Alaskan Caver

Alaskan Caver

Material Information

Alaskan Caver
Series Title:
Alaskan Caver
Alternate Title:
Alaska Caver
Pease, Chuck
National Speleological Society (Alaskan Cave Areas Conservation Task Force)
National Speleological Society (Glacier Grotto)
University of Alaska Southeast (School of Arts and Sciences)
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: Explorations on Perue or Perue Peak or Bust -- Technical Preliminary Report #15: Macho Peekaboo Cave -- Technical Preliminary Report #16: Drip Drop -- Members in the News -- Caves in the News.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 10, no. 2 (1990)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-00210 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.210 ( USFLDC Handle )
4370 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

Added automatically
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text




10 THE H -Fi? Ns The Alaskan Cave (ISSN 0735-04813 Is the Intermittent publication of the Glacier Grotto of the. Nati onal Spel eol ogl cal Secf ety (Copy rt ght 1990 by the GI acl er Grotto. 1 Materi a1 s not copyrfghted by indivf dual s or by other groups may be copied by other NSS Pub1 icatlans provided credit Is gjven to author and Ihe Alaskan Caver and a copy Is sent to the Editor, Back issues are avail abl e f ran the Presl dent for 81.00 each, Send art1 cl es, 1 etter s, news I terns* announcements, and so forth directly to the Edf tor (see be1 ow), Opfnians expressed within are not necessasdly those of The Alaskan Caver* the Glacier Grotto, or the NSS, Is open to a1 1 Irrterested in A1 askan cave dlscoveryr exploration, descri ptl onr survey, rnappf ng, photographyl hydro1 ogy, morphology, blol ogy, geology, h'l story, spel eogenesi s and other spel aean processesr conservati on, management* adverkntures, and the fellowship of Alaskan cavers. Dues are $7.50 per year for the first member of a mafllng address and 61.00 for additional persons at the same address. herseas ad r ma1 1 rqut res an add1 ti onal $10,30, Luis are due on January 1 and are sent to the Treasurer (see be1 w) with the application/renewal form. Those paylng for the first tdms after October 1 wfll be considered pal d up for the fallowing year. The year through whlch each mmber is paid is indicated on the mail ing 1 abet. Meetings are called to plan and report on trf ps or other spec1 a1 wents; anyone wantSng to have a meeting for any reasen should notify the Presfdent, Vice President or a Member-at-Large. Qffioe~ Nma Address St Zip Presi&rrt J Rodarellr Jr 2Whory St AnthorageAK99508 ViclePres DavidMbll POBox82044 Fa1 rbanks AK 99701 Adng SecJimNid~o'Fls POBox654 Clear AK 99507 Treasurer Sm Dunaway 7301 Chad St Andoraga A4 99518 MBnbatLgTmHallfnan 1617'HlolverineDrFairbanksAKW709 MBnbatLgkfnAlIred POBox376 Hal m s AK 99827 Edltm Cumin mler P 0 Box 100738 Anchorage AK 99510 Asst Ed H Harvey Bcwers 305 S Bartlett Cr Wasilla AK 9687 RegRep DaveKlingar POBm537 LsavmrU~ WA 98826 Pmgrm Ch P Kjng 8 R Mays l&U Bannfster St Anchorage AK 99508 Hane Work 277-7L50 564-8267 4556578 474-6318 474-0104 5856213 344-4337 762-2171 47w064 479-7454 via WINS* v ta WNS" 333 -8766 333 -8766 376-2294 373-2247 548-5483? 54&5880+ 276-0138 564-5220 Messa@s may be announced to Kav tn &I1 y via radio statdm WINS at 19071 766-20m The area code for Rave Klinger in Lawerrworth, Washington is (5091 (both nunbers) Cover: KwF n A17 red ascendfng out of Drlp Drop, on Perue Peak, Prfnce of Wales Islandt A1 aska. Photo by Curvln ktrler, August 1989; article found on page 8. Table of Contents Explorations on Perue or Perue Peak or Bust ......... 3 Technical Preliminary Report #15: Macho Peekaboo Cave . 5 ........ Technical Preliminary Report #16: Drip Drop 8 Members in the News ..................... 9 Caves in the News ...................... 10 Page 2 The Alaskan Caver Volume 10 Number 2 April 1990


Explorations on Perue or Perue Peak or Bust by Kevin All red Perue Peak, wer 3000 feet high, appeared to be the most promising of karst located on aerial photographs. It is all limestone from its hole-perforated summit to an almost dry streambed near sea level, Needless to say, many members of the expedition were anxious to air1 if t in, with visions of bottomless voids and subterranean torrents to encourage our spirits. Unfortunately, as the expedition progressed, the weather began shifting into stormy fall patterns which would soon prevail, Harvey and Sandy Bawers and J took their f cur-wheel-drive out near the base of the mountain in one day, but found the road deadly and impractical. On August 9, after a few days waiting for clouds and rain to clear in the alpine areas, ten of us were geared up and ready for a full scale assault on Perue. Rick Bridges and I first ew out and quickly scanned the potential from the air, Most of the holes were shallow and we felt there was not enough guarantee of a deep system to take the chance of ten people being stranded for weeks on a remote and stormy mountain. We aborted Perue for another camp on nearby El Capitan Peak: Buddy Lane, Hank Moan, and Neeld Mess1 er would drop Snow Hole (-448 feet) and ether discoveries would be made. A ter the bumpy reconnaissance ight, I asked she pilot how often it got that roughHe rep1 ied that "you know when it4s sough when your shoulders are bruised from the safety straps1\ 1 was glad it wasn' t rough. Nine days later, most participants had already lei t the Island and the expedition seemed to lose some momentum. However, Steve Lewis and Cumin Metzler had just arrived from el sewhere in Alaska and seemed excited to take a several-day backpackingtripintothe beckoning Perue Peak. In spite of my pack and other gear being destroyed in a helicopter mishap, seasonable substitutes were made and the trip was on. We drwe surprisingly close on a recent logging road not on our maps, Though it was xaining as usual, we anxiously flagged a route through karsted, moss-floored rain forest on the first day, with Steve using his compass in the mist, Small vertical holes along the way hinted at hopes of more magnificence to come. A ter some three miles, we f el t that the alpine karst was probably close. We dropped the loads and hung food in small trees, then hiked to the road to spend a rainy night, The next morning we began the second haul to high camp, and got there in good time. By now most of the gear was wet, but perseverance and stupidity won out and we struck out into the rain and fog to see what caves could be found. We carried a couple hundred feet of rope with vertical gear and determined exactly where we were in the low visibility by using the aerial photographs. Soon after reaching the alpine karst, Steve discovered Macho Peekaboo (a takeoff on Machu Picchu in Peru) It begins as a forty-foot shaft with a nearby horizontal entrance and huge amounts of snow and ice, In initial explorations, Curv in made his way, without a rope, down a rather precarious-looking snowy incline further into the depths while Steve and I discussed hm cxazy he was. He didn't fall anywhere, though, and discovered from the light above that there should be another deep shaft April 1990 Volume 10 Number 2 The Alaskan Caver Page 3


Kevin Allred and Stwe ~ewis discuss routes across the alpine karst while searching for caves on foggy Perue Peak, Photo by Cumin Metzler. further up the mountainside. After Stwe and I looked about for the shaft, Curvin finally directed us to the one he had looked up. It was a dandy and seemed about 200 feet deep. With plans to further explore and map Macho Peeka'boo the next day, we continued into the very heart of the alpine karst. Here we wandered around in the eerie, rugged, fog-enshrouded terrain, where distance and sound were deceptive. We soon cached the rope and vertical gear where we hoped it could be relocated. As the weather worsened, it was with great effort that we remained together in our hole-checking activities. Without the aerial photos and cmpasses, there would The Alaskan Caver be absolutely no hope of finding a way back to camp. Of ten we had only a general idea where we were. At one point Curvin seriously expressed his concerns as to our we1 f are, but soon resigned himself to whatever fate would come. The winds increased to about forty miles per hour and the rain tuned into stinging sleet. A ter clambering to the summit, we headed back towards our rope and gear. I still can1 t beliwe how we happened upon it on all that karst, but our luck held and we started down to the selected caves to explore the next day. Soon the way was barred by a tremendous cliff and Steve said "I don't remder this at all", at which time I became totally baffled as Volume 10 Number 2 April 1990


to just where we were. Curvin grimly shrugged his shoulders. After sane debate, we went the opposite direction, which turned out to be the right way, By the next morning, everything was wet and the backpacking trip had turned into a truly miserable epic. A ter exploring and surveying a hundredoot shaft (Drip Drop), we dropped into the deeper of Macho Peekaboo' s shafts, which turned out to be 150 feet. Then a steep thirty-foot-high snow and ice slape lead to the floor of a large room. The Ghost Room is eighty feet wide, 170 feet Long, and contained groups of white ice stalagmites up to four feet high. A couple of small waterfalls poured from the ceiling into the breakawn. In surveying, we discovered that all leads soon pinched off, so mapped our way tcwards the horizontal entrance, Curvin had to leave the cave because of the cold, and even with warm clothes, dry suit, coveralls, and rain gear, I was chilled. Steve endured without complaint. At the base of the 15-foot shaft, a waterfall disppeased into a grim six-foot-diameter hole out into the ice. We plumbed it to 37 feet, but ref rained from entering. The susvey was 991 feet in length and 223 feet deep. After another we night in camp, we headed back to expedition headquarters for other adventures. It was the end of a memorable trip and at least an attempt at what might lie hidden under Perue. Macho Peehbw Cave Prince of Wales Island Technical Prel iminary Report #15 by Kevin All red Nwember 14, 1989 Description Located on the alpine karst of Pesue Peak, Macho Peekaboo was first discwered by Stwe Lewis, on August 19, 1989, while doing a cave inventory with Cusvin Metzler and Kevin Allred. In the initial exploration of the shaft of the cave and its horizontal entrance, Curvin discovered an additional 150-f oot-deep connecting shaft located further up the steeply sloping bedrock mountainside. The 991. feet of survey was done by Cumin, Stwe* and Kevin on August 20. The werall depth is 223 feet; the lowest point being the ice chute (see map). Macho Peekaboo is a cold trap and contains snow wherever it can drift and accumulate each winter. Where this snow has built up it has, over many years, cmpressed into firn ice. In a few spots, melt and rain water dripping down from the surf ace has drilled vertical holes into the snow and f irn. One drill hole in particular is be1 rn the deeper shaft and was six feet in diameter and plumbed at 37 feet. The floor of this hole appeared to be rocks, but it was not entered because of the large amount of water pouring into it. This could be a good site to study the paleo-cl imate from ice layers. The large room (80 feet by 170 feet) at the bottom of the deeper shaft is called the Ghost Room. It is accessible by rope or hand1 ine down the steep snow and ice slope. At the bottom of April 1990 Volume 10 Number 2 The Alaskan Caver Page 5


the slope is a forest of ice stalagmites up to four feet high, looking from a distance as if they are ghosts. In a few places within the Ghost Room are small waterfall s emerging from the ceiling to disappear in the breakdwn floor. All surfaces of this room seem to have been fractured and broken by frost action. Of interest isa sink-like depression five feet deep in the breakdcrwn under one of thewaterfalls. This was probably formed ram a large ice column or stalagmite being Built there and deflecting breakdawn falling from the ceiling creating the large depression after melting, For lack of a better term, I call it a pseudo sink. Safety This cave is cold and wet with vertical hazards, so only experienced and prepared people should enter kt. Warn wool ex pile clothing with a waterproof suit of some kind is recommended. Management Recommends tions Because of safety considerations, the location of this cave should be restricted from the general pub1 ic. Stwe Lewis prepares his gear while Kevin Allred descends into the upper entrance shaft of mcho Peekaboo Cave. Photo by Cumin Mettler. Page 6 The Alaskan Caver Volume 10 Number 2 April 1990




Drip Drop Pxince of Wales Island Technical Preliminary Report #16 by Kevin Allred November 14, 1989 Description Formed in Neceta Limestone, Drip Dropwas discovered on August 19, 1989, by Cumin Metzler while searching for caves with Steve Lewis and Kevin Allred on Perue Peak as part of the cave inventory, This is an alpine shaft with a total depth of 102 feet, It begins as a 65-foot drop and continues to the bottom in several more lesser drops. Drip Drop is just one of many similar fissurelink shafts in Perue Peak. This particular one was explored because it appeared deeper than most. It contains no snow Or ice; it had a draft at the bottom, but became too small for further penetration. There were copious .-air e ltoo amounts of runoff pouring into the shaft because of heavy rains during the survey, on August 20, made by Cumin, Steve, and Kevin. Safety As usual, with alpine caves, Drip Drop is cold and possibly very wet. With its vertical nature, visitors should prepare accordingly, Management Recommends tions Although this cave contains no speleotherns, its potential dangers to the unpreparea v isi tor demand that i ts location should be restricted from the general pub1 ic. D TOHGASS NATIONAL FOREST wmterf*ll PRINCE OF WALES tSLAND, AK. rmrticml depth 102.F i8.t rurrmlod Aug. PO, ?PIP PROFILE Page 8 The Alaskan Caver Volume 10 Number 2 April 1990


Manbers in the News (Contributions invited) e Kevin Allred and others were mentioned in Rodney D, Horrocks' arsicl e, "Hours undex Neff s Canyon'', in the May 1989 issue of The Utah Caver l(21 :32-33, in which Rod describes a 13-hour trip to the Bedroom Complex to conclude Neff s Canyon Cave Pxoj ect, Kevin and Carlene Allred's map of El Capitan Cave and Kevin's report of PCkJlE 11, which appeared in the February 1989 issue of The Alaskan Caver 9 (1):6, are mentioned In "Ray's Review'' in the August issue of a News 47 (81 :202. Kevin and Carlene Allred' s map of El Capitan Cave, Kevin" report of POWIE 11, and Carlene's article, "Kicking Morse Glacier Cave", all which appeared in The Alaskan Caver 9 (2) : l(caver),lO,ll, were mentioned in "Ray's Review" in the September 1989 issue of r NSS News 47 (9) :230. e Richard A. Bridges' report in the January-February 1989 Southwestern Caver, telling of pushing the LechuguilPa Cave survey another 33,538 feet to be the seventh longest in the U,S. (at 28.82 miles), was also mentioned in "Ray's a Rwigt~" in NSS News 47(8): 202. William R. Halliday's 1987 article, '"itre and Mining Bureau Covers and Saltpetre Cavest8, in the Con ederate Philatelist (33) and rea printed in The Speleo Stamp Collector 31~23, was cited in Current Titles in Speleology, Number 21--the literature af 1988, a publication of the British Cave Research Association, page 33. William R. Halliday's article, "A visit to the Post Off ice at Cave Creek, Arizona", in The Speleo Stamp Collector 29:14, was cited in Current Titles in Speleolosy, Number 21--the literature of 1988, a publication 02 the British Cave Research Association, page 34. William R. Halliday's article, "Bibliographic notes on some Spelean Post Of ices of the U. S.A. ", in The Speleo Stamp Collector 29~15, was cited in Current Titles in Speleoloqv, Number 21-the 1 iterature of 1988, a publication of the British Cave Research Association, page 34. William R. Halliday's article, 'Wore on the Federal Cave Protection Act of 198818, in The Spel eoqraph 24(8):85-87 was cited in Current Titles in Speleolox, Fhmber 21--the literature of 1988, a publication of the British Cave Research Association, page 3 1. William R. Hallidayb 1989 article, "19&8 Report cf the Mount St. Helens Caves Canserva tion Task Force-Part 11". appeared in last May's issue of The Speleogsaph 25 (5) :62. William R, Halliday's 1989 article, 'q1988 Spel oelogical Activities in East Asia", April 1990 Volume 10 Number 2 The Alaskan Caver Page 9


appeared in the July 1989 Springs Cavet', on page 20 issue of NSS News 47(7): 178-179 along with corrections in the September issue rn of NSS News 47 (9) :211. William F,. Hal"Pday4s 1989 article, "SW Oregon Reconnaissance, July 1988'', The Speleograph 25(8):90-91, cwers southern Oregon and littoral caves on the Oregon coast. William R. Halliday's article, "East Asia 1988: Part V. World Class Lava Tube Caves of Cheju", appeared in the April 1989 iasue of The spel eoqrzph 2514) :49-53. a Will iam R. Hall iday, according to Dale Green in his article, "Harold Goodro", in the March 1989 issue of T-he -U-ta-h Caver l(l1 ~12, spoke up fox safety and good planning in several of his books. Billq s name appears again in another of Dale' s articles, "Antel ope of the same issue. Miles (Milo) Hecker was credited, in Paul Fill's article, "Fossil Mountain Ice Cave", in the Plarch 1989 issue of The Utah Caver 1(1):14, for Gigging out the AAA Crawl to Kilo's Annex in 1977. Mike Mauser's article, "Tidewater Sea Cave", in the June 1989 issue of The Alaskan Caver 9(3):3, was mentionea in the December 4989 Cave Cricket Gazette 1418) :86. Jim Nicholls' name appears frequently in Rod Horrocks article, "Utah's Deepest Pit", in the March 1989 issue of The Utah Caver 2-6 Jim, Ro6, and Ken Stahley extended the known length ani depth of the cave on October 31, 197 8, to beyond that of the previous visit of Jim and Stan. Caves in the Nws by Warren Phillips Luther reprinted from Pholeos 10(1) :11-12 January 1990 a pub1 ication of the Wi ttenbesg University Speleological Society summary and comments concerning our article 'Tecosd Pit Found in Alaska'" by Julius Rockwell, Jr. The Alaskan Caver 9 (4) :3-4 October 19&9 The setting of recordsbrings out the sporting aspect of cave exploration ever since the French began taking speleology seriously nearly a century ago, Ir the United States, which has the proverbial lion's share of caves measuring well up into two-digit mileage land greater), uepth records are perhaps not yet on a world scale, so the discovery of any deep caves or pits causes quite a commotion in speological circles. Recently, a pit was located in Alaska an Prince of page 10 The Alaskan Caver Volume 10 Number 2 April 1990


Kales Island which proptly broke the old record held by Ellison's Cave in Georgia (Fantastic Pit, at 586 feet). Alaska's El Capitan Pit (as it has been named) surpassed the former record at 598 fees, not by much, of course, but that's not the point. Six hundred feet (an approximation for both pits) is a significant free drop anywhere underground, and if a 100-f oot pit was a formidable obstacle in speleologyt s infancy, it nm seems that a mere 6 00 feet will become routine, as is already happening in countries with much deeper caves. Mr. Rockwell points out that it should not sur~rise anyone, this record-breaking on Prince of Wales Island, since Alaska is after all a land of superlatives; next, after scaling the highest mountain in the United States and plurrbing the deepest pit, these single-minded explorers might perhaps find the deepest cave (current record: columbian Crawl, Wyoming, at 1,550 feet ) and the longest one (surpassing the Mammoth Cave system at more than 330 MILES). The latter speculation is rather like counting your trophies before the game begins (and with the odds against you anyway) but, a1 though improbabl e, it is not impossible, Long caves have been found in mountainous regions of folded, ti1 ted, and def omed strata, and some of these are in alpine regions; Switzerland's WB11och ("Hell-Hole"') surpassed Mmoth Cave during the era of cave-length battles, but when Mmoth' s r.ileage suddenly increased by a factor of ten during the current Great Age of Connection a14 the other contenders put down their plane-tables and compasses--and went on to other worthy matters. But remote, or little explored, parts of this continent are yielding some surprises: caves of a11 types and sizes are being found where in prw ious generations nobody would have wasted time looking. The islands on the Pacific coast, from Vancouver Island northward, are wild an2 rugged; they contain much 1 imestone and other carbonates which have been deformed. and raised into what are =ow the peaks of submerged mountains; it was only a matter of time, and necessity, before explorers investigated them for caves. Both Canadian and Alaskan portions of the islands have prwen cavernous: the climate along the Pacific coast is mild, though cool (at least in its southerly parts), and receives considerable rainfall-which is in some xays analogous to a wet tropical cl imate, where caves can f om fast, and large. The pit takes its name f sm El Capitan, the mountian which contains it. Surveys have al ready shawn over 9,000 feet of passage in El Capitan Cave, about 2,000 feet below the pit, with many unexpl ored passibil ities, Near El Capitan Pit is Snow Hole, which at a depth of 450 feet is already the third deepest pit in the United States; the potential of the entire karst area on this single island seems enormous. Fortunately, the Forest Service is co-operating with the Glacier Grotto (who are given credit for discovering the pit) to map, study, and protect this important spel eol ogical resource--yet vandal ism has been a probl em al ready. No matter haw remote or inaccessible a new discovery ray be, it is never safe from abuse and destruction as soon as anyone else finds out about it. The remainder of this issue of The Alaskan Caves is mostly devoted to the Prince of: Wales Island karst, including accounts of Ei scov exy, exploration, and assessment of: the caves, and Kevin All red's interesting geological summary of El Capitan Cave, D April 1990 Volume 10 Number 2 The Alaskan Caver page 13.


****** Grotto Meeting ****** at 7:30 pm on Thursday June 14, 1990 DUES ARE DUE! DUES ARE DUE! WES ARE DIET Are your dues current? Don't miss our next issue! Check the date on the label, Make sure it says 90, not 89. at the home of Julius Rockwell, Jr 2944 mory Street Anchorage, A1 aska Editor On Vacation brief business meeting followed by discussion of Prince of Wales Island costs and transportation (POWIE IV logistics) bring your POWIE slides also bring cave trip reports refreshments provided During the summer, from naw until the end of August, articles which cannot wait until September for pub1 ication should be sent to the assistant editcr instead of the editor. E'dterials not time critical, or mailed in September or later, should be msiled to the editor once again as usual. Glacier Grotto 2944 Esnory Street Anchorage, Alaska 99508-4466 Address Correction Requested

Contents: Explorations
on Perue or Perue Peak or Bust --
Technical Preliminary Report #15: Macho Peekaboo Cave --
Technical Preliminary Report #16: Drip Drop --
Members in the News --
Caves in the News.


Download Options

Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close


Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.


Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.


Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.