Matienzo Caves Project 2018

News and cave exploration around Matienzo during 2018
A map with area names can be found here

Section links: • EasterPre-summerSummerAutumnChristmas / New Year

January & February

   At the start of January over 70 sites were updated with amendments, photos and videos supplied by Phil Parker, some dating back to 2009, and others requiring new numbers (4646 - 4651). The numbers aren't itemised in this narrative but can be found in the list at the base of this January / February section.   Peter Smith provided a new survey for Cueva Asiul, one of the palaeoclimate study caves, and provided information on sites 4659 - 4666, listed below. Diane Arthurs & Simon Cornhill completed the drawn up survey for the recent extensions in Cueva del Bosque.
   The entrance to the magnificent Cueva de Suviejo (site 122) has been gated by the authorities to protect the archaeological items. The Suviejo-Rayo de Sol through trip (apparently a favourite with Spanish caving groups) is no longer possible.
   The entomology research team (Tom Tompson, et al) have been granted a collection permit for April, although not without considerable effort involving IUCN, the EU Commission and the Vice-President of Cantabria!
   In mid-January, some time was spent by Rupert Skorupka in Cueva Vallina taking dive gear to the downstream sumps and re-rigging the Double Dutch pitch. No diving was possible due to the high water levels although he is now ready for diving in March.
    The latter part of January and the first couple of weeks of February saw some intense speleological activity, and heavy rain at times. Cueva-Cubío del Llanío at Riaño was pushed hard by Torben and Peter, the Danish team, (5 trips totalling 45 hours) but no connection with Cueva de Riaño was found. A number of leads were inspected, the highlights being B Chamber and 100m of very well decorated passage above it. One passage ends at an easy dig in a bedding approaching, at the same altitude, a possible dig in Shrewd Find (site 4188). In total 600m of passage was surveyed including 100m of passage scampered in the summer but not surveyed. One lead that is being pushed is a 25m pitch - the Danes have partly rigged the drop but were driven back by water cascading in. There are still a good number of other question marks on the survey for people to look at, especially towards the northeast end.
   Llanío was also investigated as a possible site for student (masters) research into nitrate inclusion in stal as a record of historical agricultural methods.
   The early-February team (John Southworth, Bob Riley and Phil Goodwin) spent 7 days mainly looking at holes in the Garzón and Hornedo areas. A short trip into the top level of Torca la Vaca (through the original entrance) confirmed that the chokes in the passage approaching Lake Bassenthwaite could possibly be dug.
   At Hornedo, in a steep valley opposite (north of) the Torca la Vaca entrance, a sustantial stream sink (site 4653) was found with a hole nearby (4654) that reached the underground water and has interesting possibilities. A possible resurgence has been identified but has yet to be investigated.
   A couple of sites about 700m east of Torca la Vaca and first found in 2011 were extended: a boulder blockage in site 3568 was removed and the passage continued for some 20m; in site 3569, a sandstone block was destroyed to allow access into 2 parallel passages with good formations.
   Near Garzón, optical brightener was injected into sink 4658 (close to dig 4052) and positively detected at the resurgence (3282) for the río Santa Juliana, a feeder into the main Riaño - San Antonio valley - see hydrology page with map. There is a 1.3km straight line distance between sink and resurgence with a depth potential of about 90m. Shaft 4652 was documented as a 6m deep shaft with car tyres needing removal before the site can be explored.
   At Camposdelante, site 4592 was enlarged, allowing access to a tight vertical squeeze, a boulder floor and the route blocked by a large slab.
   The recent work on palaeoclimate was concluded when Laura Deeprose brought out the remaining logging instruments and paraphernalia from Cueva de las Perlas.
   Just below Cueva de los Tres Niños, site 4657 - a possible cave and alcoves along an overhanging cliff line - was video'd as a possible aid to a future abseil exploration.
   Excavation was started again at site 1438 on the northeast side of El Naso. Two days were spent following a draught in February but the site now needs stabilising.
   Patrick Warren has written an extension to Inkscape which will produce a passage orientation rose diagram from any Survex 3d file. This could easily be added as information to an Inkscape survey. Details can be found on Patrick's Github site.
   The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies from May 2018 to all organisations. All old paper and computerized forms (database) have been destroyed and we're starting afresh with caver information from this Easter. The information (primarily used for rescue purposes) will be kept on paper and not computerized. The form will be checked each time you arrive in Matienzo with new insurance details added. The form can be downloaded here. Expedition cavers may find it more convenient to print out the form and fill it in before arriving in Matienzo.

  The list below shows links to those 108 sites which were extended or newly discovered over January & February 2018, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.

Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva; 753 Rotura, Torca de;
Barrio de Arriba 4259 rift; 4461 shaft;
Barrio La Mina 2381 shaft; 3954 caves; 3968 rift; 3969 cave;
Camposdelante 1976 Duck Pond sink; 3215 dig; 3543 cave; 4592 rift;
Cobadal 4435 dig; 4441 sink;
El Naso 61 Asiul, Cueva de; 74 Perlas, Cueva de las; 1438 dig;
Fuentecil 2832 hole; 2942 dig;
Garzón, Solórzano 4052 dig; 4652 shaft; 4658 sink;
Hornedo 2889 Vaca, Torca La; 3048 dig; 3166 dig; 3282 resurgence; 3286 dig; 3568 Split Entrance Pot; 3569 Twin Entrance Cave; 3572 Big Rock Cave; 4653 sink; 4654 shaft; 4655 dig; 4656 resurgence (old);
Hoznayo 4498 resurgence; 4501 resurgence;
Ideopuerta 3420 Hoyo Carabo, Torca de; 3752 digs-3; 3812 Campizos, Cueva de los; 4428 cave;
La Helguera 4046 Arroyo de Canastrillas, Cueva del;
La Secada 4532 dig; 4657 cave;
Las Calzadillas 4108 shaft; 4109 shaft; 4110 shaft;
Moncobe 2545 dig; 3544 shaft; 3669 caves; 3747 dig; 3901 dig; 4094 shaft; 4473 shaft; 4474 shaft; 4483 dig; 4523 shaft; 4524 shaft; 4525 shaft; 4526 shaft; 4529 cave; 4639 shaft; 4640 shaft; 4641 shaft; 4642 dig; 4643 sink;
Navajeda 3981 cave; 4041 shaft; 4144 Laberinto 2, Cueva; 4145 shaft; 4146 cave;
Ozana 4062 K23, Sima;
Piluca 4659 cave;
Riaño 640 cave; 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del; 3316 resurgence; 3917 SixFourOne, Cueva; 3918 caves - 2; 3919 cave; 3921 cave; 4173 Shelob, Cueva; 4176 cave; 4188 Shrewd Find;
Riva 486 Fuente de la Pila, Cueva de; 1760 Blas, Torca de; 4661 shaft; 4662 cave; 4663 shaft; 4664 shaft; 4665 shaft; 4666 shaft;
S Vega 4660 shaft;
San Antonio 2831 resurgence & sink; 3007 shaft; 3012 CTB, Cueva; 3283 Invisible Cave; 3290 dig; 3291 Entrada Tres; 3422 cave; 3450 El Suto, Torca; 3453 cave; 3605 shaft; 4646 dig; 4647 shaft; 4648 hole; 4649 dig; 4650 collapse; 4651 dig;
Secadura 122 Suviejo, Cueva de;


   The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies from May 2018 to all organisations. All old paper and computerized forms (database) have been destroyed and we're starting afresh with caver information from this Easter. The information (primarily used for rescue purposes) will be kept on paper and not computerized. The form will be checked each time you arrive in Matienzo with new insurance details added. The form can be downloaded here. Expedition cavers may find it more convenient to print out the form and fill it in before arriving in Matienzo.

Easter Expedition Summary Report
   About 40 cavers visited Matienzo over four weeks during and after the Easter period including visitors from the UK, USA, Hong Kong, Germany and Denmark. This year, the early Easter started in wintry and wet conditions and only dried up into warm conditions later in April after many had left for home and work, although efforts continued until late April when Rupert returned to continue his work in downstream Vallina.
    The wet conditions helped with our water tracing project where a sink at Alisas was tested to Fuente Aguanaz (0713) with other sites at Comellantes (0040), La Riega (0551) and Wild Mare (0767) all negative. This confirmed the massive catchment for this cave.
    However, the wet conditions in late March and early April restricted efforts in Cueva de Carcavuezo (0081), Fuente Aguanaz (0713) and resurvey work in Reñada (0048). Despite this, a wide variety of caves were pushed and surveyed including Torca del Dron (4669), a major find in the well-trodden area near the TV mast track, found by Juan’s drone - and important extensions in Fuente Aguanaz (0713) when the water levels were low enough to gain entry. Site 2038 was checked out and pushed down two pitches to reveal a further 150m undescended pitch. Cueva-Cubío del Llanío (3234) was added to, but the elusive link to Cueva del Riaño (0105) is still to be found. Just under two kilometres of new cave was surveyed and, if we add in the length of shafts and caves found and measured but not surveyed, the total of new cave was 2490m. One-hundred and seven new caves / sites were located and just less than 400m of resurvey work was completed mainly in the Cueva de Carcavuezo (0081) and Cueva de Coberruyo (0138).
   The Matienzo Karst Entomology Project, under their own permit, continued during the Easter period with many traps placed and specimens taken. A wide variety of sites were visited including Secadura in Lenny’s Cave (3721) and La Bodega (0288), other sites visited in the Matienzo area are recorded under the relevant section below. The traps will be examined later in the year and a separate report on the work will be produced.

Southern Sector
   In the Riva area the entomology project set traps in Cueva del Coveron (0002) and five undescended shafts (4673, and 4735, 4736, 4737 and 4738) were noted and recorded. (Details will be passed to current permit holders for cave exploration in this area).  At Cueva Vallina (0733), Rupert continued his diving work, but the wet weather hampered his push in sump 6 which will be continued when conditions improve. A trip to Galería de la Cisterna (West off Swirl Chamber) pushed the system down pitches and added a further 168m.
   At Cruz Usaño two new sites were found, a cave (site 4710) was pushed for 4m to a small hole, and a small hole between blocks was descended for 10m to a further 8m shaft not descended due to lack of a third ladder. Three known sites were descended: 0824 is a 12m shaft to a boulder floor with no obvious way on; 0822 was descended 5m to a further undescended pitch estimated at10m deep; and site 0823 was considered to be of no speleological interest!
   In the South Vega hillside, Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada (0048) was too wet to safely enter for part of the time, so only one photographic trip took place beyond the Blow Hole and, on a separate entomology visit, traps were set in the entrance series prior to the lake.
    A number of new caves were found and pushed. The most significant is Torca del Dron (4669) located just below the TV Mast track and identified, along with other sites, by Juan with his drone. This open surface shaft leads down pitches to a big 80m shaft with passages going off at the sides. At the bottom of the big pitch, further pitches followed to where leads choked off. Almost half a kilometre was surveyed and more work is needed to push remaining leads. This is an important, 167m deep site situated in a fairly barren area of South Vega where potential for significant new cave exists.
    In the area around Drone Pot and elsewhere in South Vega a further 16 sites were found and some known sites were photographed and accurately located. Some will need further investigation: site 4714 was pushed down two pitches with a possible passage seen at roof level needing bolting to gain access and 4668 was pushed about 20m to the top of a pitch. A number of these new sites have some promise for digging / pushing, including 4670, 4671, 4672, 4680, 4681 and the area around 3933 where a number of holes need checking and locating accurately. Shafts 3679, 3671 and 3672 were pushed to chokes at 4m depth with no draught and 3673 was descended to 2m where the shaft got too tight, but with no draught.
   At Seldesuto, work on the draughting dig (1298) that lies just beyond the present end of the South Vega System, continued at the top of a pitch. Loose infill was shored up and the pitch top opened out to allow access down to a boulder chamber where a good draughting day is required to see the best prospect to push at this key location. The site was surveyed to 26m.
    A pushing trip into Cueva del Arenal (0035) was curtailed when the entrance slope was found to be almost sumped! At Torca de Corcada (0780) the “fossil route” was pushed at the far end by capping down to a corner and then along through a decorated crawl to where further capping is needed to drop down a tight rift that looks bigger below. Work will continue at this site which is in a key area between the present limit of the South Vega system / Arenal and Torca del Hoyón (0567)
   At Alisas sinks 1969 and 2035, 2036 and 2037 were checked for possible dye testing and later 5 litres of OBA was placed in 1969 to emerge at Fuente Aguanaz between 2 and 3 days later following very heavy rain. Eleven new sites were found and located (4750, 4751, 4752, 4753, 4754, 4755, 4756, 4757, 4763, 4764 and 4765). Of these, six were descended to between 2 to 6m where they were either choked or too narrow and two shafts (4764 & 4765) remain undescended. The 4 other caves found all need digging if any progress is to be made.
   Seven known sites were checked out, but site 2001 could not be found. Three sites, (2002, 2007, 2013) closed down and site 1994, which takes a stream, was descended 6m to a choke. The main interest and finds were at site 2038 and 2052. The shaft 2038 was pushed over three trips down two pitches to where rocks fell a considerable distance through a hole in a choke. This was opened up to reveal a big, undescended pitch estimated to be 150m deep. At 2052 the shaft was descended for 40m to where it got tight, rocks fell for a considerable further distance. These sites are just to the west of our current permit area and were looked at in liaison with G. E. Pistruellos club who have been passed all the details.
   At Las Calzadillas eleven new sites were found, two (4769, 4770) choked 7m down and 4772 was a 25m shaft to a choke. Shaft 4771 remains undescended at about 8m deep and a cave, site 4766 was pushed 6m down a slope to an undescended 7m pitch. The known site 4624 was descended for 13m with no way on. Three undescended shafts 4683, 4684 and 4685 were located, and two possible digs (4687 & 4688) were found.
   On North Vega, the upstream sump in Cueva del Bosque (0373) was dived by Simon Cornhill and found to be 6m long to a passage ending in a small chamber needing capping to make any progress. An inlet was surveyed in the downstream section and 116m added to the survey. Shaft 1003 could not be located in the position shown on map and Los Hoyos was also not found, but the GPS here seems likely to be correct. Four known sites (0812, 0819, 0834 & 0820) were located, photographed and new GPS taken. Site 0833 was descended for 5m to a choke with no draught. In the same area, two new digs were found (4716 & 4717) of the two site 4716 is draughting and seems to open up into a rift. Both need a little work and caps to make progress.
   In Cubija, possible leads below the Golden Void in Torca del Mostajo (0071) were checked out for a link to the Manchester Series. A spit was replaced at the Golden Void and errors in the survey noted. More work is needed to check for possible connections. On the last trip, it was found that a surface bush fire had swept through the area burning the entrance rope which had to be replaced. The cave was found to be smoky and the trip was aborted at the Golden Void. In the past we had noted thin black lines and layers in some sediments. This event may be a real time example of how, at least some, of these features are formed.
   On El Naso, Cueva de Coberruyo (0138) was resurveyed over a number of trips, extending the length by about 50m to 200m. A 7m pitch on the left side in Cueva de Rascavieja (0077) was dropped to an oxbow back to the main passage at a higher level.  A new shaft (4696) was pushed down for 5m to where capping is needed to make further progress. Shaft 4022 was dug, but it was noted that the draught seemed to be affected by the wind. The site needs to be checked for draught in warm, still weather to see if the draught shows the site to have potential - it is not a short term dig. Shaft 1526 was dropped for 6m and confirmed that it choked. Two new possible digs (4718 & 4729) were located and shaft 1604 was photographed by drone, showing the burnt off area on the east of the valley.
  In and above the Ozana arm on Mullir, an undescended new shaft 4731 was located. Shaft 0810 was visited and a sketch of the site was made, but it is not clear if the number is correct – caves in the area in the 0800 series need checking out further. At El Sedo the entomology project set traps and collected specimens in Sima-Cueva de al Risco as well as taking photographs of the formations in Where the Spiders Go.  In Ozana, an undescended shaft was found (4747) needing vegetation removing to gain entry.

North-East Sector and The Four Valleys System
   In La Secada, at Cueva de Carcavuezo (0081) it was found that direct access to the Boy’s Entrance route was flooded, meaning access had to be via the Western Series. There was also standing water in the Afternoon Stroll. This flooding resulted in having to abandon the planned pushing trip to Trident via the sump at the end of SW Passage. The time was spent on the resurvey work with 292m surveyed of which 60m was new.
   Cueva de los Tres Niños (0565) was checked for further leads and a rift in the entrance area was pushed, adding 63m of new survey. In La Cuvia (0086), the entomology project set traps and took photographs.
    In the area to the north and east of the “Mushroom Field” a number of sites were dug and pushed. Near The Bar Pot (603) was dug and opened up to make access easier - more work is required. Site 0252 was dug along a sandy crawl and up to where daylight came in via a very small hole. Ron Taylor’s SubPhones were used to locate this site on the surface and a second entrance was then dug (4732) to allow easier digging of a draughting crawl. This was excavated into a short section of walking passage with a dig down a tight sloping passage at the end, and a climb up to an undescended 3m drop. The cave was surveyed to 82m and will be pushed further in the summer. At Three Fat Ladies (0880) (now called “Two and a Half Fat Ladies” given the number), digging down in the floor where a rift enters the spacious passage continued and after some 3m the wall turned under thus forming the roof of the continuing dig. Given its location and the passagesize, this is a key dig site. Site 1017 was found to need capping to get into a possible bigger section. Using Patrick’s endoscope, sites 1483, 3531, 3528 and 1172 were checked and all were found to be tight and so not good prospects. Cave 1505 was also visited: the scope worked well, showing the bigger section in this known cave, proving that the equipment did work.
    In Riaño, Cueva del Llanío (3234), was visited over a number of trips. The link to Cueva del Riaño (0105) was searched for and a further 262m of cave was surveyed including Napoleon Passage. The wet 25m pitch was dropped to find it choked. At the same time in Cueva de Riaño (0105) the area closest to Cueva del Llanío was checked and 121m of new passage surveyed. However, so far this elusive link is still to be found. In both caves the entomology project set traps and took photographs.
    Work to stabilise the Giant Panda entrance (2691) was carried out and a tube was placed at the bottom of the entrance drop. Stainless steel hangers were placed with a rope through the tube for cows tails, so bypassing the crawl onto the pitch. The site is now open but some work remains to secure the entrance drop (with a bigger diameter tube) and “foam”, and secure some loose rock voids around the bottom tube. This will be done in the summer as well as checking out the pitch below.
    Two new sites were found, Torca de Edraith (4712) was pushed to a depth of 15m and surveyed to 19m. A parallel shaft at the end has a good draught and needs work (capping) to gain entry. Extra Special Pot (4713) was pushed and surveyed for 63m to a tight rift blocked by calcite and needing work to progress. El Recostón (4734) was checked out and dug, but a drag tray is needed if more progress is to be made. At the resurgence, Fuente de Escobal (0383), work progressed removing calcite dams when water levels allowed, following on from the work started over the Christmas period. Entry was gained into 234m of new stream way making the total cave 276m long. The passage splitting up at the end into smaller sections thus giving little prospect of further accessible cave passage.

Northwest Sector
   At Hornedo, there were three trips into the original entrance to Torca la Vaca (2889). A dig in the boulder chokes at the end of the passage heading south from Red Pike Junction had slow progress and there are no plans for return. A second visit planned to photograph formations etc., but problems on the pitch to the middle level cut short the trip. The third trip set traps and collected specimens as part of the entomology project. On one trip via BigMat Calf Hole (3916), 87m of new passage was surveyed in the Lechuguilla Passage area, with some digs and leads left to be looked at. A trip into Cave of the Wild Mare (0767) to push a side passage to the west was hampered by the high water levels.
    A small dye test using OBA was carried out at cave 3010 with positive result at the resurgence 3282 but negative at the resurgence 0980. Three new sites were located: a dig (4748) where a flake was removed that stopped access but more work is needed to make progress; a resurgence (4749) coming from under a house, and a large sink (4758) into a tight passage which requires a major digging project.
    At Cueva de Felipé (3862), the boulders at the end had moved and could collapse in the near future. The tight continuation was pushed for 10m. The shaft 4654 was pushed and linked to a dig 4655 with no way on or digging prospect found. Big Rock Cave (3572) was pushed down 6m to a slope and 10m crawl where it closed down. At Twin Entrance Cave (3569) a pitch of 8m was found to be too tight to progress. A hole 4656 was looked at again and thought to be an old ice house.
    At La Gatuna a trip was made into Cueva de Collada (0394), via the Eastwater Entrance (4537) with the object of looking for leads in the effort to push towards Friday the 13th Passage in the far SE of Torca la Vaca (2889). A new passage near the bottom was pushed but lack of time meant it is still to be surveyed. A new surface shaft (4730) was found and descended for 3m to a choke, and the known shafts 0399 and 3374 were dropped to chokes at 6m and 7m respectively.
    At San Antonio, as part of the water tracing work, the 5 litres of OBA placed in sink 1969 on the 10th April emerged at Fuente Aguanaz (0713) on the 13th April following very heavy rain, a travel distance of about 7km, dropping about 575m. All other sites were negative. This trace demonstrates the big potential for this site. (Details here.)
    Diving and pushing work at Fuente Aguanaz (0713) was hampered by the wet weather with flooding covering diving gear left at the bottom of the entrance drop at one point. Despite this, 4 diving trips were made, plus one to retrieve the submerged diving gear. Jim Lister and Mark “Killer” Smith dived the sump at the end of Sarah Jean Passage, broke through the choke but found no easy route on. A way under was pushed to a further sump that was polluted with what appeared to be wood pulp. On a second trip the same team checked the final sump at the end of the main passage and got to a low airspace in the tight passage with the sound of running water beyond. In lower water levels this should be possible to traverse and will be looked at in the summer, water levels permitting. A 90m long inlet on the east past sump 2 was found: the end needs capping to make progress. When water levels dropped, Jim Lister on two solo trips reached sump 5b in Sarah Jean Passage where visibility was zero and third margins meant it was not passed. Side passages in the dry section were examined including one large passage walked for 10mins and left still going. On the following solo trip, 90m of the main passage to sump 5b was surveyed. Work will continue in the summer.
    Twenty-nine new sites (4689 to 4709; 4719 and 4722 to 4729 - see lists below) were found and GPSed. Of these: the shaft 4699 was worked on over four trips getting down a 9m pitch to a further drop of 5m. More work is needed to make progress. A 6m deep rift (4698) was dropped to a draughting dig in the floor.
    A number of other sites were visited: cave 3422 was found still to be accessible; cave 4618 was found to be worth digging but requires caps, saw and digging tools to progress; Cueva del Palo de la Mesa (4386) was photographed; cave 4620 was GPSed and dug - there is a slight draught but a lot more work is needed to progress, and shaft 4623 was dropped 3m to a choke.
    At Cobadal, rock was removed at the Shanty Town Dig (2090) over two days to allow digging in the floor and local children joined in the digging effort! It was not clear which is the best option for digging as the draught was poor in the cool weather. The site needs checking in hot conditions to check where best place to dig is.
    The following work was carried out in agreement with the Spanish club G.E. Pistruellos. At Barrio de Arriba, a traverse in Las Grietas (4606) was bolted over a pitch that was 10m deep to a passage that was too tight both up and down stream. Capping of a tight section at the traverse level led to a small chamber with a bigger chamber seen through crack. This was capped open but no way on found in this further chamber. Tthe system was de-rigged. Four new sites were found: a cave 4759 was a walked down a 6m boulder slope to a choke which was dug but more work is needed; shaft 4760 is 3.5m deep with no way on; shaft 4761 is 6m deep to a choke and shaft 4762 is a twin drop under a small cliff that needs enlarging to gain entry. In addition two trips were made into the mines 1561 and 4251.

Easter expedition article by Phil Papard.

   An OBA water trace was carried out from site 3566 (in the Fox Cave valley near Riaño) which proved positive 2 days later at site 3282, the Santa Juliana resurgence at Hornedo which is in the second valley to the west, 1140m distant and about 28m lower. More details can be found here under water trace 3282-04.
   A nice set of photos of Snail's Pace Passage and the streamway of Cueva del Molino has been contributed by Carlos Lamoile Martinez.

Survey updates (table expanding - not complete)
0071 Mostajo (amendments) in hand (PP)
0081 Carcavuezo in hand (PF)
0105 Riaño (Grey Rift N) in hand (PF)
0138 Coberruyo (resurvey) complete (PS)
0252 with site 4732 complete (PP)
0373 Bosque complete (DA + SC)
0383 Escobal complete (DA + SC)
0713 Aguanaz complete (PP) - see summer table
0733 Vallina complete (JC)
1298 Seldesuto dig complete (PS)
2889 Vaca complete (JC)
3234 Llanío complete (JC)
4669 Torca del Dron complete (JC)
4712 Torca de Edraith complete (AHi)
4713 ESP in hand (TT)

  The list below shows links to those 229 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the Easter period 2018, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.

Alisas 1969 shaft; 1994 sink; 2001 cave; 2002 cave; 2007 shaft; 2013 shaft; 2035 shaft; 2036 shaft; 2037 shaft; 2038 shaft; 2052 shaft; 4750 cave; 4751 shaft; 4752 shaft; 4753 cave; 4754 sink; 4755 shaft; 4756 shaft; 4757 shaft; 4763 shaft; 4764 shaft; 4765 shafts-3;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Barrio de Arriba 1561 Favorita, Mina; 4251 Cueva en una Mina, La; 4606 Grietas, Las; 4759 cave; 4760 shaft; 4761 shaft; 4762 shaft;
Barrio La Mina 3099 shaft;
Camposdelante 4592 rift;
Cobadal 2090 Shanty Town;
Cubija 71 Mostajo, Torca del; 72 Hoyos, Sima de los;
El Naso 77 Rascavieja, Cueva de; 138 Coberruyo, Cueva de; 1526 shaft; 1604 shaft; 4022 shaft; 4696 shaft; 4718 shaft; 4733 shaft;
El Sedo 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del;
El Suto 3817 Black Marble Hole;
Hornedo 767 Wild Mare, Cave of the; 980 cave; 2889 Vaca, Torca La; 2907 Stink Pot; 3010 cave; 3282 resurgence; 3569 Twin Entrance Cave; 3572 Big Rock Cave; 3862 Felipé, Cueva de; 4654 shaft; 4655 dig; 4656 resurgence (old); 4748 dig; 4749 resurgence; 4758 sink;
Ideopuerta 4686 shaft;
La Cavada 551 Riega, La;
La Colina 4211 cave;
La Gatuna 394 Collada, Cueva de; 399 shaft; 3374 shaft; 4730 shaft;
La Secada 81 Carcavuezo, Cueva de; 86 Cuvia, La; 252 cave; 351 shaft; 565 Tres Niños, Cueva de los; 603 Near the Bar Pot; 880 Two and a Half Fat Ladies; 1017 shaft; 1064 cave; 1172 dig; 1483 dig; 1505 cave; 1554 depression; 3528 shaft; 3531 cave; 4657 cave; 4729 cave; 4732 hole; 4739 sink; 4740 shaft; 4741 depression; 4742 shaft; 4743 cave; 4744 shaft; 4745 shaft; 4746 hole; 4773 sink;
La Vega 312 Mazo, Cueva del;
Las Calzadillas 4624 shaft; 4683 shaft; 4684 shaft; 4685 shaft; 4687 rift; 4688 depression; 4766 cave; 4767 dig; 4769 shaft; 4770 shaft; 4771 shaft; 4772 shaft;
Muela 4731 shaft;
Mullir 810 shaft;
N Vega 373 Bosque, Cueva del; 812 shaft; 819 cave; 820 shaft; 833 shaft; 834 shaft; 1003 shaft; 4716 dig; 4717 dig;
Ozana 1808 Casa Blanca, Cueva de; 4747 shaft;
Riaño 105 Riaño, Cueva de; 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 383 Escobal, Fuente el; 1630 cave; 2691 Giant Panda entrance; 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del; 3566 cave; 4536 Sub-phone entrance; 4712 Edraith, Torca de; 4713 Extra Special Pot (ESP); 4734 Recostón, El;
Riva 2 Coverón, Cueva del; 516 shaft; 517 XLs, Torca; 521 Arrendajo, Sima del; 2808 shaft; 4673 shaft; 4735 shaft; 4736 shaft; 4737 shaft; 4738 shaft;
S Vega 40 Comellantes, Cueva del; 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la; 53 Roca, Sima de la; 242 Tablons, Cueva de los; 331 shaft; 339 shaft; 369 cave; 377 cave; 822 shaft; 823 shaft; 824 shaft; 865 Cantones, Cueva de los; 1185 cave; 1342 cave; 1391 Volcano Cave; 1699 cave; 1879 cave; 1937 depression; 2290 resurgence; 2732 dig; 3671 shaft; 3672 shaft; 3673 shaft; 3679 shaft; 3933 shaft; 4660 shaft; 4667 resurgence; 4668 cave; 4669 Dron, Torca del; 4670 cave; 4671 dig; 4672 shaft; 4674 cave; 4675 rift; 4676 shaft; 4677 shaft; 4678 shaft; 4679 dig; 4680 shaft; 4681 shaft; 4682 depression; 4710 cave; 4711 shaft; 4714 shaft; 4715 rift;
San Antonio 713 Aguanaz, Fuente; 3422 cave; 4386 Palo de la Mesa, Cueva del; 4615 rift; 4618 hole; 4620 cave; 4623 shaft; 4689 cave; 4690 rift; 4691 shaft; 4692 dig; 4693 cave; 4694 dig; 4695 Children's Play Cave; 4697 cave; 4698 shaft; 4699 shaft; 4700 sink; 4701 sink; 4702 hole; 4703 hole; 4704 depression; 4705 shaft; 4706 dig; 4707 cave; 4708 rift; 4709 rift; 4719 dig; 4720 cave; 4721 rift; 4722 dig; 4723 sink; 4724 sink; 4725 collapse; 4726 rift; 4727 dig; 4728 hole;
Secadura 288 Bodega, La; 3721 Lenny's Cave;
Seldesuto 35 Arenal, Cueva del; 780 Corcada, Torca de; 873 dig; 1298 dig;

Pre-summer expedition

   Rupert Skorupka spent part of his June visit climbing an aven in Cueva Vallina (site 0733) in Arredondo. This fine solo effort started in Jochen's Aven near the end of FN Passage, close to the start of November Passage and progressed some 40m along some "extremely hazardous" traverses with tons of rocks poised to collapse and some bolts placed in shale or calcite "purely for balance". The passage description is found in the site description for Cueva Vallina, here.
   The descriptions for a significant number of sites above and around Cueva Vallina have been kindly updated by Guy Simonnot with 42 new sites added. These updates are included in the list below the "Summer Expedition" write-up, along with a number of photographs of sites from Easter.

Summer Expedition

   The caving enclave in Matienzo continues to enlarge with Torben, Louise, Karen and Marie's house now having a new roof and balcony, and the Dingles' house progressing well. The key non-caving event this summer was the wedding of Carolina and Chris at a big marquee in La Via with a coach trip out for guests to Cueva El Soplao, lunch at San Vicente de la Barquera and a wander around Santillana del Mar. Also a sporting trip to Stuffed Monk in Reñada and a trip into the entrance chamber of Cueva del Agua were arranged - both on the morning of the wedding.
   The weather during the summer expedition was generally dry but followed a long period of very wet weather. The result was that high water levels prevented work in Fridge Door Cave (1800) and hindered some of the work in Fuente Aguanaz. About 30 cavers were out over the summer spread over five weeks including the wedding weekend of Carolina and Chris on the 25th August. Over 2.25km of new passages were found and surveyed (including some very important finds) and 650m of cave was re-surveyed. Important extensions were found in Cueva Fresnedo II (0841), Fuente Aguanaz (0713), Cueva Vallina (0733) and shaft 4474. There were explorations in a new, 175m long, well decorated cave (Cueva Buena Suerte, 4774) in Torben and Louise's woodland at the side of the new cabaña.
    Thirty new sites were found, and 130 visits made to caves and digs within our area, with some good progress made at significant digs. These included: a new, strongly draughting dig (4805) in La Secada next to the track in the wood above the Mushroom Field which looks to need fairly easy digging to make progress; Two and a Half Fat Ladies (0880), where the dig got under the wall of the first chamber into a second area with some open space, and an old dig (2522) in Fresnedo, where two days of digging made good progress. The cave was left draughting strongly with a very likely connection to Cueva del Torno (2366). The key site in Seldesuto (1298) is draughting very strongly (similar magnitude to Reñada) but more work and boulder removal is needed to find the main way on in the boulder chamber below the short pitch/climb at the end of the "mined" entrance passage.

Southern Sector
   At Cueva Vallina (0733), the main work activity was diving in the Rio Rioja upstream sumps which head north and east. Jim Lister and Mark Smith pushed and surveyed through sumps 6 to 8 with walking passages between them and then along a streamway to a crystal-clear sump 9, not yet dived. In addition, the almost 400m of sump and unsurveyed passages which were pushed in 2017 from sump 3 to sump 5 were surveyed. In Birdsworld and Zona Blanca a number of loose ends and connections were tidied up and about 50m surveyed and this, together with the diving finds, added 630m to the survey and brings Vallina to over 35km in length.
    In the area around Cueva Vallina a number of site details (4775-4778 and 4808 - 4845) have been passed to the Matienzo caves Project and added to the website for completeness and in anticipation of further extensions in Cueva Vallina and the wider Cueva Comellantes (0040) catchment.
    In the back garden of Torben and Louise's new house just over the ridge at Cruz Usaño, a small hole (Cueva Buena Suerte, 4774) under an outcrop was opened up to a drop into an old, well decorated walking passage heading northeast into the hill. A climb on the left by-passed a stal blockage and a sandy crawl was dug out to reach a complete stal blockage where it looks like a shaft or similar has met the cave. Digging this choke would be a major exercise, but some digging has and will take place at a side passage and a small drop.
   On the ridge to the west of Cruz Usaño, shaft 4711 was pushed down a second pitch and also a parallel drop. This goes a little deeper to 23m and a choke with no draught. Also on the ridge, shaft 4801 was found to be a rift that takes water in wet weather and after a 5m climb ends in a choked chamber with no draught.
   At Ozana, two new sites were found. Shaft 4782, 100m southeast of Cueva de Jivero I and over passages in site 0246, is 7m deep to a floor of boulders and then to a narrow rift. This leads to a small aven and boulder floored chamber. An undescended shaft (4783) was located nearby.
   In Cueva-Cubio de la Reñada a pre-wedding trip was made to Stuffed Monk, noting water levels had dropped from early in the summer and Easter, but the lakes below the top entrance and before the blowhole were still significant. In 2019 and possibly in November this year more of the re-survey work will be carried out and the aven / boulder slope pushed in Itchy Crutch that goes off just after Ghost Lake. (Itchy Crutch is now on the latest re-survey version on the website.)
   The important site of Torca del Dron (4669) was not pushed further and needs looking at in Easter 2019. The site was found to have been covered with concrete sleepers by the farmer and it is best if these are not disturbed. A new way in needs to be engineered, possibly from a nearby small cave (4668) that seems very likely to connect.
   On the south La Vega hillside, mainly to the east of Torca del Dron, the Derbyshire Caving Club took on a major exercise to push and check sites and their GPS's with 30 new and known sites. At Broken Chisel Pot (4416) the small draughting hole was opened up over two days. The chisel broke on the first day and capping proved difficult in the calcite covered walls. Eventually 16m of decorated old cave passage was entered with the draught coming from two narrow fissures going into the hillside. A voice connection was made with site 4417 from above a possible dig in the floor at the start of the second fissure. In trying to open up this narrow fissure to get a better view of prospects a rock hit Phil, resulting in a black eye for a week or so. The draught makes it worth using Patrick's endoscope to see if either of the fissures is worth opening up using caps, which would be a big but realistic exercise.
    Shaft/cave 4714 was pushed and surveyed to 22m and, in the same area, eight known sites had their GPS's checked and corrected as needed. Photos were taken of entrances for the website, at one of these (4418) a stone was thrown over the mud choke and it bumped down some metres indicating that this site is worth a further look. Shaft 3674 was found to have a new collapsed entrance to the rift to the east of the main entrance. It is likely to collapse further and may need fencing to protect livestock.
    A number of new sites were identified. Sites 4779, 4792, 4793 and 4799 were found to choke with poor prospects and have very small or no draughts. Of more interest, Cueva del Disto (4791), draughting in on a warm day, was pushed and surveyed to a small chamber over two days with a dig in loose boulders in the floor. A Disto was dropped down and can be seen but is not yet recovered! Sites 4794 and 4795 were pushed and surveyed to 18m and 12m respectively but had no draught and, although they could be dug further, they have poor prospects. Sites 4780, 4796, 4797 and 4798 may repay another look. (A report by DCC's Dave Dillon and Nigel Dibben can be found on the DCC website.)
    Still to be pushed or examined in any detail are new sites 4802, 4803, 4804 just below Torca Azpilicueta.
    A number of sites appear to have been allocated wrong numbers, or wrong locations and some more careful checking is needed on the hillside and into the various caves. Sites at and near Sima Cumpleaños (0459) in particular need checking. This has been re-located but could be the same site as site 1000 or 460 - and one of the entrance photographs may be of another site (e.g. 0047 lower entrance). Site 999 looks likely to be same as 0460 or 0459, and the site at location of 1057 is a cave not a shaft and could be site 0461.
   At Seldesuto, the boulder chamber below the drop in the cave 1298 was examined on a hot day when the draught was very strong (similar to Reñada entrance). The draught was coming out from two main areas in the boulder floor where the easiest way to get access was at the lowest point. This was examined with Patrick’s endoscope and some of the boulders were snappered out. However, it is still not clear if there is an open way or easy dig once a few more boulders are removed. More work at this key site, above and just past the end of Reñada, is needed. This may happen in November or will be left until Easter.
   In Torca de Corcada (site 0780), the 5m pitch at the end of the Active Route was opened up and dropped to where it splits up. More work is needed here and at the end of the Fossil Route in 2019.
   At La Rasa (east along ridge from Alisas), a small cave (4800) was found in thinly bedded limestone which can be seen to go in 3m, but needs digging out to gain entry. Drone footage was taken of the area.
    On the northern side of La Vega, in Cubija, work was carried out checking and re-surveying the possible route from the bottom of the Golden Void to the south east and to the Manchester Series in Torca del Mostajo. This area is now better understood and needs to be pushed to see if a connection is possible and so by-pass the more awkward route into this area. Cueva del Campo (Portón) (0076) was visited to survey the link to cave 1403 and, in the process, entering 15m of new passage near the entrance leading to a daylight window. Thirty metres was added to the Campo-1403 "system" and a correction to the location of 1403 made.
   The entrances to Sima de los Hoyos (0072) and Cueva de Arturo (0801) were checked and new photos of entrances taken. The chambers at the base of Hoyos were photographed and drone footage of the area was taken.
   On El Naso in Cueva de Coberruyo (0138) the lowest point to the north of the entrance chamber was dug into, revealing a further small, black-floored chamber, but with no way on. Also on El Naso, next to a tree on the slope in front of the Latimer’s new house, a draughting cave - site 4784 - was found. It goes in a few metres to a junction that needs digging.
   The passage that goes towards and ends below Where Are All The Spiders? in Sima-Cueva del Risco (0025) was checked out and the choke confirmed as being completely blocked by pure white flowstone. A dig to the east of this point was opened up to where it gets too tight then was surveyed. Also in this cave, a passage and chamber off Bote was surveyed and a pitch dropped at the end of Tali Series (marked p6 on survey) to where it needs pushing by a small person in a wet suit.
   On La Colina, Cueva de Coreano (0137) was checked out and photographs taken but no new passages were found.

The North-East Sector and The Four Valleys System
   In La Secada, four sites were dug in the area above and to the north of the “Mushroom Field”. At Two and a Half Fat Ladies (0880) several days were spent digging against the south wall of the chamber, following on from the Easter dig. The wall turned under to form a roof and then started to go up into what we assume to be a second enlarged area with some open space along the wall and with a different type of run-in to the rest of the cave. Work will continue at Easter 2019.
    On the opposite side of the valley, at cave 4732, the undescended small pitch off a side rift only went to a low crawl back to the main cave area. The draughting dig at the end was dug but it is difficult as the digging is downhill. A more serious dig is needed with a spade and a digging tray as well as caps, etc.
   At Near the Bar Pot (0603) the tight section and fallen rocks were removed and this draughting site now needs a digging tray to remove washed-in spoil and further capping to make progress.
    Next to the track in the wood on the way to 4732 a small draughting hole (4805) was noted that had not been seen at Easter. This was dug and after about 1m reached a boulder-blocked rift in bedrock. Removing some boulders opened up the rift and, after shoring up the top loose area, it was possible to descend some 3m to where it will be easy digging in a very strong draughting dig. More shoring is needed and the top of the rift needs capping out to allow easy access for a digging bucket. This looks like being an important site given its location and strong draught.
    Elsewhere in La Secada two new sites were found: a cave (4785) that is a crawl to a small chamber but with no draught, and a shaft (4786) that is 3m deep to a dig. In the area to the west, the draughting dig Socks (1017) was dug and capped to a 1.5m drop to a narrow rift, needing more work to make progress.
   In Fresnedo, five trips went to the far end area of Cueva Fresnedo II (0841) and one trip was made pushing and surveying a passage to the west about 100m from the cave entrance. At the far end, leads in the That’s All Folks area did not result in any significant new cave. However, the climb near the terminal boulder choke reached two passages that were pushed to a 15m pitch past the terminal choke into 100m of streamway ending in a clear sump and tight rift. Five metres down the 15m pitch a draughting passage was noted that needs bolting to enter. At the bottom of the pitch a small lead was pushed over a traverse and into a large streamway about 12m high. A large choke was met after 200m of upstream progress. The choke, draughting side passages and the downstream section have not been looked at. In total, over 600m of new passages were surveyed.
    Above Fresnedo II, a site was found when looking for a possible way into the cave below. This cave has a large entrance in a big depression that leads to a stooping passage (with a sandstone roof, shale walls and a limestone floor) to a boulder choke. Initially thought to be an interesting new site, it was realized a few weeks later that the cave was the misplaced Cueva Mortiro, site 0236. Above the middle section of Fresnedo II a sink (4788) was located but not dug or pushed. Photos were taken in Cueva Fresnedo I but it was not dug.
   An old dig (2522) that lies above the end of the Rampant Rabbit area of Cueva del Torno (2366), was excavated over a number of days. The draught strengthened as holes were opened up and the site was left some 4m deep to open holes. It seems very likely that one or two more days digging will connect this hole to Cueva del Torno. As well as checking the grid reference for Torno entrance and site 2766, it was noted that Pignut Cave (2523) has been blocked with rocks. Above, to the west of the dig 2522, a small rift (4790) in the outcrop was found. This is likely to be related to a number of other holes / caves in this outcrop between this site and site 2474 to the north.
   Around Riaño, two trips were made into SubPhone Entrance (4536) with the aim of trying to link Cueva-Cubío del Llanio (3234) with Cueva de Riaño (0105) but the leads near B Chamber and New Hope only linked back to known passages. It seems the link is rather elusive. It may need cavers in both systems with the SubPhones, so they can talk to each other and locate the distance and position to the other party. At Easter 2019, this could be a good objective.
    It was noted that. due to the very wet winter, spring and early summer. the vegetation (jungle) was as thick as we have seen it in many years, resulting in access tracks previously available were almost impassable, making prospecting very difficult.
   It had been planned to push Fridge Door Cave but the wet weather prior to the expedition had flooded the cave below the entrance. Even by the 7th of August the water level was still too high to push the cave. The entrance and small section at the bottom of the entrance was opened up to allow easier access with diving gear in 2019, when it is hoped that the water level will be down. A possible project for 2019 would be to dig the choke between 1800 and Cueva Espada (0103) which should reduce the time it takes for the water to lower in Fridge Door Cave.

North Sector including Solórzano and the Riolastras Area
   In Solórzano behind the medical centre, Cueva de Lolo (3991) was a diving objective and gear was taken to the sump passed in 2017 where there was airspace. It was noted that the water level was higher on this occasion. On the following day, the team of Jim Lister and Colin Hayward tried to dive the sump, but found that the wet weather had brought shingle into the sump, blocking access. Digging out the “sump” in dry weather is required next year.
   At Riolastras, cave 4184 was surveyed and a new shaft (4781) was found but not explored or dug.
   At Coterón Las Llanas, between Riaño and La Gatuna, shaft 4789 was located using a drone and was later found to be a 3m drop to a 6m long choked rift. Two other fenced sites (possible shafts) were noted but not examined (4806 and 4807).
    At La Gatuna a number of sites at and around site 3373 were examined with details and a sketch in the logbook. These sites need examining again in more detail with an accurate GPS.
   In the Hornedo area, one trip was made into Torca la Vaca (2889) via BigMat Calf Hole (3916) in order to examine gypsum deposits in Ed's Birthday Passage with a French team of geologists, including one undertaking a post doc project on dolomite and gypsum formation. The French team were very interested in the area and thought it was an excellent study site. While on the trip an unsurveyed passage off Stn 3 cairn in Red Carrot Passage was found to go south east to connect at St 15_06.16.40 and still needs to be surveyed.
    Dig 3048, situated in the wood between Torca la Vaca and Cueva del Nabo, was found to have a good cold draught and is worth of another good look and a dig.
   In the San Antonio area, the far upstream end choke after the low duck in Fuente Aguanaz (0713) was capped and some 9m of progress made. More capping is needed, preferably with lower water levels. On the way out, an inlet going east after sump 2 was pushed to a passage (Galería Vampire) leading to a chamber (Rudolf Chamber) where Mark Smith slipped on a climb and landed on his nose causing him and Jim Lister to exit the cave but leaving some of Mark’s blood behind. A return trip was made a few days later to survey the 81m of the passage and chamber.
    The dry inlet at the end of Sarah Jean Passage was surveyed including checking the very high aven in this passage. The sump at the end of Sarah Jean Passage was found with high water levels and nil visibility on a first trip so was not pushed. On a later trip sump 5B was passed to find two passages going off above the next sump pool. One leads to a 15m wide aven at least 60m high with a draught coming in down the aven. The second passage, some 2m wide by 3m high, takes the draught but has not yet been explored. More than 250m were surveyed in Aguanaz in the summer. Work will continue in 2019.
    Some time was spent looking above the avens, including filming the area from a drone. Shaft 4699 above and a little to the north of Sarah Jean Passage was pushed over a number of trips, using caps to open up the top of pitches 4 and 5 to reach a 5x3m chamber with two very low drain outlets. A crawl above pitch 3, emitting a strong draught, was pushed until it got too tight.
   The following work was carried out in agreement with the Spanish club G.E. Pistruellos. At Moncobe, shaft 4474 was pushed and surveyed after capping out the top of the entrance and some further pitches, to reach a 10-15m high gallery with holes in the floor (not yet descended). At the end, the possible way on will need a “mining” type approach. This 198m cave / shaft draughts well and so has some potential.

Summer expedition article by Phil Papard

Survey updates
0025 Risco complete (PS)
0071 Mostajo (amendments) in hand (PP)
0076 Campo /1403 complete (ND)
0713 Aguanaz complete (PP)
0733 Vallina part complete (JC)
0841 Fresnedo II complete (JCa+JC)
2522 dig complete (ND)
2889 Vaca complete (JC)
3234 Llanío complete (JC)
4184 shaft (Riolastras) complete (JCl + JC)
4416 cave (S Vega) complete (ND)
4474 shaft ? (AL)
4699 shaft ? (AL)
4714 cave (S Vega) complete (ND)
4774 Buena Suerte complete (PP)
4779 cave (S Vega) complete (ND)
0236 Mortiro (4787) complete (JCl + JC)
4791 Disto in hand (RB)
4793 dig in hand (RB)
4794 cave (S Vega) complete (ND)
4795 cave (S Vega) complete (ND)

  The list below shows links to those 329 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the summer period 2018, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned with a GPS.

Alisas 189 shaft; 190 cave; 191 shaft; 192 shaft; 193 shaft; 194 Horses Head Cave; 567 Hoyón, Torca del; 1013 cave; 2038 shaft; 4245 dig; 4246 Hoyón 2, Torca del; 4247 Tilana, Torca; 4248 Casa Blanca, Torca de; 4249 Gallinero, Torca del; 4811 Campas, Cueva de; 4812 shaft; 4813 shaft; 4814 Cerrada, Cueva; 4815 Bidón, Sumidero de; 4818 shaft; 4819 cave; 4828 cave; 4831 shaft; 4832 shaft;
Arredondo 41 Cueto, Sima del; 43 Escarabajo, Cueva de; 52 Muesa, Torca de; 57 Omoplato, Torca del; 733 Vallina, Cueva; 752 Rotura, Hoyo de; 753 Rotura, Torca de; 754 cave; 1350 Hoyos, Sumidero de los; 1393 Colorado 1, Cueva de; 1730 dig; 1745 Portillejo de Tocornal, Torca de; 1746 Fuego, Torca del; 1747 Arroyo, Fuente del; 1748 shaft; 1749 Dioses, Cueva de los; 1750 shaft; 1751 Azuela, Torca de la; 1752 Llaneces, Hoyo de; 1753 shaft; 1754 Hoyo del Ramón, Torca del; 1755 shaft; 1756 Fuentes; 1757 Sumidero de Fuentes; 1758 Orbitolines, Cueva de; 1759 Lledes, Hoyo de; 1820 Cisterna, Cueva de la; 1823 cave; 1824 cave; 2031 caves; 2034 shaft; 2115 Camino 1988, Cueva del; 3270 Resurgence de Fuentes, Cueva; 3271 Cenagosa, Cueva; 3272 Sumidero de Fuentes 2; 3273 Sumidero Fosil; 3274 LBT X, Torca; 3275 LBT 152, Torca; 3276 shaft; 3278 Barcena Morel, Fuente de; 4284 cave; 4285 Basura, Torca; 4286 Prado, Torca del; 4287 Naranjo, Cueva del; 4288 cave; 4289 cave; 4290 cave; 4291 cave; 4292 cave; 4293 resurgence; 4294 cave; 4295 Tocayo, Cueva del; 4296 cave; 4297 cave; 4298 Abrevadero, Cueva del; 4299 shaft; 4300 cave; 4301 shaft; 4302 Juanjo, Torca de; 4303 shaft; 4304 shaft; 4305 cave; 4306 cave; 4307 Bani 3, Torca; 4308 Curva, Cueva de la; 4309 Dos Pinos, Torca de los; 4310 Acebo Colgante, Torca del; 4311 sink; 4312 Bani 5, Torca; 4313 Murciélago, Cueva del; 4314 shaft; 4315 shaft; 4316 Fragón, Cueva del; 4317 Zorro, Cueva del; 4318 Ruina, Torca de la; 4319 Término, Cueva del; 4320 Antena, Torca de la; 4321 Bani, Torca 4; 4322 shaft; 4323 Regada, Torca; 4324 shaft; 4325 Carrasquilla, Pozo del; 4326 Chalet, Hoyo del; 4327 Vacas, Pozo de las; 4328 Vacas, Perdida de las; 4330 sink; 4331 shaft; 4332 shaft; 4334 Gran Abrigo; 4338 Hoyo 1; 4339 Casa, Hoyo; 4340 Tantas Noches, Torca de; 4341 shaft; 4342 cave; 4345 cave; 4346 shaft; 4347 shaft; 4348 cave; 4366 1988, Torca; 4371 Min, Cueva de; 4372 Minimax, Torca; 4373 Ilegible, Torca; 4377 shaft; 4378 Rotura, Meandro del Hoyo de; 4382 Vallina (bottom entrance), Cueva; 4383 Labrada (& sink), Fuente; 4384 Brena Vieja, Abrevadero de; 4775 shaft; 4776 shaft; 4777 cave; 4778 Chocardos, Torca de los; 4808 cave; 4809 shaft; 4810 shaft; 4816 sink; 4817 Monolito, Sumidero del; 4820 shaft; 4821 shaft; 4822 resurgence; 4823 cave; 4824 cave; 4833 shaft; 4834 Herrero, Hoyo de; 4835 cave; 4836 shaft; 4837 Hoyo; 4839 Hoyo; 4840 sink; 4841 shaft; 4842 shaft; 4845 cave;
Barrio de Arriba 4606 Grietas, Las;
Bustablado 727 Molino, Cueva del; 791 Molino, Cueva del (resurgence); 1099 Cárabo, Torcón del; 1194 Plata, Fuente de la; 1195 sink; 1196 Jaral, Cueva del; 3602 Orcones, Sumidero de; 4279 Orcones 2, Sumidero de; 4280 cave; 4281 Molino Viejo, Cueva del; 4282 Manchega, Fuente; 4283 Tabladillo, Cueva de; 4333 Tabladillo 2, Fuente de; 4335 Rasa, Cueva de la; 4336 cave; 4337 cave; 4343 resurgence; 4344 shaft; 4349 shaft; 4350 Dos Piedras, Pozo de las; 4351 cave; 4352 Garganta, Cueva de la; 4353 Caballo, Torca del; 4354 cave; 4355 cave; 4356 shaft; 4357 Alambrada 1, Torca; 4358 Alambrada 2, Torca; 4359 Alambrada 3, Torca; 4360 shaft; 4361 Tres Spits, Torca de los; 4362 Hoya, Torca de la; 4363 shaft; 4364 shaft; 4365 shaft; 4370 Amado, Agujero; 4374 Vecina Molino, Cueva; 4375 cave; 4376 Vecina Molino 2, Cueva; 4379 Laverón, Torca de; 4380 shaft; 4381 cave; 4825 shaft; 4826 shaft; 4827 shaft; 4829 cave; 4830 cave;
Coterón las Llanas 4789 shaft; 4806 shaft; 4807 shaft;
Cubija 71 Mostajo, Torca del; 72 Hoyos, Sima de los; 76 Campo, Cuvia del; 801 Arturo, Cueva de; 892 Regaton, Torca del; 1403 cave;
El Camino 137 Coreano, Cueva de;
El Naso 138 Coberruyo, Cueva de; 4784 cave;
El Sedo 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del;
Fresnedo 126 Fresnedo 1, Cueva; 841 Fresnedo 2, Cueva; 2366 Torno, Cueva del; 2522 dig; 2523 Pig Nut Pot; 2766 cave; 4788 shaft; 4790 rift;
Hornedo 2889 Vaca, Torca La; 3048 dig;
Ideopuerta 3578 dig; 4686 shaft;
La Colina 4211 cave;
La Gatuna 3373 caves;
La Rasa 1176 Garma de Los Trillos, Sima de la; 4367 Arbustos, Cueva de los; 4368 Dos Madrigueras, Cueva de las; 4369 Tapada, Torca; 4800 cave; 4838 shaft;
La Secada 603 Near the Bar Pot; 880 Two and a Half Fat Ladies; 1017 Socks; 4732 hole; 4785 cave; 4786 shaft; 4805 dig;
La Zuela 4277 Colorado 2, Cueva de; 4278 Colorado 3, Cueva de;
Las Calzadillas 4687 rift; 4688 depression;
Moncobe 4474 shaft;
N Vega 373 Bosque, Cueva del; 427 Lastrilla, Torca de;
Ozana 17 Jivero 2, Cueva de; 4782 shaft; 4783 shaft;
Piluca 2482 shaft; 3277 Cumbre de Piluca, Torca de la; 4329 VT, Puits; 4843 Encina, Torca de la; 4844 shaft;
Riaño 268 cave; 1467 cave; 1800 Fridge Door Cave; 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del;
Riolastras 4184 shaft; 4781 shaft;
Riva 1948 Brazada, Cueva de la; 4774 Buena Suerte, Cueva; 4801 shaft;
S Vega 39 Coquisera, Cueva de; 47 Rellanos, Sima de los; 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la; 326 cave; 333 Azpilicueta, Torca de; 389 cave; 459 Cumpleaños, Sima; 460 shaft; 461 shaft; 999 shaft; 1000 shaft; 1057 cave; 1936 shaft; 1937 depression; 3674 shaft; 4412 hole; 4413 depression; 4416 Broken Chisel Pot; 4417 cave; 4418 cave; 4669 Dron, Torca del; 4672 shaft; 4711 shaft; 4714 shaft; 4779 shaft; 4780 cave; 4791 Disto, Cueva del; 4792 hole; 4793 cave; 4794 cave; 4795 shaft; 4796 depression; 4797 hole; 4798 rift; 4799 shaft; 4802 hole; 4803 shaft; 4804 shaft;
San Antonio 713 Aguanaz, Fuente; 3244 cave; 3422 cave; 4620 cave; 4693 cave; 4694 dig; 4695 Children's Play Cave; 4698 shaft; 4699 shaft; 4702 hole; 4703 hole; 4704 depression; 4705 shaft; 4707 cave; 4719 dig; 4724 sink; 4725 collapse; 4726 rift; 4727 dig; 4728 hole;
Secadura 236 Mortiro, Cueva del;
Seldesuto 780 Corcada, Torca de; 1298 dig;
Solórzano 3991 Lolo (del Secretario), Cueva de;


   The Matienzo Caves Project talk (Matienzo - a Spanish caving area for the connoisseur!) given as part of the 4-day event "A Golden Age of Cave Exploration and Science", held in London at the Royal Geographic Society in December last year is now online. Each lecture was recorded and a YouTube channel for all the presentations has been produced.
   Pete Smith has written a discussion article about possible hypogene caves in and around Matienzo. The article can be found here or as a downloadable pdf. Responses, as always, are welcome!
   Aerial videos and panoramic photos taken from a Mavic Pro drone are now available to view either through the QGIS map or the Aerial Photos & Videos page. Each of the panoramic photos are 23 photos stitched together to give a 360° view of the land around the drone. They are best studied in a viewer designed for the job - Pangazer. As well as the usual rotation and zoom, app features include multiple views, addition of compass points and a link to Google Maps to show where the panorama was taken. Some of the aerial videos follow a "search pattern" programmed into the device before the flight. The camera on the drone often points straight down which makes it relatively easy to compare a map (with documented sites) and the video. The purpose of both videos and photos is allow a detailed comparison between map and reality - searching for new entrances or surface features, either in areas of particular interest, eg the end of Sarah Jean Passage in Fuente Aguanaz or over ground that is difficult to prospect, eg La Rasa / Trillos, near the ridge above Seldesuto. Successes so far are Torca del Dron and sites 4668 and 4789. The vast majority of the photos and videos have not been viewed in detail with the maps, so it could be well worth taking the time to make comparisons.
   Older versions of the PHP language that underpins a number of pages on this web site are no longer being supported by our web site server. Some time was spent updating the relevent pages(to PHP 7.2) including the Logbook Search, which is now open to everyone and not hidden behind passwords.
   As well as Rupert Skorupka's trips in Cueva Vallina, two groups explored sites to the north of the Matienzo depression: one from 24th September - 9th October and another from 26th September for 3 weeks.

Southern Sector
Rupert's downstream diving hopes in Cueva Vallina (0733) were once again thwarted by poor weather. The following account is based on his report:
   The weekend I arrived there was a significant rainfall so I went into Vallina with the intention of checking water levels. At the bottom of Double Dutch Pitch, gear I had left in the summer had been washed around, indicating a water depth here of 2 to 3 metres. The small streamway between here and the Rio Rioja had flooded to the roof. In the Rio Rioja there were large deposits of sediment in many places. The ladder and rope on the Catalan Bypass had been washed up the climb. This was not climbable alone, so I had to return and bolt up it to reach the tackle. There had clearly been a massive flood sometime since June.
    Continuing unstable weather meant that a bivi and dive in sump 6 was unlikely. However I did manage a dive through to my camp area which had stayed high and dry above the flood, a big relief. The sumps 1 to 5 were all very muddy and vis on the return was less than one metre, of no consequence here, but this would have rendered further exploratory diving hopeless as all this mud would soon find itself in sump 6. The streamway was also muddier than usual, and my gear at sump 6 was in such a shitty condition that I brought out my regulators to properly clean them. I also carried through my sleeping bag, gas, food and a bolt kit to enable a better lowering rig to be set up. So it was a very useful trip.
    I took the rope off the Double Dutch Pitch, and replaced it with a new 60 metre length. This old rope was then carried to the base of Jochens Aven where I used it to drop the undescended pitch directly below the aven. This was mainly a broken slope, and about 20 metres deep to a small hole down through dribbly boulders. A rift entered just above floor level. This had footmarks in the mud. I think this is the passage that is entered via a climb down, en route to the Catalan Avens. Upslope goes to the Avens, downslope probably leads to this rift, but it had not been written up in the description.
   Of most interest, looking up here, the ceiling pinched in to a vadose inlet. So, this is definitely not the base of the big pitch that I have discovered at the end of the Dog House passages high above. These must go off in a different direction. The rope was de-rigged but left there, as I intend to re-rig the Aven to avoid the worst bits and the pendulum, next time I am here.

   The programme of aerial photos and videos continued in November with flights over Cueva Vallina, including the ground above the upstream sumps continuation; around La Piluca to the west of Cueva Codisera and at El Somo, on the ridge to the west of La Piluca.
   At Alisas, site 190 has been enlarged at a 1.5m drop with a narrow meander to enlarge.
   Guy Simonnot has provided surveys for a number of sites to the south of our permit area which may be associated with Cueva Vallina: at Alisas - site 189; at Bustablado - sites 4364, 4365, Torca de Laverón site 4379, 4826 and 4827.
   On Piluca, site 1329 was relocated and photographed, being found some 80m west of its published position.
   Ángel San Juan Gálvez and friends have started a re-exploration and survey of Cueva de Coquisera (Codisera). Meticulous in their approach, a part survey plan and elevation (using Visual Topo to process data) and a rigging diagram are just a part of the documentation.
   On El Naso, first reported as an unexplored hole in 2000, site 1529 was explored and documented at 22m and depth 7m with a number of formations. Site 2806 was also explored, exposing the lack of an online description after its original exploration in 2008. On North Vega, a draughting hole (site 4645) in a wooded depression was noticed that needs digging.
   High up at Seldesuto, a survey of the summer extension to the Active Route in Torca de Corcada, site 780 has been drawn up. Further work in the autumn produced a small extension and another drawing.
   At Las Calzadillas, site 4766 was revisited but the drop of about 20m was not bottomed because the ladders were too short. Site 4767, a small strongly draughting hole found at Easter, was opened up and a 6m descent entered a roomy crawl. Unfortunately the draught comes from a narrow, descending and too tight boulder slope requiring "a massive effort to dig". The impressive chasm at site 4772 was investigated again. About 18m down a chimney in one corner, a crack was enlarged to enter a parallel shaft. this was descended 4m to a draughting constriction that requires more work.
   The drone was also put to work above and around the Hoya de Yusa, but the relatively low sun angle with clear skies meant that half the 500m diameter depression was in deep shadow while the other half was captured over-exposed on camera. Overhead sunshine or a cloudy sky is required for successful aerial video and photos. The inaccessible cave at site 4211 on La Colina was finally pinned down when aerial footage was taken of a large bird flying into it. The climb up to this unexplored cave requires a rope to assist the return descent.

Northeast Sector
   In La Secada, beyond the "Mushroom Field", progress was made enlarging and pushing the draughting dig in site 252, entered through site 4732. A possible bear tooth was excavated. Confusion now surrounds site 2539 at Fresnedo, where no sign of an entrance blockage was found nor a climb and upper chamber. It would appear more likely that a new hole was explored and not 2539.

North and West Sectors
   A second descent of site 4610 at Garzón further investigated the boulder slope where rocks drop away about 10m.
   The complex at site 3010, Hornedo was investigated in low water conditions. It was found possible to enter the sink and exit 5m away in the same scar. The next cave along has a visual connection with a fourth cave. All caves are choked with farm and domstic rubbish and have a total length of 25m. About 1300m to the west, the sink site 4758 was excavated down a rubble slope into a small chamber and thought to be "not worth digging".
   Explorations at Cobadal centred mainly on site 4137 where digging in pursuit of a strong draught continued enthusistically over 6 trips. Other sites investigated were site 4846, where excavation and capping led to a body length of passage with more work required. Site 4847 remains unexplored as a small hole into a possible small chamber.
   A "calcited eyehole" at site 3808 at Fuentecil was found to be an upward dig into a choked inlet aven.
   At Barrio de Arriba, further excavation in site 4759 revealed a low, long chamber with a route through to the head of a 22m pitch. This dropped into a chamber with a solid floor and another drop (8m pitch and climb) to a small chamber enclosed by solid rock with the solid floor marked only with small cracks. The length of this cave is 87m.
  A couple of sites were investigated on the top of the hill at Navajeda. Sites 4114 and 4644 turned out to be small remnants.
   A lot of time and effort was put into caves in the Moncobe area. A re-examination was made of some of the sites first investigated in 2006. It was decided that site 2496 needs exploring as it could open out 3m down and sites 2531, 2545 and 2757 may repay attention. Site 4474, previously surveyed to 200m, was re-investigated, extended and further surveyed and photographed. Leads were pushed with the main lead being a roof slot in the main passage. Bother Squared Chamber was reached through here and there is a possible route onwards. Site 4639 was descended down a p6 into a 4x3x6m high chamber with no draught and no prospects. Site 4640 was visited and capping was thought to be merited. Site 4641 was found to be collapsed in at the entrance. A new collapse, site 4768, needs investigating and site 4787 was explored down a p5 to a gentle draught coming from a choked, narrow end of a lens shaped base.
   At San Antonio, site 4699 was excavated along a crawl to where it sloped up to the roof. The draught appears to go down a slot in the floor.
   Concerns about possible wood pulp pollution in Fuente Aguanaz (site 0713) was reported to the authorities after the Easter diving activities. Letters were received in May (page 1 and 2) and another in October (page 1, 2, 3) basically stating that there was not a problem and no pollution was found in other nearby holes.

Surveys - new and updated
0189 cave published (GS)
1529 cave published (PS)
4364 shaft published (GS)
4365 shaft published (GS)
4379 Laverón published (GS)
4759 cave published (PG)
4826 shaft published (GS)
4827 shaft published (GS)

  The list below shows links to those 45 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the autumn (September - November) period 2018, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Alisas 189 shaft; 190 cave;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Barrio de Arriba 4759 cave;
Bustablado 4364 shaft; 4365 shaft; 4379 Laverón, Torca de; 4826 shaft; 4827 shaft;
Cobadal 4137 cave; 4846 dig; 4847 dig;
El Naso 1529 cave; 2806 cave;
Fresnedo 2539 cave;
Fuentecil 3808 shafts - 2;
Garzón, Solórzano 4610 shaft;
Hornedo 3010 cave; 4758 sink;
La Colina 4211 cave;
La Secada 252 cave; 4732 hole;
Las Calzadillas 4766 cave; 4767 dig; 4772 shaft;
Moncobe 2496 shaft; 2531 shaft; 2545 dig; 2757 shaft; 4474 shaft; 4639 shaft; 4640 shaft; 4641 shaft; 4768 dig; 4787 shaft;
N Vega 4645 dig;
Navajeda 4114 cave; 4644 cave;
Piluca 1329 cave; 3773 shaft;
S Vega 39 Coquisera, Cueva de;
San Antonio 713 Aguanaz, Fuente; 4692 dig; 4699 shaft;
Seldesuto 780 Corcada, Torca de;

Christmas / New Year

   New surveys of sites 1350 and 4776 at Arredondo have been provided by Guy Simonnot.
   Simon Cornhill, Diane Arthurs and Neil McCallum were again very active over the Christmas and New Year period, albeit without the excitement of a major cave extension. (See the 2017 extensions in Cueva del Bosque).
   An attempt was made to negotiate access to Cueva de los Urros in the northwest of the permit area. The residents of the house above the entrance were adamant that there was to be no entry to the cave. One sign on the property indicates neighbourhood watch and another has graphics of a cctv camera, a police officer's head and a radio mast! This unwelcome inflexible - and fortunately, very rare - attitude is at odds with the vecinos having no issues back in 2014.
   No such problems were found when a 6-person "tourist trip" on Christmas Day into Torca la Vaca via the BigMat-Calf Hole entrance visited the Walking on Eggshells area. It was noted that "the gypsum crystal formations are well worth a visit if anyone is passing by". (Photos here.) Site 3014 was re-investigated.
   The main pitch in the top entrance of Fuente Aguanaz was made safer and easier for divers and their gear.
   At La Gatuna, site 2246, a previously explored cave near the 5 ways road junction, was re-investigated, but prospects look poor with heavily mud-coated walls 2m above the stream, no footprints and little air movement.
   Riaño saw a number of days of activity. The Giant Panda entrance to Cueva Hoyuca was found collapsed with "several large, torso-sized boulders" fallen in. The entrance was re-engineered with scaffolding, rebar and boards ensuring a safer climb down to the recently installed tube to the head of the pitch. The pitch head was gardened. After that work, a trip to Tixtu Aven and Professional Advice Chamber was made. The 2014 finds were extended along a 5m high rift which, unfortunately, only lasted for another 40m. The 85m surveyed in the area take the length of the 4 Valleys System to 59367m. A skeleton, first discovered in 2014 above Professional Advice Chamber, was videoed. A longer video of the explorations is also on YouTube.
   Three visits were made to La Cabañuela, a hillside occupying the southwest of Riaño, where trees had recently been felled. Five new sites were documented. Shaft 4848 is 10m deep and 13m long, ending small chamber with an animal skeleton. Site 4849 is a 4m shaft choked with empty food cans. Site 4850 is a narrow shaft emiitting a good warm draught that was surveyed to 23m deep. Slightly further east, site 4851 has a large boulder covering a possible small shaft and site 4852 is a 3m deep hole that chokes. Site 1317 was re-found ("No draught and no prospect") but site 1316 couldn't be found as "it's possibly buried under a logging track".
    Four days were spent in Torca del Regaton, one of the entrances into the 22.4km-long Cubija System. Side passages along the Powerhouse up to Peaky Passage were inspected and a 4m climb down to the sump laddered. The sump appears to be static and the boulder choke was extensively pushed although, by how much, remains a mystery as it was later realised that the area had not been surveyed, but sketched. An aven in the Powerhouse, just before Alcove Junction, was climbed but closed in after 30m. There also appear to be a couple of anomalies on the survey that require further investigation. (Sumps photos here.)
   On the southern La Vega hillside, site 1512 was inspected and the view taken that the old dig was a "big job". The nearby site 0179 was given a "little prospect" rating. Sites 4681, 0669, 2451 and 2452 were re-discovered and re-investigations started in sites 1238 and 1246. A search for site 0714 also proved fruitless although new site 4950 was partly descended for more than 8m with possible leads still to investigate.
   In La Secada, a search for site 0624 before and after a hillside fire was fruitless. Digging progress was made in draughting site 0603, Near the Bar Pot, with hopes of a back door into the 4 Valleys System.

Surveys - new and updated
0107 Hoyuca - beyond Prof.Adv. in hand (SC/PF)
1350 Hoyos published (GS)
4776 shaft published (GS)
4848 shaft published (JC)

The list below shows links to those 31 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the Christmas / New Year period, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva; 1350 Hoyos, Sumidero de los; 4776 shaft;
Barrio de los Urros 2917 Urros, Cueva de los;
Cubija 892 Regaton, Torca del;
Hornedo 2889 Vaca, Torca La;
La Gatuna 2246 shaft;
La Secada 603 Near the Bar Pot; 624 cave;
Piluca 714 cave; 1437 shaft;
Riaño 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 1316 shaft; 1317 cave; 2691 Giant Panda entrance; 4848 shaft; 4849 shaft; 4850 shaft; 4851 dig; 4852 shaft;
S Vega 179 cave; 669 shaft; 1238 shaft; 1246 cave; 1512 cave; 2451 cave; 2452 cave; 4681 shaft;
San Antonio 713 Aguanaz, Fuente; 3014 cave;

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