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Tresviso Caves Project 2019 *Caves and Mines! -- rope sponsorship entry
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At the start of September last year, I was being driven up the mountain roads leading through Las Arenas to Sotres and beyond to our home for two weeks; Tresviso. Eyes wide open at the amazing sites on-route, the large valleys bearing a small resemblance to Winnats Pass, the springs at gas stations where locals and tourists fill up water bottles with pure mountain water and the numerous zig-zag mountain roads.
(The Marniosa and Agua systems overlaid on terrain)
We return this year, sadly without the blue team of ‘SUSS’ perched on the hills above, under the banner of the Tresviso Caves Project, but most definitely trying to fly the SUSS flag when the National Park wardens weren’t watching. Thankfully for them this was possible in the second week when they were in glorious sunshine and us townies had low lying clag for a couple of days.
At least two of the blue team are joining us down in Tresviso this year which will be great.
This year we hope to expand on the recent efforts of explorers in the region, already a crack team have been out early to continue the electronic resurvey of upstream Cueva de la Marniosa and to do some quick surface bashing for promising leads.
This expedition is mainly focussed on the two systems of Cueva del Nacimiento (or Cueva del Agua for the 70’s & 80’s readers) and Cueva de la Marniosa which represent the 1st and 3rd longest systems within the expedition area.
Cueva del Nacimiento (Agua)
There are some fantastic leads at the back end of Agua (the most southernly point in the system), including 2 avens to climb in “Pina Colada Bypass” (below the Death Race chamber, at stream level) and “Joe’s Crack” (just off Death race chamber), a drafting squeeze to enlarge at the “Wet Aven” in “Teeth of Satan” and also “The Sandy Dig” in Jurassic World (south westerly lead).
Two leads in Agua are also on the list but are more of a modest distance into Agua, are to explore a maze section in the vicinity of “Dan’s Big Room” and “Winter Gardens”. A dive of the “Parting Friends” sump is also planned, which the divers are hoping to push in the direction of Marniosa, to hopefully find dry passage beyond, some dry cave in this area would be a wonderful thing for dry cavers on the surface to aim at.
South of the current extent of Agua sit some of the deepest caves, they lie right on top of the biggest mountains in the Eastern Massiff, including Torca Jou Sin Tierre (-1203m) and Sima 56 (-1169m). Any connection between these caves and Nacimiento would create a >1600m through trip.
This .3D model shows the deep caves on the left (or South), with the Agua System on the middle right and Marniosa on the far right (North). The view is taken from an angle below Tresviso looking up valley at the systems. There is a huge amount of Passage to discover between the left and right of the image.
Cueva de la Marniosa
The British connection with the Tresviso area is longstanding and arguably the legend of LUSS lives on strongest in the Marniosa system. Marniosa was first explored in the early 1970’s and is believed to be a feeder into Nacimiento. Recent exploration of the cave has pushed it to within 350m of Nacimiento. If joined together the combined system would be over 20km long and offer multiple through trip options.
Last year, following up an obscure 1979 LUSS lead a surface site was pushed to find T20 Silvestre, all the way down to some telling LUSS graffiti marked in carbide, the upstream of Marniosa. The first ever through trip will be attempted this year. If this is done then a further objective in upstream Marniosa and SIlvestre will come into play, which is to find further upstream leads heading toward the Valdelafuente.
The Valdelafuente lies to the south of Marniosa. Pushing towards and beyond the Valdelafuente, has the potential to push the Marniosa system further west than the western reaches of Agua and into unknown territory.
Keen eyes that were behind the camera will know that the bottom right photo is actually of “Here’s what you could have won” in Agua. The Top right is of the Silvestre entrance and left image is of the LUSS Graffiti at the end of Marniosa (/last years connecting point of T20 Silvestre)
Secondary Objectives and Surface Prospecting
With a reduced team size, the main objectives could prove enough to keep us busy, but there will be a few cropping up onto the board should the clag descend on the valley again. Two Ridge and surface bashing objectives hope to connect into either Marniosa or Agua and more work on the Minas de Mazarrasa area.
Secondary objectives: Mines
It was the Minas de Mazarrasa project which Hannah and Chris used to lure me to join last year, when they were showing me photos of a rotting piece of timber while supping our pints in the Cheshire Cheese. The Minas de Mazarrasa region is covered in old mine workings and natural shafts, the whole effect is that of the Coniston Copper Mines, but on steroids (and not copper mining). Lots of open pits and a few adits which connect back into the system, give the place a friendly feel for the mine explorer, despite the long walk up the hill.
Secondary objectives: Caves
A surface walk of various wooded sections of the Sierra del a Corta and further pushing of various sites may well provide significant gains towards the “Terror Firma” and “Jurassic World” passages in Agua. This would vastly reduce the pushing time for future objectives of the expedition.
Further prospecting around the Valdediezma area will look to drop into an 80m aven in the downstream section of Marniosa beyond sump 1.
I could wax lyrical about all the different leads around Tresviso, there being dozens of leads in each system and hundreds of caves and systems to explore. But we’ll not get through all of the leads, and will likely have to come back for quite a few years before the Tresviso region gives up it’s biggest secrets.
We will use the rope in Silvestre if Sir Phil doesn’t try hiding it behind the crate of beer in his car, not that we’ve been stopped before.
And of course we will be exploring la caberna. Sorry, la taberna...
The bar at Tresviso, Alastair?
Hasn't changed much in 30 years.... :lol:
Again, I've been bending the truth, The photo is not of a bar in the town of Tresviso, but of Anna's in Sotres.
However, I believe this could have been the place where most of you guys went when you were there. I've heard that the road to the town of Tresviso was mostly a track until EU funding helped us cavers out!
We did go to a bar in Sotres. Had Sweetbreads hanging off the ceiling... :lol:
And the road was indeed an unmade cart-track. ;D
It's a smashing part of the world. Negotiable by motorbike now I guess....lol
Still negotiable by cattle mind! Given the herd we kept encountering on the road, especially on the last night when we had 15mins for a ‘pitstop’ Shower and stockup on a crate of beer before the meal.
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