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: Sustainable Mapping of Caves / Ph. Hauselmann -- A Spring Break POW Caving Adventure / Tristan Graham -- Adventures in Starlight Cave / Tara Wilhelm -- Katie's Tale, Poem / Katie Wall -- Tales of Prince of Wales, Poem / Tara Wilhelm -- Diary of a C.R.F. China Expedition / Chuck Pease -- Caving on Mars, Anyone?
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 27, no. 3 (2007 (Part 2))
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-00257 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.257 ( USFLDC Handle )
4417 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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The Alaskan Caver Volume 27 No. 3 p age 6 Strange anemone-like ice formations ad orn the floor of Starlight Cave. Photo by T ara Wilhelm. Matthew Perry Katie Wall, R ebecca Wall, Olivia Round and Rachel Wall pose together in Starlight C ave. Photo by T ara Wilhelm. P .O.W ADVENTURE, cont. from pg. 5 (continues on page 8) belts. As we lay in the packed snow near the edge of the and as I climbed over the logs and into the passage I was cliff, T ristan, Forest and I waved our arms and legs amazed by the small frozen waterfall that glistened in around in the air in an imitation of a crackling fire, the wintry light. brought on by our super bright orange and red caving Venturing farther into the cave we turned on suits that we were all wearing. our headlights and gazed at the high rock ceiling and After enough time had passed for my toes and walls. On the ground we noticed small patches of ice, fingers to get sufficiently cold and immobile, it was my created, I suppose, by drips from the ceiling. turn to make my way down the rope, half jumping Nevertheless, they had formed strange but beautifulas I moved my safety device down the rope with me. looking sculptures of crystal ice that looked like Nearing the bottom of the slope I was able to better frightened anemones. We walked carefully around understand the layout of the cavern before me. them as we proceeded along the mostly level ground. What I was climbing down into was like the bottom of a bubble, a huge bowl shaped hole in the earth, half of it was covered, creating the huge cavern that we climbed into. I had just climbed down the side of the bowl that was not covered. Inside the cavern there were multiple caverns leading away. Also higher up on the surrounding cliffs other cave mouths could be seen, but they were far too high for us to get to today, and it was uncertain if they actually created real caves I walked into the back of the enormous cavern which had a large pile of rocks on one side. On the other side was a huge slope of snow, one part of which we had climbed down. I wandered over to where a few of my friends stood at the back of the cavern. We have two leaders of our new caving group; Kevin and Carlene Allred. Carlene had helped us rappel The floor slanted uphill and we saw a glow of down the slope to get to the cave, and she sunlight ahead. Switching off our lights we gazed up remained at the top to help people back up. Kevin was at a jagged scratch through the rock that revealed a in the cave with us. By the time I got down he was glimpse of the gray sky. Some snow and a log lay frozen a l re a d y l e a d i n g a g r o u p i n t h r o u g h t h e under the patch of sky, and ther e was no further main cave. So the remaining five of us wandered passages for us to fit through. We made our way back through the smaller cavern. to the light of the large cavern, my friend Olivia being It was a large, breezy hole, with a jam of frozen my model as I took pictures of the large, intricate logs at the entrance. Icicles hung from the opening, structures of ice on the walls, and other cool rock formations. Back in the main entrance we now looked for more caves to explore. The other side of the cavern was dotted by small entrances and we explored around, but none but one led farther than 15-20 ft. One ended at a low pool, inside of which was almost a perfect square of deeper water, and also an ugly scratching of some guysÂ’ name in the soft cave rock beside the pool. We now ventured into the only r emaining long passage, crawling quick ly in our excitement. It narrowed down to end at a trickle of water and some awesome rock formations. Unable to find further, deeper caves inside the passage, we returned to the surface. I was wondering where the other group had gotten off to, as we were unable to find them. W e didn't wait long before the other group returned,


Now there were two sets of twins who joined in this feat In the rainy greyness towards the winters end, Rachel and Rebecca are such a wonderful treat! The slushy snow of the Southeast Alaska season still tends Naturally considerate and thoughtful they are never at a loss To randomly fall and clump around When jumping into icy water they are boss! A few birds occasionally will sound They have lovely blond hair, one has slightly shorter locks But still, one source of happiness is found Their bright blue eyes, slim figures and they are very smart! It clings to the youth just now from school unbound Though similar looking their personalities show them apart They disperse into countless adventures far and wide But a certain group is called to seek out new territory with a guide A girl of brown tresses, with curly, long eye-lashes They go to a land where they can find caves Was the older sister of the twins, she dashes They travel across rough road and sea waves Into any available adventure or sport They seek wild thrills and explorations A brave girl from the farmland in North Dakota she's the sort To gain some experience and see some awesome cave formations She knows all about animals, horses and sheep She's so nice and friendly, open and deep They gathered to embark before a mighty ship With much confusion and stress they managed to slip A traveler by practice, musician and teacher by trade Their massive packs and bags into the three cars He's adventurous and loves hiking and for kayaking he is made! And hurriedly rushed to board the barge. He's kind, energetic, quite wise and strong Now a three hour voyage lay before And can sing and dance all night long! So I messed around with my friends and I'll now describe them some more. He's searching the world for society's reasons He believes in intuition, and is gone with the season. We had an exceptional leader, he's been over the world to every cool cave This awesome spelunker's experience and knowledge is something we crave Another companion on this wild foray He lives for adventure and exploring the earthÂ’s hidden pores He goes by Matty to me, but I suppose he'd rather I say He's fun-loving and kind and has taught us about caving, Matt, Matthew, an amazing nice, great guy! opened our mindsÂ’ doors. He's probably better at you at juggling or trombone, challenge him!, just try! Another comrade that is totally tight Always energetic and smiling as he learns skills, and IÂ’m SheÂ’s wonderfully crazy, awesome and rarely full of spite Gunna call him a brother since we beat each other up all the time! She loves to be random, wild and weird Her nameÂ’s Olivia, one not to so greatly feared This is just half of the crew that came on those treks She's ever kind and nice to everyone she meets to explore the caves and risk their necks She's a high school student who doesn't believe in eating any kinda meats! To view the wonders found below ground The journey is beginning, our adventurous hearts pound! By Tara Wilhelm The Alaskan Caver Volume 27 No. 3 p age 7


P .O.W ADVENTURE, cont. from pg. 6 Kevin Allred and Samantha Barnes negotiate Starlight Cave. Photo by T ristan Graham. covered in dark brown mud and earth, some of which way back to the surface. was smeared across each others faces in friendly However, as we took turns climbing through the affection. Kevin was with them, and he now took me narrow segment of passage with the jagged rock and Matt, Rachel, Rebecca and Katie into the large jammed in the middle, Matt found that a very big rock cave, the longest tunnel in the Starlight Cave. had started to slide towards the tunnel entrance as he We went down the same large passage, but this came out. Everyone but Kevin was still waiting to climb time slipped through a narrow entrance I hadn't noticed out of the narrow passage, and as I sat in the dark on our first exploration of the tunnel. There was a twisty closeness of the tunnel I heard Matt scrambling, saying rocky tunnel, then a very small steep entrance, mostly something about a falling rock. Not fully realizing the blocked by a large rock, that came to a point. implications of the situation, all of us still in the passage We had to climb, sliding on our bellies, to get moved out of the way so as not to be hit by a rock. through the small entrance to venture further into the Eventually Kevin and Matt managed to move the rock cave. The tunnel was so steep it made this a bit scary to and we climbed out slowly and returned to the light of do, but we all managed fine, and with Kevin's narration day. of rock formations and where to go, we e xplored the On the way out Matt explained that a very large cave further. rock, big enough to block the tunnel we had been Some different tunnels branched off in this cave climbing through, had nearly slid past him to do just with pools of water, and skinny high ceiling passages that, trap the rest of our group underground!! But we that wrapped around. Near the small place we had just safely emerged to the surface and spoke of our new squeezed through there was another tunnel leading passage finding to the rest of the group. We wer e all so down very steep, and covered in loose soil. Kevin told filthy from some of the more dirt-filled tunnels that we me it didn't go much anywhere, but I climbed down jumped into the snow on one side of the huge cavern to anyway to check it out, covering myself in dirt as I clean ourselves off, leaving a brown swath in the once scooted down the passage, some loose dirt sliding with pristine snow me. It did indeed end soon, with only fist-sized holes We had e xplored the cave, found new tunnels, continuing on. and nearly been trapped! We climbed back up the Now fully caked in dirt I returned to the others, rope out of the cavernous basin and began the long trek and we continued exploring in the tunnels that twined back to our cars. Our caving clubÂ’s first venture into a through one another. I attempted to keep track of all the cave has been an amazing, great experience for the passages with the different, awesome rock formations participants, and we hope to return to map out the new and twists within the cave, but I soon became lost as parts of the cave, and have many futur e adventur es in to where I ha d come from e xactly this beautiful subterranean world of caves. As I wandered around with the others, some of us climbed up above a passage way, and finding a deeper, skinny tunnel we edged our way along, walking sideways. It was Kevin who came to realize he had never been here before. W e continued, totally excited to be exploring a new passage. After a few minutes along this un-mapped passageway we came to a drop-off, some water flowing at least ten feet down the sloping floor. We looked around, seeing that the cave continued deeper, but without rope or climbing gear we couldn't descend safely. So bubbling with happiness to having found a new segment of passage, we made our The Alaskan Caver Volume 27 No. 3 p age 8


The Alaskan Caver Volume 27 No. 3 p age 9 (continues on page 10) THE BASICS OF MAPPING C a r le n e A ll re d re a d s c o m p a s s in a K il a u e a C a ld e r a la v a c a v e P h o to b y W .R H a ll id a y (P h o to a d d e d b y t h e e d it o r o f th e A la sk a n C a v e r) WHY THE HOL Y TRINITY? WHY A PLAN VIEW? SUST AINABLE MAPPING.... continued fro m page 2 are present and labeled on critical sites. There are many different mapping styles in the Last but not least, make a detailed and accurate world, some better than others. However, our point is sketch. The importance of that is described below in the not to promote a particular standard (this would be section "Why precisely drawn maps?". Some people another article), but to remind cave surveyors that the draw the sketch to scale already in the cave (with the aid fundamentals of cave mapping do not change. These of protractors and scale), which lengthens the survey include: process, but helps to eliminate possible errors and Use well-maintained and functioning in cr ea se s ac cu ra cy instruments, tapes, lasermeters etc., preferably ones checked for accuracy, for instance on a calibration course. Use only co-surveyors who know the importance The first question one might ask is why is it of correct data collection, are experienced at reading necessary to have more than only a plan view, instruments, and for whom you are aware of possible especially for h orizontal caves. The answer is simple: eye defects (dioptry, parallaxis, etc.). The Earth's surface is a twodimensional object that can Be VERY aware of the danger of deviation by easily be represented on a map, and geographical, metallic objects (carbide generators, handrails in tourist geological, or road maps are widespread. On the caves, batteries, glasses) and light sources. It has been contrary, a cave (even if horizontal) is a truly threeshown that even modern, lightweight LED lamps may dime nsio nal obje ct, and thus cann ot be full y cause substantial magnetic fields (some only when represented in a map; even in perfectly horizontal lighted)! Please check and re-checkoften! caves, the shape of the passage contains much valuable On the danger of "changing methods," we information that should not be neglected. Below, we strongly insist on mapping "from point to point". Please present the advantages of all three necessary elements do NOT use for and what information they usually contain. Then, we a s u r v e y indicate why it is much more useful to make accurate s t a t i o n t h e drawings instead of having a rough "exploratory sketch" head of your or only the mapping data. In the end, we emphasize the colleague who importance of publicizing the maps and results. happens to be standing in the middle of the p a s s a g e The first answer is the first motivation of anyone Choose points making a map: a plan view shows the orientation of the on the wall, on cave passage, illustrates its width, relationships with b r e a k d o w n other passages, and shows passage details. blocks, or other More specifically for caves, it helps to get fe at ur es th at information about possible connections between can be marked and recovered later. Make recoverable separate caves in the same area. This is why it might stations by marking the survey points (nail polish prove very useful to also make maps for caves that are usually does the job very well, a small red dot being mainly vertical (and of which sometimes only a discreet and long-lasting; another method is a small, longitudinal section was made). The true extent of a removable clip of reflector tape). [editorÂ’s note: colored cave in space may reveal that it is only a very short flagging tape is commonly used because it doesnÂ’t leave distance to the next (maybe more important) cave (Fig. a permanent mark in the cave, and it is removable.] Be 1). Sur veys that are tied to sur face bench marks show sure to include the location of the station with respect to the relationship between surface features and cave the left and right walls and the ceiling and the floor (this features. is the standa rd method for recordi ng passag e A plan view offers little information about the dimensions). The station can also be shown in cross genesis of the cave. However, it can often give sections, to help locate it in the future. information that is related: for instance, if the cave Since we are addressing methods: some foll ows a set o f pr edom inan t fra ctur es, o r if t he ca ve is surveyors will voluntarily round the dimension very meandri form. measurements to the nearest decimal (3.56 m giving A plan view is informative for the sediments 3.55 or even 3.6 m). Why? The critical measurements, encountered in the cave and their location. Sometimes which are the survey readings, are already done, so why it is of great importance for finding a continuation to decrease precision if it is not needed? know the location of sediments and whether they may The location of survey stations seems to be a hot obstruct the main continuation. Such information is topic. Some of the reviewers of this paper wanted to usually easily seen by cavers, but if it is not reported in leave basically no mark within the cave (to preserve its the map, there will be no systematic search for natural state), while others wanted an easily visible, continuations. durable (and labeled) marking at least on bifurcations to The limitation of the plan view is that it does not allow future tie-ins. My personal prefer ence is to have show the shape of the passage, nor its vertical extent points that you only see if you search for them but they (the other two dimensions).


The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 7 No. 3 pag e 10 (continues on page 11) 22 WHY PRECISEL Y DRAWN MAPS AND NOT ONL Y TOPOGRAPHIC DAT A OR SKETCHES? SUST AINABLE MAPPING.... continued fro m page 9 the cross-sections, but the interrelation of these forms are of importance and best presented in a longitudinal The first oppositional question to that might be section A good example is presented in Fig. 1. [EditorÂ’s why is it not sufficient to have a projected section note: Shown in the lower part of this figure is what [projected profile]. The answer is that a projected appears to be a sketch of a combined extended profile section hides some important information. Let us and projected profile. When creating a finished cave assume a S-N plane for projection, and a cave passage map I prefer to use projected profiles. I will add that falls first to the south (thus is represented "correctly" additional sections, projected from different angles in in the projection), before it turns west and continues order to portray passages that do not view well in the with the same dip. This portion will be represented main projected profile. This way it is easier to compare resembling a vertical shaft. If now there are important the plan view with the profile.] changes in cross-section of this passage, then this Cross-sections are very important too: They give cannot be seen: information is lost. A good mapper can the shape of the actual passage, which is also very construct a projection with the help of plan and informative in terms of determining speleogenesis. In order to portray the important geologic features of the cave, all three views (map, longitudinal section, cross section) are needed. WHY A WRITTEN DESCRIPTION? The answer is very simple: Did you ever try to draw a bat into your plan (to scale, of course)? Or the extent of possible flooding danger you observe on the cave walls? How do you represent your ideas about the cave's genesis? The written description is an invaluable source of information that may be very important, not only scientifically, but for basic cavers: Equipment lists, flooding danger, types of rocks encounter ed, unstable breakdown, gypsum occurrences, biology and genesis... all these things cannot be represented graphically and have to be written down. Thus, the description is not a marginal text describing only the things you can see on the map yourself ("T o the left, a passage leads to a shaft...") but all your important observations. And YES: Everyone can observe important things! Even you can do it! This is a very good question at first sight, because longitudinal section, but it is much more difficult (or in it is the precise drawing that takes most of the mapping case of changes in passage inclination, impossible) to extract a longitudinal section out of a projection. Projections are important for having the 3Drepresentation of the cave together with surface features. However such projections are usually done with a computer, since the mapping data ar e processed with it in the first stage. Longitudinal sections can give insight on fracture guidances and bedding planes which cannot be seen with a plan view alone. Longitudinal sections can give comprehensive views of expected difficulties (pits, crawlways, waterfalls etc.) and can thus be useful for planning a next trip. They represent the total development of the passage to scale. The foremost and most important use of the longitudinal section is that it gives information about the caves genesis! All the fractures a plan view may give, all the sediment displayed, cannot give half of the information a longitudinal section does. Is the passage of phreatic genesis (i.e. a rounded tube)? Or is it a vadose meander? Or a superposition of both, a keyhole passage? Sure, all this information is contained also in WHY PRECISEL Y DRAWN MAPS AND NOT ONL Y TOPOGRAPHIC DAT A OR SKETCHES? WHY A LONGITUDINAL SECTION, WHY CROSS SECTIONS? WHY PRECISEL Y DRAWN MAPS AND NOT ONL Y TOPOGRAPHIC DAT A OR SKETCHES?


Than ks to all pe rsons who gave inpu t, cor rection s, sug gestio ns, an d w ho tra ns lat ed th is a rti cle The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 7 No. 3 pag e 11 SUST AINABLE MAPPING.... continued from p age 10 time and which mak es mapping so "bo ring." So why negative point is that once you're no longer active, or the not only use a rough sketch? For scientific purposes, it is mapper had a row with his mother who subsequently clear that an accurate drawing carries much more burned all his maps (mind you, that is not a joke, I know information. But also "normal cavers" can extract a lot of such a case!) all the information is lost. important information from a good drawing. Figure 2 So this is to implore you: please publish your caves, shows an excerpt of a cave map. On the upper side, the your maps, your data! If publishing means a real danger to original map. On the lower side, a possible “beautiful” the cave, please put it (at least) into your national cave [detailed] map. Where is the continuation of the large register. Several countries have registers which offer to passage? Y es, at the lower right corner you may try to dig keep the maps and data secret use this possibility if you to find the BIG continuation. And of course you do not see think it is needed. Please, do not throw away your great that on the [upper] sketch. work by hiding it in your cupboard! In short: type of of passage form, as well as Keyword hiding: Even if you publicized your great sediments and their position, coupled with information work, it might be that the original data are to be introduced about reduction or increase in passage size, gives in a computer to get 3D images of the area and the surface important information for possible continuations. But in question. This last point might be very important in these things are only visible in a precise sketch. convincing a quarry manager NOT to blast where the cave Besides: If you, bored instrument reader, wait for the is. Or, there may be new passages found (br eakdown? it drawer to end his endless pen cil-scratching, what do you needn't be that you didn't look well!). In both situations it is do (besides freezing)? Y es: you look for possible lateral vital to have everything somewhere either at your home, passages. They exist, be assured, look for them, you'll find or in a club archive, or in a central register Please do NOT them! Another intelligent form of keeping warm is to take throw away your field notes and sketches; even though backsights to confirm the accuracy of the previous reading. dirty they might prevent another complete remapping for Be ready for some surprises! just the cases I described above. Keep them they take up There might be a problem of scale for the map. This little space and futur e use might be tremendous! has to be addressed depending on the needs of the survey: a paleontological site might want a scale of 1:50 on a large A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE? sheet, while a big cave might be sufficiently mapped 1:500 More and more, computers replace the traditional in several atlas sheets. In Central Europe, we usually map ink-pen drawings. In recent years, the use of drawing 1:100 for very small caves, 1:200 for caves between 20 programs (such as Adobe Illustrator) are used to generate and 500 m, and 1:500 for larger caves. Try not to mix too accurate and actually very nice maps. The advance of many scales within the same cave area for the sake of technology permits us to add colors to the maps (sand is comparison between the maps. What you cannot do is to brown, water is blue, or at least it should be). For persons sketch with 1:500 precision in the cave and still draw a interested in computer drawing, there is a website below precise map on the scale 1:50 at home! So please think where they'll find information and prepared libraries for about this issue befor e beginning to map. Illustrator. Please keep in mind: The most durable ar chive form is still paper, which lasts between 20 and 500 years or WHY P UBLICIZE? even more, while CDs might be unreadable after only 2 Y ou found an easy, beautiful, promising cave, and years. So please: after having drawn by computer, print you've mapped it with great effort. Y ou may be afraid that the map out for archive purposes! Save your work! fellow cavers, wild spelunkers, or even trekking organizations may misuse the cave, so your reaction is to keep the cave secret. This is very understandable. The very Editor’s note: The following previously unpublished article was recently sent to me by Julius Rockwell. Chuck P ease is one of the founding fathers of the Glacier Grotto, and is the one responsible for putting out the first two issues of the Alaskan Caver. Because this is a very long article I am going to present it in serial fashion. Below begins the first installment: (continues on page 12) 13 March 1993 10 April 1993 by Chuck Pease D IA R Y O F A C A V E R E S E A R C H F O U N D A T IO N C H IN A E X P E D IT IO N tim e a nd wh ich ma kes ma ppi ng so "bo rin g." So wh y


The Alaskan Caver Volume 2 7 No. 3, page 1 2 ...CHINA.... continued from page 11 (continues on page13)

Contents: Sustainable
Mapping of Caves / Ph. Hauselmann --
A Spring Break POW Caving Adventure / Tristan Graham --
Adventures in Starlight Cave / Tara Wilhelm --
Katie's Tale, Poem / Katie Wall --
Tales of Prince of Wales, Poem / Tara Wilhelm --
Diary of a C.R.F. China Expedition / Chuck Pease --
Caving on Mars, Anyone?


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