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: Junea's UAS Caving Club Happenings -- Chitistone Expedition Report / Donald G. Davis -- Map of Whispering Cave and Others in the Vicinity -- Map of Birthday Cave -- Map of Ominous Crack Cave -- Map of Upper Sheep Cave -- Ketchikan Caving Club Happenings -- Map of Frost Ring Cave -- World's Largest Cave Crystals -- Grotto Election Results -- Dr. Science.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 27, no. 2 (Part 1) (2007 )
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:
K26-00253 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.253 ( USFLDC Handle )
4413 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

Added automatically
Karst Information Portal

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THE AL ASKAN CA VER THE AL ASKAN CA VER V olume 27 Number 2 April 2007 V olume 27 Number 2 April 2007


Back cover: Loading up to d epart from Peavine Bar Chitistone Canyon. Pho to by Nick Olmstead. Front cover: Kevin Allred admires ice formations inside Whispering Cave, Chitis tone area, Alaska. Photo by Steve Lewis. J U N E A U Â’S U .A .S C A V IN G C L U B H A P P E N IN G S (continues on page 14) by David Love FROM THE EDITOR: These past two years of my editorship have been very enjoyable for me and I thank the members for re-electing me. I would especially like to thank Rebecca Valentine and my husband, Kevin, for their help in proof-reading. And I would like to remind readers that this publication also comes in digital form, which contains color maps and photos. Please let me know if you want it this way in addition to, or instead of the regular hard copy form. THE ALASKAN CAVER EDITOR: Carlene Allred 2525 4th AveKetchikan, Alaska 99901hm: 907 GLACIER GROTTO OFFICERSPRESIDENT : David Love 6740 MargueriteJuneau, AK 99803 VICE PRESIDENT : Kevin Allred 2525 4th AveKetchikan, Alaska 99901 SECRETARY/TREASURER: Rebecca Valentine11976 N. TongassKetchikan, AK 99901 CONSERVA TION: Steve Lewis Box 53Tenakee Spr ., AK 99841 CAVE RESCUE: Gary Sonnenberg PO Bos 22555Juneau, AK 99802 TONGASS CAVE PROJECT : Steve Lewis Box 53Tenakee Spr AK 99841 Kevin Allred 2525 4th AveKetchikan, AK 99901hm: 907 Pete Smith 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. JuneauÂ’s UAS Caving Club happenings ------------------------------------page 2 Chitistone Expedition Report, by Donald G. Davis ----------------------page 3 Map of Whispering Cave and others in vicinity ---------------------------page 5 Map of Birthday Cave ----------------------------------------------------------page 10 Map of Ominous Crack Cave -------------------------------------------------page 11 Map of Upper Sheep Cave ----------------------------------------------------page 11 Ketchikan Caving Club happenings -----------------------------------------page 11 Map of Frost Ring Cave --------------------------------------------------------page 12 WorldÂ’s Largest Cave Crystals ------------------------------------------------page 14 Grotto election results -----------------------------------------------------------page 14Dr. Science ------------------------------------------------------------------------page 15 The Alaskan Caver Volume 27 No. 2 p age 2 This past year, UAS student Louis Hoock and fellow students at the University of Alaska Southeast Juneau campus organized the university-sanctioned University of Alaska Southeast Caving Club (UAS Caving Club). In conjunction with active membership of the Glacier Grotto, UAS Caving Club members have organized several rope practices, a cave mapping seminar and several Glacier Grotto presentations. The UAS Caving Club is a student organization with the intent of teaching students about Archeology, Geology Hydrology, Speleology Caving Methods and Safety and Cave Conservation through expeditionary environmental studies. The UAS Caving Club brings Southeast Alaska's caving and geological experts (The Glacier Grotto membership, UAS Geology and Anthropology professors Dr. Cathy Connor and Dr. Daniel Monteith, and friends) together to give students the opportunity to get hands-on experience mapping, exploring and researching cave and karst systems in Southeast Alaska. Approximately 12 to 24 students and Glacier Grotto members participate in meetings held on the UAS campus. T o date, UAS and Glacier GrottoJuneau have been fortunate to have Kevin and Carlene Allred travel to Juneau to speak TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS


Aug. 28 through Sept. 6, 2006 by Donald G. Davis CHITISTONE EXPEDITION REPORT CHITISTONE EXPEDITION REPORT Figure 1. Whispering Cave area fr om below. Triangular entrance is Upper Sheep Cave (a blind grotto), with Frost Ring Cave to its right; Whispering Cave is directly below Fr ost Ring. Photo by Nick Olmstead. Figure 2. Main public use cabin at Peavine Bar backcountry airstrip (expedition HQ). Photo by Nick Olmsted. (continues on page 4) The Alaskan Caver Volume 27 No. 2 p age 3 In April 2006, the NSS gave us a Sara Corrie level gallery whose entrance is the big lead we $250 grant to aid in reaching and exploring a virgin saw from the air. Cave moisture freezing as the rising "chimney effect" cave airflow exits this cave lead in Wrangell-St. Elias National P ark in eastern hole would account for the frost ringing the Alaska. The grant was shared equally among the five opening. participants (Kevin Allred, Donald Davis, Steve Lewis, "If the respective entrance sizes are any indication, this upper cave may be a larger Nick Olmsted, and Pete Smith) to partly defray passage than Whispering Cave, and (because transportation, food and equipment costs. Below is a its stream has been pirated to the Whispering summary of the results. level below) may be faster and easier to explore, Our reasons for the expedition, as stated in my and is expected to bypass the Whispering terminal sump. Once the entrance has been grant application: reached (it will probably take some technical “Y ou may recall my article in the NSS climbing), large passage could continue for News of August 1996 about a winter visit to miles toward glaciers above the cave ridge, and Whispering Cave in the Wrangell-St. Elias possibly beneath the glaciers, in the manner of Castleguard Cave, Canada. The National Park & Pr eserve. What I did not geomorphology here suggests potential for the mention in that article (in order to forestall longest cave in Alaska (if not in the entire F ar "scooping") was a large frost-rimmed entrance, North!)" in a ledge directly above the Whispering entrance but hundreds of feet higher that we saw from the airplane as we were being flown out at the end of the trip. [See Fig. 1.] “Whispering Cave ends in a sump, but had strong inhaling airflow during our winter visit. This wind was going up an impenetrably narrow fissure above the main passage before the sump. It probably goes to a "fossil" upperAfter assembling at McCarthy, we flew to the Peavine Bar airstrip in the Chitistone valley on Aug. 28, 2006, spent the following eight full days based there at a free public-use cabin (Fig. 2), and flew back out Sept. 6. During that time, Kevin, Pete and Steve r eached the cave lead (~150 feet directly above Whispering Cave up a sheer cliff; more than 200' above the cliff base) via a difficult three-day rock climb (Figs. 3, 4). They then rigged a rope for survey teams, and Kevin, Pete, Steve and I returned to survey on Sept. 2. The exploration verified some of our original observations and working assumptions. The entrance


Figure 5. Looking out NW from Frost Ring Cave over a drizzly sunset, at the Chitistone/Nizina valley junction Sept. 2, 2006. Photo by Steve Lewis. CHITISTONE ... continued from page 3 Figure 4. Pete Smith traversing from Upper Sheep around shattered buttress into Fr ost Ring Cave. Looking north; braided Chitistone valley and west flank of Chitistone Mountain in background. Photo by Kevin Allred. Figure 3. Kevin Allred and Pete Smith climbing "open book" into Upper Sheep frost pocket. Aug. 29, 2006. Photo by Steve Lewis. Figure 6. Pete Smith in back of Frost Ring entrance room, at beginning of crawl. Frost-shattered breakdown on floor. Photo by Steve Lewis. (continues on page 5) The Alaskan Caver Volume 27 No. 2 p age 4 (Fig. 5; about 45' wide by 40' high) was in fact considerably larger than that of Whispering Cave, and there was indeed a continuing cave inhaling air which was consistent with our belief that the frost seen rimming the entrance in the winter of 1996 indicated a chimney effect wind circulating through Whispering Cave below. We began to call the new cave "Frost Ring Cave.” Beyond the entrance chamber, however the reality began to diverge from our best-case scenario. Only 30 feet in, the passage funneled into a passage about 15 feet wide, but frost-wedging shattering had created so much rubble that some digging was required to move aside enough rocks to permit belly-crawling through (Fig. 6). After 30 feet, the passage opened further, becoming a dry (but locally drippy) phreatic tube (Fig. 7) undulating gently up and down (more down than up). On the upward jogs, there were some

Contents: Junea's UAS
Caving Club Happenings --
Chitistone Expedition Report / Donald G. Davis --
Map of Whispering Cave and Others in the Vicinity --
Map of Birthday Cave --
Map of Ominous Crack Cave --
Map of Upper Sheep Cave --
Ketchikan Caving Club Happenings --
Map of Frost Ring Cave --
World's Largest Cave Crystals --
Grotto Election Results --
Dr. Science.


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