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Easter 2015 - Tom Howard

Matienzo Easter 2015As usual, a small DCC team headed out for the Matienzo Easter 2015 Expedition €“ And to what a great success! Just short of 500m was surveyed of brand new cave passage above Torca la Vaca (2889). The DCC team (Andy, Anton and Joel) were joined by Alex Ritchie (BRCC) and Darren Jarvis (MUSC) leaving no space in the car for Tom, so he did his own thing until the excitement worn off a tad. Reports came back each night to Bar German which kept everybody well informed and the €˜new discovery€â„ was the single project for many this time round. (See description below). Apart from the new cave find, various other trips were held to some of the more explored caves in the area you could say. Other project trips:Cueva Vallina (0733) €“ Dye testing.Tom joined Ali Niell, Pete Eagan, Pete Smith, Steve Sharp, Jim Davies and some French guy for a trip down to the streamway to place some dye. Four litres of Leucophor were placed in the river just upstream of the confluence of the waters from Vallina I and II. Detectors were placed in Cueva del Comellantes (40), Cueva del Molino (resurgence) (791), Fuente de Barcena Morel (3278) and the Bustablado river just down stream of the main resurgences on the south side opposite Molino. Detectors were also placed in Cueva-CubƒÂ­o de la ReƒÂ±ada (48), at Sump 1, Squirrel's Passage and the stream below Castle Hall. After 8 days of negative detectors, the detector in Cueva del Comellantes went strongly positive. Subsequent checks on the other detectors showed them all to be negative apart from Sump 1 in ReƒÂ±ada which was also strongly positive. This test confirms that Vallina and ReƒÂ±ada are part of the same system, and that Squirrel's Passage water is an inlet and not part of the main river that flows out of ReƒÂ±ada II and into ReƒÂ±ada I via sump I. Cueva Vallina (0733) €“ Top entrance to Pot Entrance Sport trip.Not forgetting his place, Tom carried bags for a sporting trip from the top entrance of Vallina to the Pot entrance with Jude Latimer and Jenny Corrin. Cueva de los Campizos (3812) €“ Pushing.Tom, Alex and Andy visited this site to see whether the current end could be pushed. It was, and we managed to push a tight rift into a large chamber with a 33m aven. Tom then climbed to the current €˜end€â„ and due to lack of rigging and support turned back leaving it wide open for summer! The Easter extension will need resurveying when we return and surveying into the final rifts. Note: Gloves melt when used on Petzl Stops after abseiling 90m on 11mm dry rope! Torca la Vaca (2889) €“ Pushing. Tom, Paul Dold, Steve Sharp, Bill Sherington, Dan Hibberts and Imogen Dold revisited the pitch that Tom, Paul and Ed had left in 2013 due to lack of rigging gear. We rigged to -37m to a definitive end (all tackle removed afterward). We then rigged a traverse along the rift and entered a passage on the opposite side with a howling draft. Size 2m x 2m. Wide open ready for summer. Child Minders Cave (4046) €“ New area. Pushing. An afternoon spare seen Tom, Johnny Latimer, James Carlisle and Bill Sherrington explore a new cave over in Solorzano (new permit area). Managing to survey 114m to a current conclusion. Leaving a dry sandy and drafting dig along with diving potential in clear blue flowing waters. Members involved:Andy FarrowAnton PethoJoel ColkTom HowardSteve MartinSusie Martin4117: Ciervo, Cueva delHornedo 30T 448502 4800345 (Datum: ETRS89. Accuracy code: G) Altitude 168mLength 491m including The Langdales, site 3034Area positionA complex maze site that lies about 35m above Ed's Birthday Passage close to the Wasdale Screes in Torca la VacaCave description as of 05/04/2015 - Alex Ritchie The cave is located about 50 m north east of the cow barn on the left-hand side of the first wooded shake-hole. Note in summer it may need heavy bushwhacking. The excavated entrance is an almost flat out soil slope which opens out into a small chamber with calcite formations. The way on used to be through a squeeze over boulders to the right, but a route has been forged through straight ahead. Follow the calcited crawl round the corner to another chamber with a blind pit. Traverse across this into a boulder ruckle, turn left and then straight ahead (left is another previously descended blind pot of 11m). Two windows lead onto a now very muddy flat-out crawl for about 20 meters, before the passage enlarges to well decorated walking passage. Left and through the rifts leads to the current Y-hang for the top of the main pitch which is 70m deep broken by a spiral of ledges. The pitch is unfortunately blind. However there are leads off at -40m which have not been fully pushed and will require bolting. Back at the top, ahead leads to a roped traverse round the main shaft of the pitch. It is possible to step off at the beginning and turn right. This leads to a choke near the surface along with a series of bones and some possible ancient leather. (Should only be entered with care). The traverse leads round the pitch into a rift, the last half of which is currently un-protected but is easy enough. From here the passage enlarges to form a large, well decorated chamber on the left with a 10m deep hole in the floor (blind). Right leads through a short crawl to another choke near the surface with a possible crawl off to the left (un-pushed). A traverse around the chamber passes close to some very important bear bones. (These should not be crossed). To go around the bones step across the boulders on the left taking care of the formations and then by turn right again to follow the rift to a sandy slope, with evidence of claw marks on the right-hand side. At the other side of the slope, most ways on choke or lead to small un-descended holes in the floor. Left is the only way on. This leads to a T-junction with shallow muddy pools. Taking a left turn here leads back to the main chamber; a right turn leads to a roped traverse over a deep hole (which becomes too tight). Continuing forwards, the passage develops into a rift where, at the end (straight ahead) is a hole in the floor that connects down a 6m drop into the Langdales cave, an easier way in. To the right just before a hole, is a round trip that will take you through boulders and back to the chamber this side of the traverse, where as a left turn about 20 meters further back leads to an interesting and decorated passage which heads back towards the main 70m pitch and has a visual connection across a drop to the passage on the left of the pools. Before the end of the passage you have to go up a short climb into a chamber, if you turn right here, this leads to a volcano-like formation, beyond which are choked passages. One ends at another interesting un-descended hole at the end of the passage. 

Below 1: Er?   Below 2: Some of the team hard at work   

Picture 1: Er?Picture 2: Some of the team hard at work

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