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: The Alaskan Caver -- Annual Report to Members - President's Corner -- Ketchikan Man Drowns in Creek -- Report on Resultsof the 1988 Glacier Grotto Expedition to Prince of Wales Island, Alaska / Kevin Allred -- Cave Protection Law Signed by President Reagan -- Caving Through a Stereoscope / Carlene Allred -- El Capitan Cave -- Prince of Wales Islane Caving Expedition III - July 25 to August 1989.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 9, no. 1 (1989)
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:
K26-00294 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.294 ( USFLDC Handle )
4454 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

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The Alaskan Caver VQLUlIE 9 HUHEIEQ 1 FEBRUARY 1989


Volume 9 TRE ALASKAN CAVER Number 1 The Alaskan Caver is the intermittent publication of Glacier Grotto of the National Speleological Society. copyright 1989 by the Glacier Grotto. Materials not copyrighted by individuals or by other groups may be copied by other NSS Publications provided credit is given to the author and to The Alaskan Caver and a copy of such publication is sent to the Editor. Back issues are $1.00, unless otherwise indicated, and are available from Glacier Grotto, 2944 Emory Street, Anchorage, RK 99508-4466, U.S.A. Articles and letters to the Editor should be sent to Wm. Hal-vey Bowers, 305 South Bartlett Circle, Wasilla, AK 99687. Opinions expressed within are net necessarily those 05 The Alaskan Caver, the Glacier Grotto, or the NSS. Membership is open to all interested in Alaskan cave discovery, exploration, description, survey, mapping, photography, hydrology, morphology, biology, geology, history, speleogenesis and other spelaean processes, conservation, management, adventures, and the fellowship of Alaskan cavers. Dues are $5.00 per year for the first member of a mailing address and $1.00 for others at that address. Those living overseas must pay $2.00 per year more if they wish to receive The Alaskan Caves via air mail. Dues are due January 1 and are sent to Sam Dunaway, Treas., 7301 Chad St. Anchorage, AK 99518. Those paying for the first time between October 1 and December 31 will be considered paid up for the following yeas. The year through which you are paid is indicated on your mailing label. Meetings are called to plan and report on trips, and other special events: anyone wanting to have a meeting should notify the President. President Vice Pres. Acting Sec. Treasurer Lg. hg. Editor NW Reg Rep. J. Rockwel1,Jr. David M. Moll Jim Nicholls Sam Dunaway Tom Hallinan Kevin Allsed W. Harvey Bowers Dave Klinqer 2944 Emory Steet 907-277-7150 Anchorage, AK 99508 907-564-8267 PO Box 82044 907-455-6578 Fairbanks, AK 99701 907-474-6318 PO Box 654 907-479-0465 Clear, AK 99507 907-585-6213 7301 Chad St. 907-344-4037 Anchorage, AK 99513 907-762-2171 1617 Wolverine Dr. 907-479-6064 Fairbanks, AK 99709 907-479-7454 PO Box 376 through KHNS Haines, AK 99827 907-766-2020 305 S Bartlett Cr. 907-376-2294 Wasilla, AK 99687 907-279-5582 PO BOX 537 509-548-5480 Leavenworth,WA 98826 548-5880 Cover Pags Drawing *Alaska Undergroundv by Carlene Allred


ANNUAL REPORT TO MEMBERS Presidents Corner This report is in three parts: Major Accomplishments, List of Members, and Financial Status. We lost our SecretaryNewsletter Editor, Mike Mauser to the attractions of the Washington D.C. area. Mike brought The Alaskan Caver out of its doldrums and finished off Volume 8. all of us appreciate his effort, and during this time he documented the significance of the newly found karst in Southeast Alaska. We are very grateful for a fine job well done, Mike, and hope that you can get back for a trip with us in August. Harvey Bowers is commencing with this issue. All material should go to him. He said he could handle it, if he could get some help. He will be calling on some of you. Our major accomplishment was the Grotto" Prince of Wales Island Expedition TI (PWIEX 11). The field portion (August 8-26, 1988) comprised nine Grotto members from five western states, including Alaska. A small portion of the recently recognized significant, extensive, and well-developed rain forest karst was examined. Five caves were discovered, surveyed, mapped, and described. Survey of largest cave stopped at 5560 feet for want of time. Exploration of the deepest entered pit stopped at -340 feet for want of more rope. Thus, for the second year running, the record length and depth of Alaska" longest and deepest caves have more than doubled, Salmon, signs of bats, and other forms of life have been found in caves; no new species have been verified, but range extensions are expected. The Expedition was conducted in close cooperation with the Tongass National Forest. The Grotto provided expertise in cave exploration, surveying, conservation, protection, and management and the Forest Service assisted with informal logistic support. Sadly, some vandalism, in the form of graffiti, trash, and rock hounding had taken place, even in this remote area. The Leader of PWIEX I1 and the upcoming PWIEX I11 is Kevin Allred (16730KE) ; he is assisted by Carlene Allred (16389FE). Thanks are due to Forest Service personnel for their help and encouragement, and to the NSS Research Advisory Committee, for a grant which helped defray some initial research expenses, including purchase of aerial photos and stereo equipment, Detailed cave descriptions and field trip reports will appear in The Alaskan Caver. KETCHIKAN MAN DROWNS IN CREEK The Associated Press KETCHIKAN A 22-year-old ketchikan man drowned after begin swept into a creek while trying to explore a cave, the Alaska State Troopers said. Michael J. Williams and a companion were trying to get into a cave above the Ketchikan Lake area Tuesday afternoon, the troopers said. The cave is accessible only by going in the water, and when Williams entered the creek, the swift current knocked him off balance and carried him downstream, the troopers said. He was swept about 100 yards downstream, where he lodged under a bridge, the troopers said.


REPORT ON RESULTS OF THE 1988 GLACIER GROTTO EXPEDITION TO PRINCE OF WALES ISLAND, ALASKA by Kevin Allred $16730 I would first like to thank the NSS an behalf 05 the expedition for the $250.00 research grant. Alaska presents special challenges to cave discovery and exploration, the foremost being limited access, This new caving area has been, in the last 10 to 15 years, made very accessible by the loqginq activity. PREPARATIONS FOR THE EXPEDITION Preparations were bequnlast year when Carlene Allred and I began collecting information available on the cave potential of Prince of Wales Island. with our reconnaissance trip in August, 1987 of Northern Prince of Wales Island (third Larsest Island of the U.S. ) came the discovery and surveying of Alaska's longest (2189 ft.) and deepest (-201 feet.) cave and discovery of tremendous cave potential. We later traveled twice to Juneau by ferry for several days each time and studied Dept. of Agriculture aerial photographs, locating hundreds of major karst features. Sposatic contacts were maintained with other Glacier Grotto and NSS members to help with the 1988 expedition. Also efforts by us and Grotto president, Jay Rockwell, resulted in suport from the Forest Service. Final preparations were in August, 1988 with 9 grotto members committed to join. The expedition from Hollis, on Prince of Wales, lasted 3 weeks from August 8 through August 28. There were 9 adult members, Jay Rackwell (AK) Harvey Bowers (AR), David Klinger (WA), Denise Ward (UT), Mark Evans (AZ) Bob Bastasz (CA) Kathy Tonnessen (CA) Kevin Aklred (AK) and Carlene Allred (AK). The 4 children along were Bryce Ward, Ella Allred, Soren Allred and Flint Allsed. The cost of the transportation was high consisting of ferry or jet travel to Ketchikan, ferry travel to Hollis, then vehicles (3) over mostly dirt roads, 100 miles to the camp at the base of El Capitan Peak. From there members struck out on foot or in vehicles Looking for and surveying caves. DISCOVERIES Below are the caves found and surveyed during the three week period. Salmon Fry Cave: 162.1 feet (complete) Carcass Cave : 568.5 (complete) Kid Cave: 153.7 feet (complete). El capitan Cave: 5563 feet (not complete). OE special interest is the amazing potential of big cave systems in the region. El Capitan Cave seems to be going very strong in severa 1 directions and other caves will certainly be found in the future under the several hundred square miles of karst on Prince of Wales and the smaller islands to the West. Some Black Fly larvae were found from Salmon Fry Cave and later identified by Rod Crawford at the University of Washington. Also same Specimens of Fungus Gnat larvae (genus Speolepta and of undetermined species) were collected from El Capitan Cave and also identified by Rod Crawford, who stated that these are the first recorded from Alaska.


OUTSIDE SUPPORT Although the Research Grant was modest, the Forest Service could see that we were part of a supporting organization and helped us greatly by providing showers, laundry facilities, and use of a drafting table, all ata Farest Service Work Camp located one half mile from us. They also provided some nice maps, a barrel for a latrine, and much useful information, One of the most helpful things they did for us was providing helicopter support when they flew rope and gear to a nearby alpine karst* area on El Capitan Peak and then picked it up after we had used it to decend 340 feet into newly discovered El Capitan Pit which continues down. There is hope for their assistance to some degree next year as well. USE OF THE RESEARCH GRANT FUNDS $169.00 was used in preparatory research expenses such as transporation to and from Juneau, xeroxes, and purchase of aerial photographs used before and durinq the expedition, The additional $81.00 was divided among the expedition members to help defray their expenses. CONCLUSIONS I believe the NSS will find the grant was well invested as this new caving region is further explored and studied. RESERVE YOUR PUCE IN PWIEX III PWIEX 111 will run from 25 July to 25 August, 198910 working cavers are needed for the entire time to provide ten man months f~r the survey, i. e, 10 people there for one month, or 40 people there for one week each. Kevin Allsed is coordinating; get in touch with him if you are interested. "Alaskan Cavers (those with Alaskan caving experience and those living in Alaska) will be given first preference, but, if necessary, others will be invited to fill quota. A volunteer agreement between the Grotto and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and possibly others is being developed to assist L'SFS in inventory, survey, description, protections and management of cave resources. USFS hopes to be able to provide even more assistance than they did in 1988. Contact Kevin Allred (See inside of front cover for address and telephone message contact; if you need to talk with him, leave a number where he can call you collect) Bob Eastasz is equipment eaardinater. If you need more information try to come to the March meeting, and read the reports as they are published. CAVE PROTECTION IAW SIGNED BY PRESIDENT REAGAN PL 100-691, The Federal Cave Resources protection Act of 1988, the result of years of exhausting work on the part of the NSS Consemation Cormnittee and many athers was finally signed into law in the waning days of the last ~dministration and Congress. ~ll members are urged to request a copy from their Senator or Congressman. Senator Ted Stevens sent me mine, is address is tqC~mmittee on Appropriations, Washington, DC 20510-6025'1. It dnpq nn ha+n ~hm~.r 4 m+~~ac+. 4 -..-L. 1 --2 -1 -c: -


CAVING THROUGH A STEREOSCOPE by Carlene Allred Alaska is the perfect state for armchair caving for the simple reason that real caving is ton expensive. For only $14 someone living in Haines can hop on the ferry and travel to Juneau., where the W.S. Forest Service (USFS) aerial stereo photos are kept in the federal building. My husband ~evin and I have each made such a trip this summer in preparation for the Glacier Grotto Expedition in August. We have examined (through stereoscope approximately 106 square miles of land located on the northern end of Prince of Wales (P.O.W.) Island. That is about one third of the terrain yet to be viewed. We concentrated on parts ef what we believe is the 'kcream", which is the massive Siluvian (Heceta) limestone ( see reference number 1) This Limestone varies in thickness, but in one place has been noted to be 10,000 feet thick. Quick peeks at some non-Heceta areas also revealed karst. Limestone beds and lenses exist in other formations that surround the Heceta, and also our preliminary geologic map ( I) may be in error, Only major features such as poljes and very Large sunken areas were discernible in the areas where the heavy forest canopy covered the ground. Most karst features we noted were seen in clear cuts. The following is a tally of the number of features that we interpreted (terms are discussed in the text) : 1. Sinkholes (holes or pits) 159 2. Sinks, solution dolines 24 3. Uvalvas (contains multiple sinks and pits, not included in 1 above) 4. Paljes 5. Cockpit areas S 6. Pinnacle karst areas (contain innumerable pits) 2 7. Karst 'Ytsen~hes'~ 2 8. Possible major steepheads 3 Our caving neighbor, Mike Van Note, who has worked on P.O.W. Island, had previously t~ld us nat to be surprised if we find tropical style karst because the Island is a rain forest. While looking through the stereoscope, the topography appears much exaqgerated. asked the cartographers working near me to tell me how much this exaggeration is. Several of them spent half a day arguing and calculating this for me. I was then able to determine just how much I needed to '%quashf' the hills down in my perception. Here is the formula they used: V = 5*(B/H) H = F*S V = Vertical exaggeration B = Base distances between photo centers on same photo H = Flying height F = Focal length (8.25 inches) S = Scale (12,000 or 1 inch = 1,000 feet in this case) Solving for flying height, H: H = 8.25 inches 12,000 1 footJl2 inches) = 8,250 feet Solving for vertical exaggeration, V: V = 5*(B/H)I = 5*(3055 feet/8250 feet) = 5 0.37 = 1.85


The falLowing illustrations Actual fieldwork is now needed are cross sections of the for verification and further different types of karst study. terrain that we interpreted. ~/lvaIq karst Different areas seem to take on different types of karst topoqraphy. In some localities there was little or no karst noted, such as the areas east of Red Bay. Elsewhere, as in the Northwestern districts near Port Protection, the band appears to be covered with what we call w~ockpitsn'. These are round shaped hills averaging perhaps 400 feet across, and jammed together, forming pointed depressions between them. This terrain could be clearly seen only where the forest canopy had been removed by clear-cutting, but I believe that all the limestone areas in this vicinity are probably pitted in this manner. Southwards, in the vicinity of Neck Lake and northward, the terrain takes on a different character. This we call nUvala Karst". The topography in this area is dominated $Y irregularly shaped sunken areas that apparently appear to be made up of merging solution (?) dolines, The largest uvala that we noted was about 1/3 mile across. Many holes and pits were noted within these uvalas, Last summer s fieldwork has shown us that pits less than 6 feet in diameter don't show up on the aerial photos. This tluvala" type karst grades into Iqcockpit karst1'. The three small paljes we noted (up to 2,000 feet diameter) can best be described as wide, flat bottomed, closed depressions with streams or stream channels seen on the flats in their bottoms. Two of these contain secondary dolines or possibly pits. These features don't contain forest in their bottoms and this may indicate seasonal floodinq. (The photos we looked at were taken in August.) The poljes are subalpine. In the area west of Red Bay the terrain (as viewed in clear-cuts) appeared normal except for occasional solution (?) dolines and pits. Some alpine areas contain "pinnacle karst1< Between the pinnacles are unaccountably numerous pits. Because of absence of soil in alpine areas every detail of topography can be discerned through the stereoscope, I also took a quick look at a series of aerial photos of Casenation Island. It was karsted also in the same uvalacockpit manner. We noted everything that we saw on upto-date blue-printed road-topo


maps that we obtained from the cartography department. The next page of this issue is a karst map that we have compiled of the areas described in this article, There is much more limestone further south that we have net examined, as well as some portions on this map. The islands west of P.0-W. Island also contain lots of limestone. We have ordered for ourselves some sets sf aeri~l photos for further study at home. For ordering information write to: U.S. Department of Agriculture and SCS Aerial Photography Field office Customer service 2222 West 2300 South PO BOX 30010 Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0010 An inexpensive stereoscope can be ordered for less than $5 from: Forestry Suppliers, Inc. 205 West Rankin Street PO BOX 8397 Jackson, Mississippi 39204 ~ccordinq to the NSS Caving Information Series PaDer No. 28, page 4, there are t;a types of aerial photos. U.S. Geological Survey takes its pictures when deciduous trees have no leaves so that ground features can be distinguished. The Dept. of Agriculture Soil Conservation and Stabilization Senrice takes its photos when trees and bushes are in leaf. Studying aerial photos can be a great time saver in cave hunt inq. This is how we located the entrance to Starlight cave last summer. I would recommend these methods for other parts of Alaska as well. References: 1. U.S. Geolagical Survey Preliminary Geologic Map of Southeast Alaska, 1984 2. USGS ~ulletin No. 682, Marble Resources o f Southeastern Alaska, 1920, page 18, Map references : 1, See number 1 above 2. USGS top0 maps, 15 minute series. 3. Prince of Wales Island Road Guide (U.S. Forest Service) 4. Personal interpretation of Dept. of Agriculture stereo photographs GROTTO MARCH MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be a meeting & 1:00 P.M. on March 4, 1989, at 2944 Emory Street, Anchorage, AK (near the corner of Lake Otis and Northern Lights). The purpose of the meeting is to brief those present on some findings of PWIEX If, to decide on letterhead and patch logos, and any other new business, Please bring slides, cave maps, videos, etc. ; yes, even songs, and musical instruments. (If any questions call, Jay Rockwell, (907) 277-7150. )


PRINCE OF WALES ISLAND CAVING EXPEDITION 11I 3atec: ~uly 25 to August 25, 1989 leaders: Kevin and tariene Altred 1. Each participant must be self sufficient: will need own tent unth extra tarp. food, stovc, camping gear, caving gear, vertical gear, and a comptete set of raingear. A poncho will not do. P.0.U. Island is s rainforest. HeIly Hanson, top, pants, hat/hood mark best. Also, you rill need more than one set of coveralls. 2. Cave temperatures arc 40 degrees or colder. Brfng uarm eiothing for under your coveralls. ?t you hare a metsuit, bring it. lt may be cold outside too. Bring survey gear if you have any. 3. Hake arrangements as soon as possible. Flight or ferry reservations may be ?ceded uell in advance. Let us know as soon as possible if you plan to come. :. Basic foods and gas art available on P.O.Y. Island in the Craig-Klaw& area durlng the day. Gas and a limited amount of food are available in Uhale pass. Nothing is available in Hollis. 5. Transportation: fly or take ferry to Ketchikan. From Ketchiksn Cake ferry to 4ok4ls. Need your oun vehicle or make arrangements rith expedition Leader. Hollis is 100 miles from El Capitan USFS wort camp on north end of island uhere caving area is located. Hate arrangements early. vehicles can be rented In Yetchtkan ar possibly Klau-. Contact Jay Rockuell. 5. This project has received support from the NSS and Forest Service. Participants should bt HSS and Glacier Grotto members. Contact lay Rockuell. lacier Grotto 2944 Emory Street Anchorage, AK 99501

Contents: The Alaskan
Caver --
Annual Report to Members President's Corner --
Ketchikan Man Drowns in Creek --
Report on Resultsof the 1988 Glacier Grotto Expedition to
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska / Kevin Allred --
Cave Protection Law Signed by President Reagan --
Caving Through a Stereoscope / Carlene Allred --
El Capitan Cave --
Prince of Wales Islane Caving Expedition III July 25 to
August 1989.


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