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: Back to On Your Knees Cave / Tim Heaton -- On Your Knees Cave, from PRC website -- On Your Knees Cave Poster -- Calamity Creek Karst Mapping Expedition / David Love -- Map of Foggy Breakdown Cave -- Map of Diex Guwakaan and Deer Drop In Caves -- Foggy Breakdown Gone Missing / Bruce White -- Map of Hoojiggers Holler and Chockstone Cave -- Map of Water Hazard Cave -- Map of Howlin' At The Moon Cave -- Dr. Science and Phreada Phreatic.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 25, no. 3 (2005)
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:
K26-00243 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.243 ( USFLDC Handle )
4403 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

Karst Information Portal

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THE AL ASKAN CA VER THE AL ASKAN CA VER Volume 25, Number 3 J uly 2005 Volume 25, Number 3 J uly 2005 2 0 0 3 c a l a m it y c r e e k e x p e d it io n 2 0 0 3 c a l a m it y c r e e k e x p e d it io n O n y o u r k n e e s c a ve O n y o u r k n e e s c a ve


Back cover: Cavers are transpor ted to Carrol Inlet on Rivillagi gedo Island. Photo by Diane Raab Front cover: David Love perches amidst banded marble in Foggy Breakdown Cave, on Revillagigedo Island, Alaska. Photo by Dan Monteith THE ALASKAN CAVER EDITOR: Carlene Allred 2525 Fourth AveKetchikan, Alaska 99901hm: 907 PRESIDENT : David Love 6740 MargueriteJuneau, AK 99803 VICE PRESIDENT : David Valentine 11976 N. Tongass HwyKetchikan, AK 99901hm: 907 225-2289 SECRETARY/TREASURER: David Love6740 MargueriteJuneau, AK 99803 CONSERVA TION: Steve Lewis Box 53Tenakee Spr ., AK 99841 CAVE RESCUE: Gary SonnenbergTONGASS CAVE PROJECT : Pete Smith PO Box WWP Ketchikan, AK 99950hm: 907 Steve Lewis Box 53Tenakee Spr AK 99841 Kevin Allred 2525 Fourth AveKetchikan, AK 99901hm: 907 THE ALASKAN CAVER (ISSN 07350481) is the periodic publication of the Glacier Grotto of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Back issues are available from the Glacier Grotto secretary for $2.50 each. Materials not copyrighted by individuals or by other groups may be used by NSS publications provided credit is given to the author and to The Alaskan Caver Opinions are not necessarily that of The ALaskan Caver, the Glacier Grotto or the NSS. The editor welcomes contributions such as letters, trip reports, cave reports, photos, cartoons, stories, cave maps, etc. Annual dues are $15 per individual and $20 per family or organization. The Alaskan Caver is included in the membership fee. For an additional $8, six The Alaskan Cavers will be sent overseas via airmail. Send dues to the treasurer. T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Back to On Y our Knees Cave, by Tim Heaton ----------------------------page 2 On Y our Knees Cave, from PRC website -----------------------------------page 3 On Y our Knees Cave poster ---------------------------------------------------page 6 Calamity Creek Karst Mapping Expedition, by David Love -----------page 7 Map of Foggy Breakdown Cave ----------------------------------------------page 10 Map of Diex Guwakaan and Deer Drop In Caves -----------------------page 12 Foggy Breakdown Gone Missing, by Bruce White -----------------------page 14 Map of Hoojiggers Holler and Chockstone Cave -------------------------page 15 Map of Water Hazard Cave ----------------------------------------------------page 16 Map of HowlinÂ’ A t the Moon Cave -------------------------------------------page 17 Dr. Science and Phreada Phr eatic -------------------------------------------page 19 The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 No. 3 p age 2 In August of 2000 we completed old). So I'd assumed that if there was a five summers of excavation at On Y our really old history there, we would never Knees Cave and never intended to know how old it was. But some other return. In those five years we had bones had dated younger than expected, excavated 5700 gallon-bags of sediment, and I began to suspect that the two converting several crawlways into open "limitless" dates were a fluke. (There had walkways. The cave had produced by far also been several "limitless" dates from t h e b e s t a r c h a e o l o g i c a l a n d shallower sediments.) I submitted more paleontological record in Southeast bones an d confirm ed my sus picions : Alaska. But our efforts were bringing bones from fairly deep in the sediment diminishing returns, and I wanted to were as young as 25,000 years old. expand the fossil research geographically Dates had also been obtained on I was awarded another NSF grant to several speleothems from the cave. Jeff sp en d t hr ee ye ar s s ea rc hi ng fo r n ew Dorale (University of Iowa) had caves (and excavating a few known expressed an interest in dating our caves) on other islands. So the summers speleothem fragments, so I had sent him of 2001, 2002, and 2003 were spend on the "Rosetta Stone" and several other Dall and Coronations Islands, on the stalagmites we had dug up. The "Rosetta mainland near Wrangell, as far north as Stone" is a remarkable stalagmite with Hoonah, and on a joint excavation with two growth phases separated by a tipCanadian archaeologists on the Queen over event that has some bear bones Charlotte Islands. But nothing was found (beyond radiocarbon limit) encased in it. that coul d com pare with On Y our K nees Jeff used Uranium dating on the Cave in terms of the length of history spe leo the ms, whi ch exte nds muc h represented or the number of fossils farther back in time than radiocarbon recovered. We were running out of dating. He reported that the early growth options. phase of the "Rosetta Stone" occurred Meanwhile the laboratory work about 137,900 years ago, and the later on the material from On Y our Knees Cave phase from 57,000 to 46,000 years ago. was producing many results and raising The oldest speleothem (a broken piece many questions. I had submitted two incorporated in sediment) was dated to bones for radiocarbon dating from the 186,000 years old. These uranium dates deepest sediments of On Y our Knees provided another method of determining Cave, and they were beyond the the cave' s deepe r histo ry. radiocarbon limit (over 45,000 years B A C K T O O N Y O U R K N E E S C A V E B A C K T O O N Y O U R K N E E S C A V E by Tim Heaton (continues on page 4)


O N Y O U R K N E E S C A V E (continues on page 4) This article originally appeared on the Partnership Resource Center [http://www.partnershipresourcecenter .org], which provides online resources for building vibrant partnerships and effective collaboration on the nation's forests, grasslands, and other special places The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 No. 3 p age 3 T erry Fifield, archaeologist for the Prince of Wales Island Districts of the T ongass National Forest, in the mouth of On Y our Knees Cave in 1997 before site area clearing for the excavation had begun. (The photo was taken by Eric Parrish of the Denver Museum of Natural History.) Archaeologist, Dr. E. James Dix on (left), of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Paleontologist, Dr Timothy Heaton, of the University of South Dakota at Vermillion resting outside the cave. (Photo by T erry Fifield). Efforts to study "On Your Knees Cave," an intriguing archaeological study of the site. archaeological and paleontological site in the T ongass By late summer of 1996 many of the partners in the National Forest of southeast Alaska, have grown into an project were in place. T erry Fifield, Forest Service extraordinary partnership between researchers, local and archaeologist for the Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger District, regional Alaska Native organizations, and the Forest Service. was leading the consultation and collaborative efforts. Tribal Investigating the site's clues about the earliest known human presidents in the communities of Klawock and Craig had met occupation of south-coastal Alaska, the partners have several times with their Councils and passed resolutions discovered new information about the peopling of the supporting the analysis and further study. Dr. Dixon pr epared Americas, early maritime adaptations, and Ice Age ecology a grant proposal for a 1997 archaeological excavation at the and glacial cave, which would include funding for Native student interns, history of the while Dr. Heaton planned his 1997 fieldwork to further Northwest investigate the paleontological aspects of the cave. Coast. A strong relationship b a s e d o n Research Begins on the Ground openness and In 1997, the staging began of what is now recognized trust, and a as a remarkable field camp. Archaeological and shared research paleontological crews worked side by side, focusing on their philosophy that respective interests but integrating their methods to allow is both data sharing. Alaska Native interns, selected by the Klawock culturallyand Craig Tribal Councils and funded through Dixon's inclusive and National Science Foundation grant, worked with scientists to interdisciplinary, clear the site and begin excavations. Over the winter of have been 1997/1998, Sealaska Inc. and Sealaska Heritage Institute critical elements offered to fund internships for the following season. These in the success of internships provided Alaska Native youths with a remarkable the partnership. learning experience and further strengthened the relationship between the research team and the T ribes. The Partnership Comes T ogether For five field seasons between 1997 and 2004, these partners continued their groundbreaking research. The On Y our Knees Cave site was initially recorded Investigations, which began inside the cave, moved to the in 1993 by Harza Inc. and Kevin Allred of the T ongass Cave terrace outside the cave where archaeologists uncovered Project. Paleontological investigations at the cave began in stone tools and the remains of a camp contemporary with the 1994 with the recovery by Dr. Timothy Heaton (P rofessor of Earth Science at the University of South Dakota) of two bear bones (one black and one brown bear), which were radiocarbon dated to more than 35,000 years old. Continuing their work in 1996, Heaton's crew happened upon a small number of cultural items: a stone spear point, two bone tools, and several human bones, including a complete human jaw. These human r emains were radiocarbon dated to 10,300 calendar years ago Sensitive to the cultural implications of the discovery for Alaska Native Tribes, the F orest Service consulted immediately with Tribal r epresentatives. This step helped to prevent tensions between scientists' desire to study ancient remains and native cultures' beliefs about the sacredness and proper treatment of such remains. At the same time, other researchers were notified of the discoveries. Dr E. James Dixon, Professor of Archaeology and Museum Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, stepped forward with offers to curate, preserve, and study the specimens and to take on an


The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 No. 3 p age 4 ON YOUR KNEES CA VE, cont. from pg. 3 human remains. Many additional partners organizations, speak with researchers, and share in the exciting discoveries institutions, and individuals supported the project, including underway. In this way visitors seeking the T ongass National the T ongass National Forest Geology program, the P ort Forest's spectacular vistas and wildlife viewing opportunities Protection Community Association, the Organized Village of gained additional awareness about the human history of the Kake, and the Petersburg & Wrangell Districts of the T ongass area. National Forest. Recognizing the importance of this research and the The discoveries at On Y our Knees Cave have significant precedent set by the positive cross-cultural and enormous implications for our understanding of how and interdisciplinary working relationships, the partners, with when early cultures peopled the Americas and have also shed support from the National Park Service, are producing a light on the Ice Age ecology and glacial history of the region. doc ume nta ry vid eo hig hli ght ing the res ear ch and This exciting research, which is now changing scientific views partnerships. The video will explore the challenges posed by of early post-Ice Age environments and working together and the elements, which culture on the Northwest Coast, has have led to a productive project with generated international interest. The site benefits for all partners. has been featured in several documentaries For more information, you can visit: and popular magazine articles. Http:// Partners Seek Opportunities for Education and Outreach T o increase the opportunities for public education about the site and its significance, the On Y our Knees Cave partners have made the research project fully accessible to the public. A policy of open access to the site was in place throughout the five seasons of fieldwork. This provided residents and visitors with a unique opportunity to visit an important archaeological and paleontological site, T erry Fifield, Archaeologist Prince of Wales Island DistrictsT ongass National Forest PO Box 500Craig, AK 99921(907) 826-1642/826-2972 (fax) On Y our Knees Cave is a small cave on the northern aggressive e xcavation of the Seal Passage. Just beyond where tip of Prince of Wales Island. When discovered it consisted of the Bear and Seal passages branch is a constriction that two tight crawlways, one leading to a second entrance. The wouldn't allow us to dig very deep. But 40 feet farther back total passage of the cave was less than 200 feet. Based on the passage widened as we excavated, exposing a buried bones first discovered in these crawlways we named them the room. Beyond that it narrowed again, and we dug up to eight "Bear Passage" and "Seal Passage." Most of the early feet deep before hitting bedrock. So the sediments were at excavation was focused on the Bear Passage, which is where least three times thicker than in any part of the Bear Passage. part of a human skeleton was discovered in 1996 (the oldest But we hadn't found as many large bones. As we searched the human remains from northern North America). We sediments we ha d excavate d, we discover ed that certain excavated the first 40 feet down to a smooth bedrock floor A rodents occur in differing proportions in different levels of the spring enters the Bear Passage near the end of this excavation cave sediments, especially in the Seal Passage where the and runs down the remainder of the passage, and it has sediments are thicker. The deepest level is dominated by created several comple x cut-and-fill events in the sediments. marmots and long-tailed voles, suggesting a climate a little The "Rosetta Stone" was found near this spring, and it may cooler than today. A middle level is dominated by heather have been tipped over by being undercut by the stream or by voles and brown lemmings suggesti ng cold tundra a bear living in the chamber. The Bear P assage has some wide conditions. The upper level has mostly long-tailed voles, spot s and was u sed a s a de n by b ears Larg e bea r bon es an d a representing the transition to a modern rainforest caribou antler were found during the excavation. environment. The Seal Passage is much narrower than the Bear There were a couple of reasons I wanted to dig Passage, and it leads to a second entrance. Many bones of the further in the Seal Passage. First, I hoped that the room we ringed seal, which only lives on sea ice, were discovered uncovered might have served as a living chamber for cavethere, and they all dated to the Last Glacial Maximum dwelling carnivores and might produce more big bones if we (24,000 to 13,000 years ago). In 2000 we undertook a more dug deeper. I also hoped to recover older remains for BACK TO O.Y .K.... continued from page 2 (continues on page 5)


The Alaska n Caver V olume 25 N o. 3 page 5 Ke vin Allr ed m app ing the are a wi th a tran sit, pho to b y T erry Fifi eld radiocarbon dating so we could resolve the question of how The bedrock dropped into a deep cavity, and in it we found a old the oldest bones in the cave were. Furthermore, I hoped large black chert biface artifact. We e xcavated that area back that further careful excavation would provide higher two meters and about two meters deep and eventually found resolution on climate changes that have occurred over the an obsidian flake. We also found bones of bear otter, and a past 50,000 years. So a field season focused solely on perfect little bird skull as well as a lot of fish bone. But it wasn't excavating the Seal Passage seemed worthwhile. as productive as digging inside the cave. Jim Dixon, the archaeologist I previously worked What did we find with all this work? First, it doesn't with at On Y our Knees Cave, also wanted to return to do a appear that the room in the Seal Passage was ever a living thorough e xcavation around the cave's second entrance (Ed's chamber, at least for bears. In fact as we dug deeper and the Dilemma) at the far end of the Seal Passage. Around that room widened, the amount of bone decreased to almost ent ran ce som e nothing. We found more bear bones farther down the a r t i f a c t s h a d passage, toward the Ed's Dilemma entrance, but only teeth, turned up in a foot bones, and small fragments of larger bones. This suggests brown silt below that the bones were washed in from somewhere else after the t h e d e e p e s t animals died. We did find evidence of a fox living chamber at o r g a n i c the end of the excavation, even though the passage was very sediments, which narrow there. Fred discovered a pocket rich in tiny bird bones, su gg es te d th at including many sandpipers and song birds. These will add to they migh t be our species list for the cave. Fox bones wer e also abundant in older than those that pocket, suggesting that they were the predators. By around the main contrast, nearly all of the bear bones were found in much en tr an ce Ou r deeper levels in the sediment, and they were increasing in s u m m e r number where we ended our excavation. By submitting s c h e d u l e s bones at each level for radiocarbon dating we hope to work conflicted, so we out the chronology of all these historic events. decided to work In the past we dug up a number of pieces of broken a t t h e s i t e speleothem, but we found a lot more this year. F ar back in the c o n s e c u t i v e l y Seal passage the bedrock floor (buried nine feet in sediment) rather than at the was covered with a layer of flowstone in situ This may same time. His correspond to the speleothem fragment previously dated to group began in 186,000 years or may be even older, but we don't know how early June and set up the camp with the help of a helicopter long the flowstone sat there before sediment deposition drop. He pulled out at the end of June when our began. In the Seal Passage room we uncovered a layer of pal eon tol ogi cal exc ava tio n beg an. sediment composed almost entirely of fragmented This year I took five University of South Dakota speleothems. It made quite a sight when we dumped it out undergraduate students to Alaska with me in a university van. onto our sifting screen. Most of it was crusty, weather ed white Fred Grady who recently retired from the Smithsonian, was masses, but we also found many clean pieces including soda able to join us for the entire month, and he flew from D.C. and straws and larger stalactites. So there must have been some met us in Ketchikan. My wife Julie and daughter Christy joined us a week and a half later. On the drive north we stopped at the Smith home and were provided a delicious barbequed salmon dinner by Pete and V al. We set up our camp at the beach on Sumner Strait and hiked the half mile trail to the cave each day. This allowed us to give our screened sediments a final rinse in the ocean before drying them and provided many whale-watching opportunities. The cave camp was already set up by the archaeologists, so all we had to do was move in and get to work. The archaeologists planned to excavate a lot of the surface organic sediments from the Seal Passage before we go there, but they only proceeded three feet back and two feet deep. We began by extending their columns down another seven feet to bedrock. Then we worked in both directions and excavated the room that we had begun to uncover in 2000. In all we excavated and processed 1700 gallon bags of sediment. Fred dug nearly every day and the students also did a lot of excavating. We also continued the e xcavation at the Ed's Dilemma entrance where the archaeologists left off. Tim and Fr ed sorting dirt at the beach camp on Sumner Strait in 1999, photo by T erry Fifield BACK TO O.Y .K.... continued from page 4 (continues on page 13)


The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 No. 3 page 6 This is a poster created by the Chugach Design Center (Chugach National For est) for a presentation at the opening of the For est Service Hall of T ribes in DC last fall. It was the same week as the Grand Opening of the National Museum of the American Indian and the First Americans Celebration. Fred Grady is in the picture, crawling thr ough the seal passage in On Y our Knees Cave. The poster is about 40" X 24".


The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 No. 3 p age 7 (continues on page 8) Carroll Inlet, Alaska, by David Love C A L A M I TY C R E E K K A R S T M A P P I N G E X P E D I T I O N As the responsible resource management entity in to explore is generally less than 1 km wide and extends the T ongass National Forest, southeastern Alaska, the USFS is nort hward to inter sect the Inlet 's easte rn shorel ine required to protect all significant karst systems on the approximately 16 km from the Calamity creek area. On the T ongass, as specified by the National Cave Resources Geologic Map of Southeast Alaska (Gehrels and Berg, 1992), Protection Act. Although the appropriateness of the Karst this carbonate band is shown to thrust-fault along it's entire standard and quidelines developed by the US Forest Service western boundary overtopping the adjacent Permian and (USFS) and their conservative implementation have been Cretaceous sedimentary rock. Cretaceous granodiorites and questioned by Alaska caving groups such as the T ongass tonolites intrude the sedimentary rock bounding the eastern Cave Project and Glacier Grotto, the latter still volunteer to side of the carbonate deposit, which is also reported to have a help the USFS in karst inventory and cave mapping. boundary with Quaternary or Tertiary volcanics to the south. Much of the cave exploration has occurred in On June 27, 2003, five members of the Glacier association with USFS timber sale planning efforts, and many Grotto, all experienced southeastern Alaska cavers, Dan of the caves in Southeast Alaska would not have been Monteith, Diane Raab, Bruce White, Marcel LaPerriere and discovered or mapped without the financial support from the Dave Love met at T aquan Air at 7:30 am. USFS. Although many of the cavers feel that the USFS needs "Oops, we were supposed to leave at 7:30", to be more stringent in their protections of karst ecosytems, apologizes Kevin Casey, our newly aquainted "fearless we cannot effectively manage these systems without leader", arriving a few minutes later. Hired by the US Forest knowledge of their place in the greater landscape and a Service, out of Thorne Bay, Alaska, Kevin has the enviable pos iti ve wor kin g arr ang eme nt wit h the lea d lan d job of organizing caving expeditions to locate, explore and management agency. Nevertheless, most of the cavers in map caves in the Karst regions of southern Southeast Alaska. Southeast Alaska hope that landscape management practices T urns out he misunderstood 'first available' to mean 8:00 am. on the T ongass National For est are the most conservative and No worries. We load our gear into the floatplane and 3 of the that the USFS will apply the most stringent protections six cavers fly ten minutes east of Ketchikan, Alaska to an area possible. This has not always been the case in the past. of unexplored sinkholes in vertically bedded, white and blueRoading and clearcut logging in and around karst grey marble on the southern shore of Carroll Inlet, areas has resulted in damage to, and in -filling of, underlying Revillagigedo Island. The remaining three cavers arrive at caves and karst systems. Timber harvest of this type should Shoal Cove, our r endezvous spot, 30 minutes later. be avoided entirely on carbonate rock in the rainforests of We load our gear into a USFS gr een rig and drive the Southeast Alaska or other, less destructive ways of e xtracting logging roads to the pass overlooking Calamity Creek where timber from areas of lower vulnerability karst should be we are to meet the helicopter. Right at noon, the big red Bell employed. We hope that continued cooperation between the USFS and the caving groups will lead to even more conservative use of the lands overlying and adjacent to fragile and vulnerable karst areas of the T ongass. Many dedicated cavers in both the Glacier Grotto, T ongass Cave Project and from other places of the US and the world have, and will continue to work towards that end. Over 600 caves have been discovered and mapped on the T ongass National Forest, but mor e exploration, mapping, mitigation, and study await. The geological history of the area we explored is varied and interesting. The southeaster n Alaska coastline is an area of active plate tectonic collision. Extrusion of basalt in the offshore oceanic rift systems forces the Pacific plate, and any associated crust, eastward against the North American continental margin. Through the course of geologic time, successive layers of unique rock types (known as terranes") accrete and become slip faulted, fractured, subducted, re-melted, uplifted, tilted and twisted into dragonfly arrives to transport us and our gear up to the contorted melanges along the eastern edge of the Pacific muskegs on the ridge above Calamity Creek. Marcel and I fly basin. first, the gear and other cavers follow, the helicopter passing The carbonate rock of Revillagegedo Island, is one directly over the large sinkholes just below the subalpine part of one of these terranes, the Alexander T errane. muskegs where we will camp. An ideal setting for extensive Composed of a steeply bedded Permian outcrop running karst development, the tannin-rich waters of the spongy roughly parallel to Carroll Inlet, the band of marble we were Mar cel a nd D ave arriv e at the kars t via hel icop ter Ph oto by D iane Ra ab


The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 No. 3 page 8 CALAMITY CREEK... Continued from page 7 muskeg providing a steady flow of acid water downhill into has sculpted subterrainean stream channels out of the the basic bedrock below. W e spend the next days exploring beautiful grey-blue and white banded marble. and mapping in this area of unexplored karst. Four fairly large caves and several smaller features As soon as the rotor wash is gone, biting white-sox were explored and surveyed. They are described below in and no-see-um flies attack with a vengence and as the more detail, starting at the uppermost feature and moving helicopter disappears over the horizon the rain begins to fall. downslope along the width of the carbonate band. All of the It's a toss-up to say which is worse, the bugs or the rain. features ar e within about 1 km of the muskeg where camp Fortunately we have Diane along who conveniently acts as was set. the camp's bug attractant and also draws the short straw, thus "voluntarily" relinquishing her new tent to cave-mudded and HOOJIGGER'S HOLLER AND CHOCKSTONE sweaty cavers. We set up the remainder of the tents and our CANYON CA VE cook tarp, then hike down into the timber for a closer look at the caves below. This cave is located at the bottom of a large sink, The first cave in this Permian carbonate rock is just named "Hoojigger Holler", just below the muskeg. A surface below the muskeg, and due to the strike of the marble stream, about 4 CFS, cataracts into this large 8-12 meter deep bedding, the other karst features are arranged running in a sink before insurging at a downslope headwall. A tight line roughly southeast. entrance through large marble blocks to the east of this stream During the next 3 days of our survey trip we split into corksrews through breakdown block squeezing downward three survey teams. Dan and I set to surveying several small about 10 meters to the top of a fairly vertical canyon, finally caves near the insurgence at the top of the ridge, help Marcel bounded on the east side by friable phyllite bedding. and Bruce with mapping another cave and then map the The ceiling of the upper section of this canyon is furthest downslope resurgence. Bruce and Marcel work on comprised of the large chockstones one must carefully the large blowing cave entrance down the ridge from the squeeze through that all appear to be held in place by friction insurgence. Kevin and Diane go to the lower cave entrance and by one frighteningly small chockstone at the very bottom just above the resurgence. of the pile. Generally, the formation of the voids in this rock was This first room we named "Chockstone Room of different than most other caves I have seen in Southeast Death" for obvious reasons. Below this breakdown pile, there Alaska. The marble beds here are vertically bedded between is a small room upslope from a hole on the right wall and floor. layers of phyllite Water can be seen and heard flowing through this hole. The (a highly broken, main canyon passage, named "Chockstone Canyon", is friable mica or partially blocked 30 meters into the cave by a large marble s c h i s t ) t h a t block, further downpassage an active stream channel enters a p p e a r t o the "Chockstone Canyon" at the base of the right wall. This w e a t h e r a n d stream disappears at "Snorkle Sump" downstream through a def oli ate more too-tight slot in the floor at the deepest vertical extent of the quickly than the cave, 40 meters below the entrance. The stream channel mo re ma ss iv e meanders upstream from where it enters the main passage to m a r b l e c a n just below the hole in the floor of "Chockstone Room of dissolve. This Death", resurging at this point from underneath nonappears to result carbonate stream cobbles that entirely fill the passage. i n b l o c k s o f No invertebrates or bones were found in the cave. marble, some quite large, to fall DEER BONE PITS out of the ceiling and walls of the Downslope and southeast from "Hoojigger Holler", caves These were two small sinks. One mossy sink funneled into a 4 m blocks stack and drop that extended another 7 meters downpassage at about o l e a n o n o n e 75 inclination. The furthest extent of the cave contained a ano the r in all long bone, and the antlers which were still attached to the s o r t s o f weathered skull of a buck Sitka blacktail deer. The organic precarious, often sediment in this small sink looked fairly fresh as did the bones. unstable, configurations. Moving through the passage Loose marble blocks held together by soil and mud formed requires great care so as not to kick anything loose, or bring the entrance drop. This cave was named "Deer Drop In". the entire pile crashing in about you. Through the old-growth forest to the southeast and The stream passages generally follows the strike of downhill from "Deer Drop In" in a sink among the trees, we the marble beds, constrained by the insoluble phyllite beds to found a vertical shaft about 8 meters deep that was about either side. Water passing through certain sections of the cave 0.75 meters wide at the surface opening, then belled out to Kevin Casey our “F earless L eader”. Photo by Diane R aab (continues on page 9)


The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 No. 3 p age 9 (continues on page14) CALAMITY CREEK... Continued from page 8 about 4 meters wide at the bottom. T wo deer skeletons, the water can be seen originating from a deep resurgent pool possibly a doe and fawn, lay in the organic sediments on the underneath the main passage. After another 2 meter bottom of the pit. A window 5 meters from the back of the upclimb, and a slot with a bone and mud floor between huge cave lead to passage that ran parallel to the entrance pit. This breakdown blocks, the passage opens to a huge canyon 10 cave was named "Deix Guwakaan" (two deer in Tlingit). No meter wide by 100 m long and more than 10 meters height bone samples were taken from either site. filled with large breakdown blocks over sediments and deer bones. FOGGY BREAKDOWN CAVE Whole herds of deer bones scattered across the passage between, on top of, and beneath breakdown blocks Downslope from "Deix Guwakaan", what may be a ranging in size from cobble to school bus, indicated different different surface stream than that in "Chockstone Cave" pools bone depositional events through time. This large canyon during high flow events at a large entrance doline to the left of passage, below what appeared to be now sealed sinkholes the entrance of "Foggy Breakdown cave". This entrance at was named "Rudolph's Revenge". Prancer Dancer, Cupid the base of the sidewall requires a handline to access the entrance room. It drops a few meters onto a mud floor surrounded by huge stacks of marble slabs, arranged like cards or books on a bookshelf, leaning against the walls. A slot between the two center slabs leads to a upward sloping passage through and over large breakdown blocks. Water can be heard through one vertical tight side lead on the left wall partway up this sloping scree and marble slab slope. Upon reaching one upward climb requiring jumars, I foolishly said, Wow Marcel did you climb this?". Dan Monteith's reply, No the film crew did…" Gave ever yone a good laugh. Marcel did tell us that the climb really was fairly easy, "e xcept for the last two moves at the end". Past this climb, a kneeling squeeze to a 2 meter upward scramble leads to a phreatic tube above a beautiful 22 meter drop an d D ix en we re al l identified. Woody debris, through banded marble to intersect a sculpted blue and white hemlock cones and Carbon-14 dating of a deer long bone banded marble stream canyon passage below This passage collected from the furthest upslope extent of "Rudolph's continues about 70 meters downstream to a gravel and Revenge" indicated an age of 215 +/40 radiocarbon years cobble sump, the stream cascading down 3 waterfalls before or AD 1735, which means the sinkholes above were open in draining through a gravel and cobble sump at the lower the fairly recent past (Tim Heaton, Univ of South Dakota, extent of the cave. In small voids above and to either side of personal communication). this sump, moonmilk and small stalactites can be seen. “Foggy Breakdown" is an inter esting, beautiful and "sporting" cave, containing unique aquatic invertebrates, Directly below the 22 meter drop and heading bone deposits and beautiful marble vadose passage. northwest and up the approximately 5 CFS stream, several species of white and translucent aquatic insects were HOWLING AT THE MOON discovered. Although likely that these are surface sp ecies that had been transported into this system as larvae, several flying A rope is needed to negotiate the large collapse sink adults were seen in our headlamps while surveying. White at the entrance to "Howling at the Moon" cave, providing Chironomids (midges), Trichoptera (caddis flies), Plecoptera access to a sizable subsurface stream. (stonefly) larvae and white/cream colored planaria The stream arose from breakdown at the bottom of (flatworms) were collected and have been sent off for the pit and flowed down amongst the large breakdown slabs identification. in the cave. Due to the foliation of the marble, rock tends to Upstream from several meanders, pools and riffles, Deer antler s in F oggy Brea kdow n Cav e. Pho to by Dan M onteit h and Vixen were all identified. Woody debris,


(Map continues on page 11) “RUDOLPH’S REVENGE” BONEYARD “RUDOLPH’S REVENGE” BONEYARD The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 N o. 3 page 10


20 05 (Foggy Br eakdown map continued from page 10) The Alaskan Caver Volume 25 N o. 3 page 11


The Alas kan Cav er V olum e 25 No 3 pa ge 1 2 (Map continues on page13)


The Alas kan Cav er V olum e 25 No 3 pa ge 1 3 high energy event that tore up the cave: either an earthquake or a powerful influx of coarse gravel and rocks. There was also a level in the Seal Passage that had an unusual number of limestone blocks from the cave ceiling, but speleothems weren't found on any of those. So most of the speleothems must have been washed in from somewhere else. Perhaps the cave was once larger and was truncated by glaciation (or other erosion) at some time in the past.some time in the past. At the end of the excavation Fr ed suggested digging some sediment at the entrance to the Seal Passage that had been missed previously and that turned up a lot of the usual bear and murre bones as well as another tooth of the mysterious saiga or goat that we've struggled to identify. So it was a successful field season in adding many specimens to the collection and revealing some new secrets. A lot more will be learned as we search the sediments in the lab to find the smaller animals, such as rodents, and as we get results of new radiocarbon and uranium dates. BACK TO O .Y .K.... continued from page 5


CALAMITY CREEK... Continued from page 9 F O G G Y B R E A K D O W N, G O N E M I S S I N G F O G G Y B R E A K D O W N, G O N E M I S S I N G The Alas kan Cav er V olum e 25 No 3 pa ge 1 4 breakdown in 20-30 cm wide slabs of all sizes, stacking along tight passage named "Coffin of Nails". the walls and on the floors. The stream passage follows the strike of the marble bedding, between insoluble phyllite beds. On the last day, low clouds and fog prevent the At various points, the water has punched through these helicopter from picking us up, so we pack up and hike insoluble beds, allowing the cave to migrate eastward. downslope past the now-familiar caves, across a drainage Once past the breakdown of the entrance sink, the and back to the logging road and our transport to Shoal Cove water cascades down a beautiful str eam passage carved out and pickup by T aquan Air back to Ketchikan. Sad to be of the marble. Splash pools and cascades often had beautiful leaving a now-familiar piece of the Alexander Archipeligo bullseye patterns as the water cut through successive layers of landscape, but satisfied that we have done a good job blue and white marble. Horizontal passage continued for 10 mapping this cave system, we look over our shoulders at meters below a 6 meter waterfall drop before another drop ridge above Calamity Creek, already anticipating the next Southeast Alaska caving adventur e. requiring a bolt for rigging. This passage sumped downstream soon after and the survey was competed. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT OF THIS AREA: WA TER HAZARD CAVE g Protection of beautiful entrance sinks and collapse features A resurgent stream issues from the base of a 10 meter g Recognition of unique cave formation, and possibly unique headwall at the lowest reach of this carbonate outcrop. Moss aquatic invertebrates in cave covered rocks in the stream below hanging ferns and devil's g No timber harvest, soil disturbance in the area or the u p s l o p e club frame a beautiful view down "View Canyon". drainage g Dye tracing needed to confirm connections between caves Inside the cave, two successive waterfalls flow down g Further collections of aquatic invertebrates for ID canyon into a deep pool, "Caver Float T est Pool" just inside g Further collection of paleontological samples from Foggy the entrance. Inside the first dome on the downstream wall Breakdown intrusive non-carbonate sandstone "daggers" protrude from g Mapping of the going lead in Foggy Breakdown most of the cave wall, the surrounding marble having been g Further exploration of the rest of this carbonate band to the north eroded away. This feature was nicknamed "Wall of Daggers". g New exploration of the carbonate band that lies to the south o Climbing up "Water Hazard" falls, through 10 C water, one reaches a small side room filled with br eakdown LITERATURE CITED: blocks. Below the upper canyon floor, a deep pool at least 3 George E. Gehrels and Henry C. Berg, 1992. Geologic Map of m deep trending to the north can seen. Southeastern Alaska. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Climbing further upward for about 5 meters leads to Geological Survey. a too-tight lead and small, dry upper passage ending in a too If you are a regular reader of Alaskan Caver phreatic tube through the Whojigger's life. Such is the thread magazine, a sketcher for survey work in unexplored caves, a that connects the saga behind the cave map of Foggy cartographer of cave maps, or anyone vaguely familiar with Breakdown. the #1 Whojigger, the S/V Misty Isle or Saint's Rest, then this The whole thing started the year the Forest Service story will be somewhat predictable. Anyone who can identify expedition was headed for a rare and beautiful thing; a cave with any of the categories listed above knows that a real and on Revilla Island. F or years, e xpeditions started in Ketchikan mercurial element is inherent in each. There are no cavers in and ranged west and northward all over the Hecata Alaska who don't recognize the element known as "Random Limestone formation. Allen and Marcel had scrounged up Chaos." Those of you familiar with the Whojigger know that the odd "Ash Cave" and the remains of Wiley Coyote (a gravel he lives and thrives on the element also known as "Surprise!" pit excavated at a now destroyed shallow marble cave) here or "Guess what can go wrong." Those of us who use boats, on Revilla island but common knowledge has it that caves know the old saying "Anything that can go wrong, will, at the don't grow here. worst possible moment." Those of us who sail, know One winter, The great and illustrious Beach Troll (our Whojigg er's obser vation of Murphy' s Law regardin g affectionate nick name for Jim Baichtal, USFS Geologist) had sailboats. Whojigger's observation states "Murphy was a let it be known that a LIDAR survey showed a few interesting XXXX!!!ing Optimist!" Such is the theme that runs like a holes located in an area inaccessible by anything but a By Bruce White, June 7, 2005


The Alas kan Cav er V olum e 25 No 3 pa ge 1 5 ...GONE MISSING, continued from page 14 chopper. Rumor has it he took off in early spring on a frog system and now feel that a ropewalker system might keep chopper to check it out. He had found something for sure. me dropping pits for a few more years. Jim like I said, scoped Now, I need to explain. Some of us are growing out the area and said there was a real honest to goodness long in the tooth, silver in our hair, and wise in out decisions to cave. He said he didn't scoop the cave but it was bomber. push the limits of what our bodies can handle. Jim caved Kevin, (Fearless Leader #3) started teasing us with exploring with the best but now passes the honor of Alaska Extreme the jewel of our island. Hints of a chopper flight to the site and Caving on to more foolish and resilient cavers. I have cut spike camp support made me feel like this was the cave an old back myself to being a good support person. I take on the job man like me must be included in for its exploration. of bolter and mapper in order to sit for long periods and We gathered for the expedition at my house that conserve my energy. I take my time on long ascents with a summer and on a misty MVFR day we took off to Carrol Inlet. (continues on page 18)


The Alas kan Cav er V olum e 25 No 3 pa ge 1 6


The Alas kan Cav er V olum e 25 No 3 pa ge 1 7


Beaver flights are the normal but a chopper ride, well, that calls for over 4 months until I just couldn't hold out any made this special! We transferred our gear to FS trucks and longer. vans and headed for the pick up point near the base of the I got a call from Dr. Love and finally admitted the mountain. Orange suits on, helmets and boots as required truth, the map was gone. The word was out and hell fire was for chopper flights and off we went, 3 at a time to the top of breathed in my direction from points north. How could the mountain. We set up camp in an alpine bog a couple these cavers ever depend on the Whojigger to be hundred meters above the cave entrance. We had a very responsible, to find his way home, to not screw up a sure bet. interesting situation in deciding tent partners but I leave that Carlene just met my eyes with the sadness of a puppy in the story for others to describe. dog pound with only one more day before…. I'll give them The cave was more glorious than we could have all credit, not a one had to change their opinion of me or expected. Like most Alaskan caves, it is young and raw. shunned me in public. OK, they shunned me and talked Few speleothems but this cave was carved out of banded naughty behind my back and swore an oath never to speak blue and white marble. The entrance was once a resurgence to me again, but at least they didn't come to Saint's Rest with so this cave had the unusual character of entering it and torches to burn me out like Frankenstein. I guess they climbing up. controlled themselves for Charlotte's sake. The trip report would normally follow at this point One day this spring, I was hunting through another but it was sadly lost in the wake of a wedding which brings pile of gear looking for my reel grease when I noticed a me to the real reason for this story. After I returned home curious tube in the back corner of the gear room. I pulled it and showed everyone the pictures of this cave, I out with trembling hands, unrolling it as the dust filtered immediately started working on the map. I had all the data, through the air. That which had been lost, had been found. had made copious drawings and sketches and set down to There in the same state I had left it was the penciled full-scale produce an old-fashioned cave map without the help of the map. I unrolled the second velum and nearly cried as the new cave drawing programs available. By October, I had inked in copy lay once again in my hands. I called everyone roughed out a penciled sketch, half my final scale and and told them the good news and swore I'd finish it by Spring showed it off to all involved. I then made a full scale in pencil break. The bottom of the map has a few areas to interpret and started to ink in a final map. I took it up to Juneau but without the cave survey book, I didn't want to just make nearly complete to Dr Love's wedding who was impr essed up and fill in the sketch. I've hunted and hunted for the at the high quality it had turned out to be. Carlene Allred book, tearing everything apart several times but to no avail. came over to my house and told me it was worth submitting So in the end, I decided to fake the end just to get it done. As in the NSS competition and gave me a few pointers and I pulled it out of the mailing tube I noticed a scrap of paper. ways to conform to conventions. That is where this story On it was my penciled sketch at half scale of the bottom of would end if it hadn't been for a wedding. the cave. I decided I had no more excuses and would finish Andrea, a beautiful young lassie from Oregon was it as soon as school let out. As I was finishing this article, I getting married to a handsome young man in the Coast dusted off the cobwebs thinking about where I'd found the Guard but had no place to get married. Charlotte and I map and a niggling little point kept wandering around in the offered our house on the water as a perfect place for the shadows. The cave sur vey book briefly showed up and wedding, offered to house the Clan flying up from Oregon disappeared. In a flurr y of activity I ransacked the usual thinking nothing of the ramifications behind that offer. places I keep hidden treasures. The effort required I unsettle When Andrea's family arrived a complete transformation the dust around my lazy-boy my thrown, my little kingdom started to happen at Saint's Rest, which is the name we have to read and watch the history channel. Under my light table given for our home. for map making was a crevice filled with spent pipe tobacco, I tend to walk quietly in my house in order to keep dust bunnies, and there in all its splendor rested the book. from disturbing the dust that has accumulated on the stacks Now I could finish the legend and make this map accurate! of books and papers that cover my den. I figured Andrea School just got out and now I am back in better would move a couch here, a table there and set up some graces with Dr. Dan, good enough to be invited to his folding chairs in the living room and such would be the wedding at least. W ell, I think I was invited because the extent of the disturbance. Not so, she took over the whole wedding announcement was addressed to Saint's Rest. house cleaning it from top to bottom! In the living room Char and Samantha's names were on the announcement neatly rolled up next to my cartographic supplies lay Foggy and I'm sure my name was left out by accident because Breakdown, 9/10ths completed. That was the last I saw of it, when we called to confirm we were coming up to Juneau for my cave book with all the data and my tools. After the his wedding, he didn't seemed surprised that I'd be there wedding, I started hunting for the map looking in all the with my kilt on. His very words were, "Just don't drink too reasonable places. Dr. Dan, Dr. Love and Carlene all made much and wear underwear.” inquires on when the map would be finished and each So the map is finished. The titles and such are weekend, I pawed through another pile of junk looking, going into Carlene's hands and such will be the end of this hoping, praying it would show up. I ducked their phone story. Well, maybe…. ...GONE MISSING, continued from page 15 The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 5 No. 3 pag e 18


Spelunkers Rescued Tuesday June 26, 2005 JUNEAU UMPIRE LOCAL Sunday Alaska State Troopers, the Coast violets compare Guard and local volunteers responded to a annual growth report of two missing spelunkers on South ing soil was Douglas Island late Tuesday According to of the final an unidentified friend, Phreada Phreatic her daffodils and a companion who identified himself first place only as Dr. K. Science failed to return to seasonal rain Juneau while cave exploring. Blue ribbon Spokesperson Trooper A. J. Comblitz said daisies and after extensive searching, fixed wing and were not allow Coast Guard helicopters finally located Every their beached skiff near Point Hilda. perennial leaves Rescuers followed a flagged route to a wild in the pavillion small cave entrance. tried to stop Comb litz repo rted that Miss cave. Comblitz describes Phreatic as cut down but Phreatic had been trapped in a narrow Being very confused and uncooperative choked the about being removed from the out of controll constriction when an stems wrapped improvised pulley system was flower show used to remove her. “Dr State Trooper Science” was discovered in a were not able small room beyond Miss ional Guard was Phreatic. According to attempted to Comblitz, “Science was in the terrified onlooke final stages of hypothermia Doors were wearing only dress clothes. He unable to see claimed he had entered the cave pierced. the to study beetles, and that cpr was admen Phreatic kicked at him whenever wrapping around he made an attempt to help troops could extract her”. chemicals were The couple was to see how transported to Bartlett General hospital was Hospital for treatment of wing. as a hypothermia and minor exterminatator abrasions. Comblitz cautions the panic would-be spelunkers that the out of control caves in Alaska are cold and the bodies were dangerous, and those who enter something to them should be duly prepared, mortuary. all and let someone know exactly warning. where they are going. Coast Guard personnel lower litter down to the beach following the r escue of two spelunkers from a Douglas Island cave. AP photo/Gordon Mac Flowers The Alaskan Caver Volum e 25 No. 3 page 19 Volunteer cavers plan r escue operation to locate lost spelunkers. Photo/Quilta Bead


The Alaskan Caver 2525 F ourth Ave. Ketchikan, AK 99901 Address Service Requested

Contents: Back to On
Your Knees Cave / Tim Heaton --
On Your Knees Cave, from PRC website --
On Your Knees Cave Poster --
Calamity Creek Karst Mapping Expedition / David Love --
Map of Foggy Breakdown Cave --
Map of Diex Guwakaan and Deer Drop In Caves --
Foggy Breakdown Gone Missing / Bruce White --
Map of Hoojiggers Holler and Chockstone Cave --
Map of Water Hazard Cave --
Map of Howlin' At The Moon Cave --
Dr. Science and Phreada Phreatic.