
The Cantabrian Cultura authority has begun to gate some archaeological sites
around Matienzo: to date these include Cobrantes,
Sotarraña. On the day gating starting
at Sotarraña, a resurvey of the cave was finished and the length set
Extensions in El Bodegon, near the Secadura resurgence, included a small passage which came from half way along the cave back to and beyond the entrance, at a lower level.
On the north side of La Vega some exploration was carried out in Rascavieja, where 83m was added to the length. A short distance to the east of Rascavieja, site 1271 descended in a tight rift for some 45m. Epiglottis Cavern was opened up and 55m of well decorated passage surveyed. Around El Naso, near the end of Cueva Molino, site 1295 started with a 4m pitch and was explored for 37m, closing down in both directions. Further north, above La Secada, Torca de la Cruz Llorada was pushed without success and lower down in an old stream bed, site 1300 descended down 2 pitches to close in at a depth of 20m.
Above Cueva Hoyuca, where a large patch of eucalyptus trees had been felled, a number of small pots were descended. Near to Torcón, Cueva del Cuervo (La Cuevona), a spectacular 100m long gash enclosed in trees was walked into. The overhanging, 20m high cliffs at the northern end may have a completely choked passage. An inlet 7m up one wall was too small to follow.
Other explorations included the exploration of Sima del Canado, some 17 years after being seen. Unfortunately, the shaft choked at a depth of 55m.
During the summer, a couple of parties in the Covachos de Peña Jorao extended the length by 490m to reach 8147m.
The total number of sites documented around the Matienzo depression has risen by 90 and is now 1349 with over 211.7km of explored cave passage. To date, no grants have been received from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts or the Sports Council.