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: Calendar of Events -- President's Corner -- Technical Preliminary Report #7: 1989 Speleological Investigations on Hecta Island -- Technical Preliminary Report #17: An Overview of Peru Peak Cave Potential -- Technical Preliminary Report #18: An Overview of Flicker Ridge Cave Potential -- Technical Preliminary Report #19: An Overview of El Cpitan Peak Cave Potential -- Technical Preliminary Report #20: An overview of Mount Calder Cave Potential -- Preliminary Description of Karst Terrains of Northern Prince of Wales Island.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 11, no. 2 (1991)
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:
K26-00216 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.216 ( USFLDC Handle )
4376 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



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Yolurne 11 THE AJ ABKAW CAY ER Number 2 Jha Naekan @vet [IISSN D7350481) I6 the intermittent publ~eatim af the GSscIsr Grotto of the Natfonal Spln~.Logl wl Gocf ety. mpy ri ght a 188f by the GEacl sr Grotto. ktarl aL s not mpy rl ghted by Ind

Calendar of Events contact Curvin Metzler at 333-8766 for more details date0 Wed May 8 weekday May 9-15 weekday May 9-15 Set/Sun May 11-12 beween May 21-31 Wed Jun I2 between J un 13-21 beavleen J un 3-28 Wed J ul 10 Jul 15 thrv Aug 15 bebeen J ul 22-31 be*een Aug 19-30 _time 7:30pm Scent Area Meat1 rig I day Russi an RS ver 1 day Wishbone (Sutton) weekend Gull Rock (Hope) 7-12 days Sheep Mountaf n 7:JOpn SCent Area Meeting 8-9 days Whfte Mts (Frbnksl 2-4 days Chltlna 7 :30pm Scent Area ketf ng (POWIE Y) Prince of Wales Is 10 days Brooks Range 12days Chftfstone Mts &qrrI ~tf nn/w(see 1 ast page for detall sl check 1 fmestone on the Kenai check for caves 1 n cong? merate overnfght hdke to sea caves check 1 irnestone way back I n (see 1 ast page far detallsl check ungl acl ated 1 fmestone check out some 1 args hol es (see last page for details) lappl f cati on package encl osedl check caves a1 ong haul road conti nue 1 imestone expl orati ons Wc: The Nmnfnatf ng Cmitteeb slate of candidates 15: Presi dent J ay Rockwell, J r, VPr Northern Mi ke Ma user YP: Southcentral Curvi n Metzler VP: Southeast Kevin All red Secretary 3 ack Massf e Trea s ur er Harvey Bcmers A11 are NSS members except Jack Mass1 et and he has appl ied. Jack j oi ned the Grotto early last fall and brings art1 st1 c and photograph! c ski1 I s. Contri butions of the others are If sted in lO(6):lQ-21. Ballots vfll be included wfth the next Issue; space will be available for wrjteins, FFnancf: It has come to my attention that the Grotto Treasury is exhausted. Thf s is due to a cabi nation of: 1) an increase in the frequency and sIze of Thew askanvsr, 21 increases In costs of printlng and mailing, and 3 1 an extended grace perf od before droppfng dell nquent members f ran mail fngs. There Is enough publishable materl a1 on hand for three 20-page Issues, and by then we will have PaJIE V behind us. No one contacted wf shed to del ete matar1 a? of the avalf abl e qua1 1 ty. Accord1 ngl y the Executive Cornml ttee decided to: 1) tighten up the format of (the Ed1 tor has agreed to try this), 2) reduce pub1 icatIon costs (Dave Logan has vol unteered to be Pub1 isher--those w lth any cost-sav ing f deas pl ease contact h imlr 3 1 Carl E, Cl ark w 11 1 bill del inq uent mmbers who are off the roles and are not recefving The A1 askan Ca~grp and 4) raise the dues to $15 per year, It costs about $12 to produce and mall six Issues at the pressnt slre, Add to this other expenses such as postage and tel ephone call s, which have tradf ti onall y been contri buted by the Off Icers, and everyone' s share i s easi 1 y $15. Details of the new dues structure appear on the Inside of the front aver of thls issue. The new rates are not retroactive to the first of tne year; those who have a1 ready paid their 1991 dues will net be rebilled. The deadlinewrfl'l te the dlstribution date of thIs issue, Henceforth~ only the fIrst issue of the new year will be sent to overdue members. Fund-ral si ng attmptsr such as the sal s of patchesR the sale of back fssuest auctions, and other efforts will be continued to clear up the deficlt. In the longer term, non-profit *atus April 1991 Vol me 11 Nmber 2 The A1 askan Caver Page 3


shovl d reduce postage costs and make It easler to recefve grants and gifts to further our work; it would a1 so rqulre stricter accountabll ity. : Artdcl e V of the By-Laws speciffes the annual dues; and a by1 aw change rquli res a twethlrds vote of the enti re mmbesshl p (see ~JI 10(61:6-9). It is proposed to change Art1 cl e V to read: "The dues for regu1 ar and I nstd t utl onal mm bers shall be set by the Executive Camnittee at a lwsl which ~$11 cwer the cast of pub1 lcatlon and distri button of maskan U and other 1 nci dental expenses. The Executive Cml ttee 1 s thus rq ul red to ral se and 1 lower dues and subscrl pti on rates and to observe the dictates of prudent f 1 nancf a1 management. The time of Imp1 mentation of this change w 11 1 be retroactive to the dI stri but1 on date of TheA7111(2).tf Theadvantap of thds change is that It relieves the Grotto of making a by-law change every tlme the dues need changed. mid: Enclosed with this Issue ts the PWXE V application package. These were reproduced far us by the U. S. Forest Servlce, Included are: Appl icatj on--Expl anati onr the Appl 1cat.l on, the Chal ? enge Gost Share Agreement, and the 1991 Work PI an. As a rnaxirnm of 10 cavers can be there at any one tlrne, you should apply as soon as possl bF et especi a1 ly if you want to participate durlng a specific week. You shoul d i ndi cata your preferred tIrne, an alternate time, and whether or not you are will ing to be put on standby if your desired time is filled, Kevin may be leaving Hafnes early to work out of fl Capitan Work Camp. His mail will be fomarded. If you are driving and do not have ferry reservations, dlal 18001 642-0066 hmmU ately, (Go to Ketch1 kan f ram Be1 1 lngham, WA, PrO nce Rupert, BCt or Hal nes, AK; then go to Hol 1 is (Pri nce of Wales Island) from Ketchlkan,) Hal k-ons are 2 ess of a probl an ; campf ng on the ferry is allorred, but no ffres. A1 aska Ai rl ines &ops at Ketchikan; take the mail plane from there. Further Information may be found in J~P A1 askan Caver 10(5):18, 10(61:8r 23,24, and 11:lZ Last-minute details# such as the FWIE V mail ing address; the mail plane, and emergency telephone numbers, wll 1 appear in the J une f ssue of J-ln raver. n Pa9 4 The A1 askan Gver Yo1 me 11 Nvnber 2 April 1991


1989 Spgolog-lal ImestigatJons on Heaetn Island Technical Prel imi nary Report #7 by Carl ene A1 1 red February 23 t 1991 There f s an estimated 58 square mdl es of Sil urt an Hereta Limestone on Heceta Island* forming an extensfve karstland whlch ranges frm forested hilly low-lying areas to the allpins karst of 2775-foot Bald Mountain. Studles of .aeri a1 photographs reveal nmerous dolines (sinks) and sane pfts that can be seen in the portlons that have been clearcut, A polje contal nlng scattered tress approximately one-h a1 f mll e across 1 ies on the central eastern portion of the island. In 1949, Robert J. Hackman, while doing map work In the area for the U.S. Geologfcat Survey, documented the follwing observattons and information concerning Haceta Island, which was reported t n the NSq (Hackman# 1949 : WECETA ISLAND. Phis i sl and i 5 most1 y of 1 lmestone and has a consf derable number of sinkholes on It, sme of them f flled wlth water and forming picturesque lakes. There i s a 1 arge cave entrance in a sf nkhole about ha1 f-amile Inland frm the east side of Port A1 1 ce. The cave has an underground stream In It and is believed to drain a sinkhole lake farther up the way. And just offshore, wen at Icm tide, a large spring gushes out of the ground and 1s about efghteen .Inches across. lt is bellwed to be part of the same drainage sy stm. The author tal ked wlth sane geologists who were worklng en the island and they sald they had seen sme cave entrances but had not Investigated than any f ortheraw In 1975, Bruce Rogers, employed also by the U.S. Geological Survey$ recorded the following In Thdbskm Caver (Rogers* 1975) : "To the west of Twin Wuntai n 1 ies Heceta Is1 and* the type 1 ocal ity for the Heceta L lmestone. Indeed, most of the porkchop-shaped Island is 1irnestone, And in the 1 lmestone are several caves. In the area that 1 mapped there were no obvious caves, a1 though si nkhol e a1 ignrnentsl karst cerri dores and such pot nted to the1 s presence. To the northwest of this area were two interesting lake groups: those about Chuck Lake and those about Mink Lake. In Chuck Lake Itsel f was a 1 arge hole that water disappeared out the 1 ake bottom. Sweral mall er 1 akes and ponds evident1 y drai ned underground Into Chuck Lake itself. The ma1 2 er l akes about MI nk Lake were comparable, but on a smaller scale. Both of these areas were 1 ooked over by Don Ebesl len several years ago and several small entrances were ncstedeWt During the first week of August, 1989, four mmbsrs of the Glacter Grotto f nvesti gated Heceta Is1 and far caves, Runors were checked and cl earcuts were scanned by wheeled vehicle for obvlaus entrances. Two ma1 1 caves were 1 ocated and explored, and are described In the text belw, As of this rritlng there have not been enough caves studfed for one to begin to understand or assess the spel 902 ogi cal potenti a1 of the area. Much more work will be required. Thls report also fncludes descrlptlons of several more of the many potent1 a1 1 eads which have yet to be checked. AprIl 1991 Vol me I1 Number 2 The A1 askan Caver Page 5


A1 1Cuve (Mint Lake [=awe) Expl oration and mapping were done on August 4r 1989, by Rlchard Bridges, Dave bbdlsette and Ann Strait, They were dl rected to the area by an aerial photo 1 ead prwi ded by Kevin All red. He had noted that there was no outlet stream draining Mint Lake" and that dwnslope toward Port Alfce was a promi nent steephea d where a stream and gully merge abruptly fran the mountal n51 de. The descri ption of the 1 ecation a1 so matches that of the cave reported by Robert Hackman abwe. His reported cave had been subsqusntly rimed Alice Cave by the Na td onal S pel eol egi cal Soctety and 1 f sted in Its f fles as such. Sane prefer to call It Mi nt Lake Cave. Located about onehal f mll e inland f ran the eastern shore of Port A1 i ce, thf s cave captures the stream that fl ws out of Mint lake. It 1 s formed on or near the contact between the Heceta Limestone to the north and the Sf1 urtari congl unerate to the south. The cave, formed under phreatic conditions, has Wo entrances. The large northern err trance wall ws the stream at present. and at high water the smaller southern entrance may a1 so take In water, Both passages join insi de the cave and contfnue as one. Unfortunate1 y, the passage is plugged further with logs whlch were probably cut during logging operations and a1 1 owed to wash Into the cave. The expl oration tern suggested a cha7n saw for rmwlng this plug for further expl ora ti on. The cave may possi bl y re surge at the previously noted steephead one-fourth mfle to the rest. It may be part of a cmplex dral nage system, At present, 269 feet of passage has been surveyed, A1 r mwment was noted. Management Recommendations There i s no need to restrict the location of thls cave. It is basically horizontal and there are no spel eothms or other features that need to be prlr tected, Sudden floading durlng storms mu1 d possjbly be a danger to visitors, Logs and debri s from logging operations should be kept fran entering the cave. If f 1 sh spawn up through the cave, the1 r ~migratlons may be affected by clogging. Other effects are unknown. Deer [Srsek Sinks This small cavs fomed in Heceta L irnestone t s 1 ocated about one and a half miles east of Mint Lake, The entrance is In the bottm of a prundnent shallar sink that has been clearcut recent1 y, The cave contains roughly seventy feet of passage and was expl ored by Richard Bridges on August 5, 1989. Fomed phreatfcal lyt it wall ars a ma1 1 surface stream and then spl its underground, Both passages take the streams and head in a general northwest df rection, They smp after a short distance. Management Recommendatfons There is no need to restrict the location of thls insignlflcant cave. As i n a1 1 karst areas containing caves, care shoul d be taken when rnakt ng roads. Huckl eberFy Hol e Thls hole war seen fran the road by Ann Strait, Rlchard Brl dges, Dave Mod7 sette and Ca rl ene A1 1 red w hi1 e drdvlng through the recent cl earcuts. It is 1 ocated in the bottm of a si nk one-thf rd mil e east of Mink Lake. The pit descends a short ways before bef ng partially clogged vfth silt and logs, but f t may conti nue downward. There was no air mwmen;t noted. A rope will be needed for further fnvestbgtlon, Locals reported a cavs having an entrance which matched the descri pti on of a large hole estimated at one hundred feet .lin dfameter noted on aerial photcr graphs. An attempt was made to check thl s 1 ead, but because of the nature of the wergrown clearcut around St our team ceund not reach it. Perhaps a f dure attempt w ill be more successful It t s probabl y a coll apsed do1 lne. Page 6 The A1 askan Caver Vol me 11 Nmber 2 April 1991


Magnetic Nor? h C North MINT LAKE CAVE HECETA ISLAND, ALASKA TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST EXPLORED AM0 MAPPED 8-409 BY R. A. BRIDGES D. R, MODISETTE A.E. STRAIT SKETCH, DATA REDUCTION, AND DRAFT1NG BY A.En STRAIT April 1991 Volme II Number 2 LEGEND # Logs Pasrogs Helght a Breakdown ,HStrsom or Wafrr Flow Drop Dfntanes k Slope TOTAL SURVEYED PASSdGE 269 FT 0 10 20 30 40 FEET The A1 askan Gver


Numerous pits to be f nvesti gated References The follaving description will Hackman, RobertJ. 1949, Speleology In take one i nto thf s area re ported by Kim Southeastern dl aska, NSS Bul eti n Rednan, Follow the road south out of 11:16, Port A1 ice to road %1425-100. Starting attheeight-milemarkerandcontinuing Rogers, BruceW, 1975. Thfsisftlh on past the nine-mile marker there are hvm 4I21:3, E varf ous pjts on efther si ds of the road, This area Is in virgin forest between ho 1 arge cl earcuts and I s west of Ham Chuck Inlet. Mst roadside pits were I nvestlgated and nathyng signlf l cant found, The terrain In the surrounding forest should also be carefully checked for pTts and caves. Bal d Mountaj n The summit and ridge northward contaln innumerable pIts and karst features which are typical of alplne terraf n I n Southeastern A1 aska. There are probably sane deep cave systans in thls area, MI ke Van Note, of Hal nes, A1 aska, cl imbed to the sum1 t in 1979, but did not find any praising leads on top, Xn 1989, Richard Bridges, Ann Stralt and others ct imbed up onto the ridge to the north and found sane caves, but they di d 1 ittl e expl or1 ng f n thm. I HECETA ISLAND 1 tee1 *:R.d k Cam The A1 askan Caver Vol me 11 Nunber 2 April 1991 I AMSKA mGASS CAVES PROJECT lQbQ Sketch by R BrldgMf




An Overvtw of Perm Peak Cave htetrtial Technical Prel f minary Report #17 by Kev in A1 1 red Nwmber 14, 1989 Judgling fran the dudy of aerial photographs, Perue Peak appears to hol d the most prmfse on Prince of Wale5 Island for a vety deep cave system. fha enti re mountai n 1 s Heceta Limestoner fran sea level to wer 3000 feet in el evati on. By studying the aerials, one can see brwnf sh bands or vel ns of rock cri sscrossf ng the mass of the Heceta, It f s st11 1 not kncwn exactly what thi s 1 SF other than be1 ng non carbonate, Thi s rnaterlal probably retards some cave devel opnent on Per rre Peak by seal I ng off I nterstl ces. It appears to break dw n 1 nto a brw n-col ored s I1 ty resd due. Interest1 ngl yr there was veay 1 1 ttl e rillenkarren on the 1 qmestone, and the exposed surfaces had a much rougher granular appearance than found on El Capltan Peak, which is quite smooth and contad ns much rf 11 enkarren. A reconnai ssanca fl 1 ght w er Per ue revealed that most of the shafts on the mountai n were qul te shall ow, but subsequent flel d work by Curvin Metzl ert Kevfn All red* and Steve Lwi s on August 18 through 211 1989, prchred that sane caves do ex1 st. Two caves were entered and sumeyed, namely Macho Peekaboo and Drlp Drop, Access was on foot frm the end of road 2087. Many more entrances were notedl even to the sum1 t of the peak, Most shafts and pits were obviously sealed less than forty feet down and often mntafned snar* indlcatfng cold traps. Others were deeper (seventy feet or more) and not investl gated. The 1 lmestone of Perue Peak extends to Fl icker Rfdge to the northwest, Sanemhere be1 cm a17 .this 1 irnedone must be 1 arge cave systems to carry off the tremendous amounts ~f 5nw melt and rai water, as there are apparently fw or no year round surf ace streams. The stream between the Perue smit and Calder Bay was checked on August 4, 1989, by Hawey Barers, Sandy Bavers. and Kevin Allred; It was qufte lw In flw near the bay. libre flel d work should k done both on the pak and a round i ts per i meter. LA 1 t st of aeri a1 photograph interpretatlons contained abed 50 earl es. Entrf es ranged f run I ndIv idual f terns, such as holesr pits> and sinks, to grouped 1 tans, such as cl usters of pits and many sinks, and on to areas of given sizes (hundreds or thousands of feet across) which contat n tens to hundreds of pits1 Pdnnacle karst was rnentloned about five times* stream possi bl y go7 ng underground was mentioned a couple of times* and there was a pl ateau of 3500 by 2000 feet contai ni ng 230 hol es 1 1 Page 10 The A1 askan Caver Vol me 11 Nunber 2 Aprlt 1991


An Overv?~~ of Fl lcker Rid* Cave Potential Technical Prel lminary Report X18 by Kev 1 n A? 1 red November 14, I989 FlZcker Rldge, located west of Flicker Creek? is cmposed mostly of Heceta Limestonet up to 2711 feet in elevation, The ridge can be reached from logging road 2087. Much of the terrain abwe 1400 or 1500 feet could be termed subal plne, where trees are sparse and grw very slowly. Logging has occurred to about 1800 feet or more* prwf dlng both access and unknmn Impacts to the karst and hydrology of this area, Ne cave Inventory field work has been done on or around Fl icker Ridge other than driving and hfklng through part of it on August 18, 19, and 21, 1989r on a Pwue Peek reconnaf ssance, A sixty-foot-deep shaft, named Grabber Pit, was dl scovered on August 19 and investigated on August 21. It is unsurveyed and adjacent to, or on, a proposed contlnuatfon of road 2087. Chances are that there are many more shafts and caves on Fl f cksr Rl dge. The unchecked a1 pi ne and subal pl ne areas a ppea r to mnta i n spectacul ar plts and shafts, judging frm aerial photographs. CAeri a1 photograph i nter preQ ti ons menti on 1 ightl y and heav I1 y karsted areas, a huge sl nkr lots of deep hol es, a 1 arge sf nk with secondary sl nkhol es or pits* a pit* and a possI bl e steephead, Additional leads include well-type shafts or pfts, a couple of caves and holes, and a hole In a cliff.] II An Overvim of El Capfhn Peak Care Potential Tech nl cal Prel fml nary Report #19 by Kevin Allred Nwmber 14, 1989 Most of El Capltan Peak, which in this report extends to Red Lake, is Heceta Limestone, except for a 1 arge cap of polymictic congl merate at the sunmft (2566 feet). Even with three years of brt ef expeditions f nto the regfonr and after study of aerlal photographs and geol ogi c maps? not much 1 s knlm n a bout the cave potent1 a1 It was hoped to util Ire this karst area as a model to accurately detemi ne the cave potentla1 of other slmllar alpine terrain on Prince of Wales Island, but the limestone Js sunwhat different on bo of the other sites vlsfted fn 1989. Perve Peak and--wen to a greater degree-Mount Cal des were almost vol d of any rlllsnkarren, when canpared to its cmmon presence on El Capitan, A? sop the texture of exposed 1 dmestone on Perue and Cal der appeared much more granular and rough to the touch than the smooth and more aggresslvely karstad carbonates of Capftan. The Ifmestone of El Capitan Peak contains di kas and sill s of basal t, which appear to control cave devet opment to a certaln degree, as In Blawfng in the Wind Cave. But 7n at least one Instance, El Capitan Pf t the basalt structures seem not to have affected the shaft development or dl rect i on at a1 1 El Capltan Cave, at the southern base of the mountain? has na, been mapped to over 9000 feet in length* and continues. El Capitan Pit* atop the mountain, is now the deepest pt t 1 n the United States, at -598 feet deep, Snw Hole, alx, on the mountain, is the third deepest pit, at -448 feet, Another cave, Blcmjng in the Wind* Fs naw 744 feet long and 312 feet deep, and a1 so contf nues. Other Aprll 1991 Vol me 11 Number 2 The A1 askan Caver Page 11


known caves of 1 esser sire include Belittled Pit, Pit on the Cuttqng Edge, Kld Cave, Frost Pocket Cavet A1 mon d Cave, and Salmon Fry Cave. 00th si des of the mountain have sprfngs 1000 feet i n el evation or lwer, Indicating base level for the karst water table in those areas. Nothing fs knmn of the sprlngs on the northern ha1 f of the mountat n, but a 1 arge resurgence, at about eighty feet elevation to the south* was dye-traced f rcm near by El Capf tan Cave i n 1989 ( see report #23 1. The subalpine carbonate areas of El Cap1 tan Peak are scul pted 1 n a w i de variety of karst forms, both 1 arge and small, Largest of all is a polje one third mile wide and nearly one-half mil e long. All drai nage is underground' and it is nearly 200 feet deep. Another polje or wala Is three-fourth mfle to the north; although not as large, *It 1 ies at almost the exact el wation, indi cat( ng a pessi bl e underground hydro1 ogical and cavernous connection. Blwing in the Wind, Snw Hole, and Wlndow Well are between these two l arp depress1 ons, Other 1 ess spectacul ar cl osed depress7 ons, such as uval as, si nks, pt ts, and shafts, cover the karst areas to a density of wer 3000 per square mile. This terrain is very rugged and dangerous, Ka rren (srnal I so7 ut i onal features) lncl ude ri 11 enkarren, grf kes, wall karren~ sol uti on f 1 utes, heel pri nt karren, sol utl on grooves, covered ka rren, and pl nnacl es. As yet no main drainage systems of the mountain have been penetrated, other than the 'El Capitan Cave system. More detafl ed hy drol ogf cal 1 nvestl gati ons were carrf ed out fn 1989 by Looking Into the Alaska Roa frm El Camino Real. Photo by Norm Thmpson. Pap 12 The A1 askan Caver Vol me 11 Nmber 2 April 1991

Contents: Calendar of
Events --
President's Corner --
Technical Preliminary Report #7: 1989 Speleological
Investigations on Hecta Island --
Technical Preliminary Report #17: An Overview of Peru
Peak Cave Potential --
Technical Preliminary Report #18: An Overview of Flicker
Ridge Cave Potential --
Technical Preliminary Report #19: An Overview of El
Cpitan Peak Cave Potential --
Technical Preliminary Report #20: An overview of Mount
Calder Cave Potential --
Preliminary Description of Karst Terrains of Northern
Prince of Wales Island.