Matienzo 2012 by John Clarke

Matienzo, Spain: Chris Smith, Phil Ryder, Harry Long & John Clarke (17 Sept 2012).

Back to Matienzo, this time with Smithy back after his fall, Phil Ryder going for the first time and Harry Long who tries to keep us on the straight and narrow, (no chance).

Every year we go with a wish list of digs to push, caves to have another look at and every time something crops up and before you know it you’re boarding the plane home.

This year we were determined to go through the list but after a couple of days we were sucked into a dig for over a week. This dig was found in 2011 and numbered 3451. The draught coming out was amazing even if it was only a small hole to start with, after some work with the help of John Southworth and Harry I finally got down a 9m pitch. After scratting about for an hour or so I could not find an obvious way on, most disappointing.

So to 2012, after a couple of hard days digging in other places resulting in a 100m of passage or so we were back to 3451.

Me and Smithy grovelled all over and found bits of draught everywhere but nothing major, it was not looking good until at the bottom of the entrance pitch Smithy fell over onto his face and felt a strong draught coming up through the floor.
“That’s my story”, he said. “I couldn’t find a draught in a hurricane”.

He is probably right!

So began four days of digging and snappering until we broke into a rift chamber and found the way on. During the next couple of days we pushed down and onwards finally breaking into a really impressive rift chamber some 10m high with nice formations. To the side of this the draught was howling along a low crawl that we pushed to another chamber with various rifts up and down, but it needs work. We surveyed out from this point and after over six hours underground Phil bless him lifelined us out.

(Yes we do use them now).

This shows how you get sucked into things, as well as 3451 we helped out at 3649 with the survey, which turned out okay after I had messed it up. Cracking cave this with big pitch at bottom, again needs more work. This was pushed by John Southworth, Alf Latham and Phil Goodwin. I pushed a narrow passage to another pitch, which needs bolting, promised to go back to do it but 3451 got in the way. This is how it goes and everyone understands. Cammy and Phil P pushed another cave so the White Rose are doing their bit in Matienzo.

There are many digs and caves out there which were never fully explored in the early days just waiting to be pushed to their full limits, so if you want to discover new cave in fabulous surroundings GET YOURSELVES OUT THERE.

John Clarke.