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 -- Tidewater Sea Cave -- President's Corner -- Technical Preliminary Report #1: Kid Cave -- Technical Preliminary Report #2: Carcass Cave -- Technical Preliminary Report #3: Salmon Fry Cave -- Technical Preliminary Report #4: El Capitan Pit -- Technical Preliminary Report #5: Starlight Cave -- Caves on Coronation Island -- Safety Technique Recommendations for Nielson's Well -- Alaska Cave Rumor: Three Thousand Foot Volcanic Pit -- 1988 Glacier Grotto Financial Report -- Sheep Cave (Bold Peak) -- Members in the News.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 9, no. 3 (1989)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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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:
K26-00296 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.296 ( USFLDC Handle )
4456 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

Karst Information Portal

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The Alis the intermittent publication of the Glacl'er Grotto of the National Spsleologlcal Society. (Copyrjght 1989 by the Glacier Grotto.) Materials not copyrighted by lndivfduals or by other groups may be copled by other NSS Pub1 ications prw fded csedf t is gjven to author and The A1 askan Caver and a copy is sent to the Edt tor. back issues are available frm the President for $P,OO each, Members should send articles9 letters, news Items, announcements, and so forth dlrectly to the Editor (see be1 ow). Opf nf ons expressed wi thfn are not necessarfly those of the Alaskan^,^ the Glacler Grotto, or the USS. W~rchIp is open to all interested in Alaskan cave djscovery, exploration, descriptfon, survey, mapping> photography, hydrology, morphology, biology, geology, hi story, spel eogenesj s and other spel aean processes, conservatl on, management, adverrtures, and the felt cmship of A1 askan cavers, Dues are $5.00 per year In the United States (f10,00 In US funds if werseas) for the first member of a mail ing address and $1.00 for addi ti onal persons at the same address, are due on January 1 and are sent to the Treasurer Iree belaw) with the appl icatl on/renewal form. Those paying for the first time after October 1 will be cons1 dered pal d up for the f 01 1 cmi ng year. The year through which each member I s paid i s I ndf cated on the mail ing 1 abel Meeti ngs are call ed to pl an and report on trf ps or other spec.3 a1 events; anyone wanting to have a meeting for any reason should notjfy the President, Vice President or a Member-at-Large, Dfflerf Nrme Address Presldelrrt J R-e'll Jr 2944 hory St ViaR-es IhvidM. b11 POBox820U Secr-ry J lm Nicholl s P 0 Box 654 Trsasurer San Dunaway 7301 Chad St Mb at Lg Tan Hal 1 i~n 1617 Wolverj IM Dr hbatLgWinAl1red POBox376 Editor WHarveyBmers305SBartl~~~ Asst Ed Curvi n ktz 1 er P 0 Box 100738 t#RegRepDaveKlfnpr POBcx537 hbership Curvin ktzler P 0 Box 100738 a-ty St Zfp Andoraga M 99508 Fa1 rhnk AK 9701 Clear AK 99507 haorage AK 99518 Fa1 rbanks AK 99709 Haims AK 99827 Wasllla eK99681 Andorage AK 9516 Lewrmm WA 98826 Anchorap AK W510 Hme Work 277-7 150 564-8267 455657 8 47463 18 47P.0465 5B42U 3 4-44337 762-2171 47ME4 4797454 vfa WNS* vfa WNS* 376-2294 27+5502 333-8766 243-7800 548-5mt 54&58807 333-6766 243-7800 Messaps may k announced to Kevin daI1 y via radio staticxl WS at 19073 766-2MO The area mde for phaning-Dave fn Leavemorthy Washington is (5091 (both nunhrs) Cwer photo: L,caking out frm Tidmter Sea We, 3lackst;ane Bay, Prznce William Sd, Alaska, Photqm@~kw&~user, Smrmrcf 1987: see articlempue3. Table ef Contents: Tidewater Sea Cave .................. 3 President's Corner .................. 4 ...... Technical Preliminary Report #1: Kid Cave 5 Technical Preliminary Report #2: Carcass Cave . 6 Technical Preliminary Report $3: Salmon Fry Cave , 8 ... Technical Preliminary Report #4: El Capitan Pit 10 ... Technical Preliminary Report 85: Starlight Cave 11 Caves on Coronatian Is1 and .............. 12 Safety & Technique Recommendations for Nielson's Well 13 Alaska Cave Rumor: Three-Thousand-Foot Volcanic Pit 15 1988 Glacier Grotto Financial Report ......... 16 Sheep Cave (Bold Peak) .......,........ 16 Members in the Mews ...............,.. 17


Tidewater Sea Cave Blackstone Bay Prince William Sound by Mike Mauser During the summer of 1987, Tim and Gail r~ennings, Jeff Towner, Helen Hankins and I took [one single and two double kayaks out of Whittier, in the Prince William Sound,] and paddled to Blackstone Bay. On the second day of our trip, we paddled to the end of the bay for a closex 1 ook at the rumble reverberating against the steep cliffs. Drifting quietly among the floating ice, we could hear a constant popping and sizzling from the melting of recently calved ice. Twice we watched impressive ice falls from a hanging glacier-the ice would break loose with a roar and the whole rounded face of the cliff would appear to be flooded with a torrential stream. Fortunately, by the time the ice reached the. sea it had been broken up into relatively small pieces and we only experienced a rocking swell, We explored along the cliffs where we deemed it safe from such falls. There are some small sea caves and two large anes, Jeff Towner and I got out of our double kayak to explore the biggest one. There was no beach, so it was a bit tricky getting out, And the sea level changes rapidly there due to the extreme tides, so even if you are out less than an hour you must be careful about where you leave your kayak. If you are not, you might find Ithe kayak] either floating away or high and dry with many. yards of treacherous, sharp boulders and deep, unkayakable channels between you and open sea. The cave itself is about as deep as it is high at the entrance. I doubt if any but the highest seas reach the interior now. [The cave's] most notewoxthy feature is the view looking out. How many caves do you know that look out onto such a beautiful scene? All of us who have travelled and explored in the Prince William Sound are deeply saddened by the news of the oil spillWhat will happen to those seals who kept popping their heads up out of the water to check out our kayaks? How different it will be to slowly paddle mere feet f rm the shore and, instead of Looking down into clean, clear water at all kinds of sea life, to see instead tarry gunk. I hope it is not as bad as 1 fear. But the Sound is so precious, wen the smallest bit of pollution is cause for concern, #kJn 111 Travel -ling Arrangements Jim Nichols has room for one passenger and can allocate equipment space for two backpacks for travel to/ rm Prince of Wales Island. His vehicle is a 1984 VW camper; he plans to leave from Haines on July 22 and return to Ketchikan on August 4. Phone 585-6213. Cumin Metzl er seeks passengers/ transpor tation for travel to/ rom Prince of Wales Island, leaving frm Anchorage on August 13/14 and remaining until August 25 (the end of PCkFIE Iff) Phone 333-8766. June 1909 Volume 9 Number 3 The Alaskan Caver Page 3


President" Comer PNNWAL REPORT: (COKTINUED FRM? LAST 1SSUE.I The third part of the Grotto's Annual Report of 1988 comprises the Financial Report, faund on page XXX of this issue. MIDYEAR FIWCIAL REVIEW: The grcater activity and plans ef the Grotto haue resulted in a somewhat di4fercnt Financial Situation than that of the end of last rear, First of all, a special account has been set up for POWIE 111, independently of the regular Grotto account. Equipment expenses have exceeded the total 'Rope Fees" collected to date. It is urged that all those POWIE IJI participants who have not sent their 920 Rope Fees to the Treasurer do so inmediately as the Grotto is in no position to operate in the red. The Rope Fee is the entry fee for PmIE IJI participation. The cost of producing the fOO Grotto patches ordered will be paid out of the regular Grctto Treasury, This cost hope+ully, will be recovered by sales. Operating costs of The Alaskan Caver is exceeding original estimates. Since 1982 (our 1 ast increase En dues) postal rates and the cost of reproduction of each page has increased. Also, due tc the increase of the Grctto act iui tr, the size of individual issues has more than doubled, roughly doubling the costs of reproduction and postage, Although increase in membership has helped considerably, our financial sesources continue to dwindle and at least by the end of this rear we must either cut back on back size of our journal or increase dues. At the April meeting it was decided that due to the interesting nature of the articles being received, it would be better to increase dues. Cmencing January 1, dues will be increased to $7.50 for the first member of a household; the BI fee for each additional member at that address will remain in effect. Subscriptions for The Alaskan Caver Ifor Institutions) would be raised from 95.00 te %110.00 per uolurne. Overseas ratrs would be 915.00 for those wishing Air Hail postage and 67.50 for those wishing surface mail. (All pending postal rate constancv.> Advantages and disadvantages of Non-Profit status are being investigated, but our present membership is not large enough to utilize bulk mailing sates unless we ma11 two issues at the same time. JUNE 12 DMFI OF bGREEMEM WITH FOREST SERVICE SUf)Mf7TED: The draft Mcrnorandvm of Understanding wi th the U. S. Forest Service was mailed Junr 14. It was based on athcr acceptable and smooth working agreements force throughaut the country, Comments haue been sent to a number of Grotto and NSS experts as we1 1 as to the Forest Service. At presst ime cormnents have been rece Eved frm the Allreds, Alice fliff, and Janet Jhorne, NSS Conservation Chair. This aggreement, when implemented, will describe the working arrangements and relationships between the Grotto and the Forest Service and should greatly -facilitate planning and working together and will increase the level of the quality and quantity of our joint accomplishments with respect to undtrstanding the cave resources of this Area of the Tongass Na t i ma l Forest The Alaskan Caver ~ol-6 9 Nmher 3 Jrln~ 19~9


Kid Cave Prince of Wales Island Technical Prel iminary Report #1 by Kevin Allred October 9, 1988 Elevation: 220 feet I67 meters] Kid Cave was found on the 14th of August, 1988, by Glacier Grotto members while looking fox possible lower entrances to the El Capitan Cave system. It had been entered prwiously, probably by loggers, as it is adjacent to a recent clearcut. Located 90 vertical feet below El Capitan Cave and some 150 feet down a prominent dry gully which appears to have once been a major resurgence of the system, Kid Cave heads easterly into the gully area. Both branches of this small cave ends in breakdown: at the point where the northerly branch ends it receives a breeze and is 3 5 feet above the northernmost floor of the three entrances. A few speleothems were noted in the back end of the northern branch, namely some moonmilk and what appeared to be some very small (1 centimeter 10.4 inches] and smaller) moomilk stalactites in breakdown, out of the way. Total passage length is 153.7 feet [46.85 meters] Because of the absence of pits, this cave is a good cave in which to turn beginners or more inexperienced cavers loose. 'KID CAVE Prince of Wales Istad. Alaska 0 10 20 feet Grade 5 surwy by Kev~n Allred. Glacier Grono, NSS Spom~ework breakdown 153.7 feet surveyed Augusl20, 1988 June 1989 Volume 9 Nder 3 The Alaskan Caver


Carcass Cave Prince of Wales Island Technical Prel irninary Report #2 by Kevin Allred October 9, 1988 Elevation: '500 feet 1150 meters] Located about 75 feet southeast of Starlight Cave and three feet from a hogging road, the main (fifteen-foot-diameter) entrance pit of Carcass Cave drops some 45 feet to a very steep incline littered with logging slash, breakdown and trash. The cave has three entrance pits, and has served as a natural trap for animals fox a long while, judging from one ha1 f -decayed deer carcass and other deer and bear bones scattered thsoughou t the 1 ower areas. The cave was first entered and surveyed by Glacier Grotto members when Mark Evans and Kevin Allred mapped 568.4 feet [173,2 meters1 on the 11th of August, 1988. It had been entered be ore that time by at least one group of loggers, who had lowered themselves down into the entrance pit hand over hand on a 1/4-inch rope and were lucky to get back out a1 ive. Most passages are wellmodified by breakdown and are of large proportions. Chances are small that this cave contains more passages beyond what now has already been mapped. Few speleothems were found in the cave. Only well-prepared and wellequipped persons should attempt this cave due to its vertical na Lure. Rates for flights from Anchorage to POWIE I11 are currently about $500 round trip! Contact the President, Jay Rockwell, for details. Anyone interested in being a delegate to this years Congress of Grot tos should contact the President, Jay Rockwell, immediately. The design for the Glacier Gxotto am patch has been sent to the patchmaker, and patches should be available in six to eight weeks. The Maskan Caver Volume 9 Number 3 June 1989


CARCASS C-4TTE hnce of Wales Island. Alaska Grade 5 survey by Mask Evans 6: Revin Allred. Glacier Grono, NSS. 568.4 feet slweycd Aupst 1 1, 1988 June 1989 Volume 9 Number 3 The Alaskan Caver page 7


Salmon Fry Cave Prince of Wales Island Technical Preliminary Report #3 by Kevin Allred October 9, 1988 Elevation: -40 feet I12 meters] Salmon Fry Cave was found by Glacier Grotto members Harvey Bowers, David Xlinger, and Jay Rockwell on the 17th of August, 1988, after they noticed the large resurgences from the cave welling up out of the stream bed of El Capitan Creek some 100 feet southwest of the entrance sinkhole. The entrance was paxtially filled with logging slash and some garbage, but a two-footdiameter hole remained for access into the cave which consisted of two separate streams flowing through the relatively low and broad passaseways. On the 21st of August, 1988, a length of 162.1 feet [49.4 meters] of passage was surveyed. The volume of water going through the cave varied greatly depending on rainfall and runoff, In the month of August, 1988, it ranged from perhaps fifteen gallons per second in the first part of the month dawn to about four gallons per second in the latter part of the month. The greatest percentage of water flawed through the northern branch of the cave, beginning at a sump three feet deep by five feet wide. Kevin Allred probed this sump some five feet by feeling along the ceiling with extended feet, and it continued inward with a flat, level and broad ceiling a foot or so under the water. Wetsui ts are recommended for serious exploration of this cave. Both streams in the cave end in sumps which fluctuate greatly judging from the water lines and deposits 05 om, Kevin Allred collected some common blackfly larvae (Simulium arcticum) in the southern brzncn of the cave, attached to a chunk of breakdown in shallow runcifig water. They apparently do this to utilize the higher concentration of oxygen near the water surf ace. Several salmon fry three to five inches long were also noted in the large, northern upstream pool. A six-inch-long Dolly Varden trout was also seen in the pool. When aided by the beam of light shown on it fxorr, the headlamp of Kevin All red, it appkared to be feeding on small organisms or other metter moving by in the water. There is a good possibility that much more passage still lies waiting to be found upstream in this interesting system. These passages could perhaps be accessible by using wetsuits during a dry summer or if one had the proper training in cave diving. Otherwise, the cave is fine for the general public. All participants in the POWIE 111 Expedition are required to pay a $20 rope fee as a means of sharing common costs. A f PW persons who are scheduled to take part in the expedition have not yet paid the fee, If you plan to be present on POWTE 111 and have not yet paid, you should send the fee to the Treasurer, Sam Dunaway, immediately. Page 8 The Alaskan Caver Volume 9 Number 3 June 1989


czntinues ,;3 feet Tlgn suiTE1 Prince of Wales Island, Alaska Grade 5 survey by Kevin Allred. Glacier Grotto, NSS 162.; feet surveyed August 27 st, 1988 June 1989 Volume 9 Number 3 The Alaskan Caver Page


EL Capitam Pit Prince of Wales Island Technical Preliminary Report #4 by Kevin Allred October gr 1988 Elevation: 2320 feet 1707 meters] The opening to El Capitan Pit, measuring five feet by eight feet, was first: discwered on the 15th of August, 1988, by David Hatfield (a U,S.F.S, geologist) and Glacier Grotto members Harvey Bowers and Kevin Allred while making a rough search of the surrounding heavily-karsted region fox eaves, At that time they sounded the pit, and the dropped rocks glanced off the vertical walls a number of times before ceasing, indicating great depth and large dimensions be1 OW. A conservative estimate of the depth was assessed as at least twice the previous Alaska record. On the 25th of August, 1988, the U. S, Forest Service kindly provided helicopter support to investigate El Capitan Pit. They air-lifted 70 pounds of rope and gear to within one-ha1 f mile of the pit site. Glacier Grotto members Kathy Tonnessen, Bob Bastasz, and Kwin Allred descended 340 feet into the pit and sounded it again. It took a nWer of seconds for the sounds to cease with several glances. Bob took a similar sounding at 200 feet from the top which also took a number of seconds to cease. Pit size increases below the entrance and looks to be jointcontrolled. Approximately 100 to 150 feet down, the shaft penetrates a uniform four-f ootthick noncarbona te dike which dips about 30 degrees. It is made of porphyri tic andesi te with phenocrysts (larger embedded crystal sS of amphibole. The pit is definitely for the experienced vertical caver only and requires special ized equipment as well. Cold water from me1 ting snow runs down the rope from around 200 feet on, so it is recommended that wetsuits or other suitable wear be worn. Black, Curt Deckert Or John E Ke7 7 stedtl Kell y Lane, Buddy Lane, Doranns Mullenlx kssler, Nee1 d 3, 11: Moonr Hank St Den1 s, Cathy Sanders, Or Robert Sattl err Robert A1 I en Seifert, Or Richard D Sims, Steven M Smith, Marion 0 Strait, Anne Knox Na Members P.O. Box 162452 P.O. Box 100360 Route 6, Box 1346 40 Hidden Brook Lane 40 Hfdden Brook Lane 67 Still Forest Lane 316 Chmbl I ss St, Apt C 1103 Chugach Way #3 1166 1 Rockrl dge Road P, 0. Box 80466 1196 Vlolet Drlve 2110 Bul a Drjve B.O. Box 8276, U T Stn 17 Plnehurst Drlve Austl n Anchorage Santa Fe 51 gnal Mounts! n SI gnal bunta f n Wood1 and Park Ch attanoaga Anchor age Anchorage Co? 1 ege Fa1 sbanks Col orado Sprd ngs Knoxv11le Caw el 1 Beach page 10 The Alaskan Caver Volume 9 Number 3 June 1989


Star1 ight Cave Prince of Kales Island Technical Prel iminary Report #5 by Kevin All red October 9, 1988 Elevation: -500 feet [I50 meters] Located by aerial photographs, Starlight Cave was first entered and surveyed (2189 feet [667 -2 meters] by Glacier Grotto members Carlene and Kevin Allred on the 1st and 2nd of September, 1987. Approximately 800 feet west of Sinkhole Lake, the main entrance is a collapsed doline 110 feet deep and 100 feet in diameter. The main passage extends to the northwest, while another passage heads easterly. The main part of the cave had evidence of former exploration. The entrance passage slopes steeply down 150 feet east of the entrance and was finally plugged with breakdown until Kevin Allred dug through the debris. From here two drainages of phreatic and vadose-modif ied phrea tic passage axe accessible, each containing a small stream and lake of unknown depth, Even though these lakes are only 120 feet apart, the furthest is 32 feet lmer than the first. It is estimated that Sinkhole Lake is over 100 feet higher and only 500 feet away from the further lake, which is 201.1 feet below the entrance. A few speleothems were encountered in the lower pasts of the cave. Soon a ter entering and descending the second drainage, care should be taken in traveling ,the westerly passage, where it divides, so as to avoid crushing rimstone dams in the other, easterly passage. The corridor, which trends northwest from the main entrance, begins as a steep breakdown slope caused by roof collapse, and then more or less levels until after 350 feet where two shafts extend to the surface. A short passage to the north ends in a silt fill. Special precautions should be taken in the lower parts of the cave as the high connection betweer. the two drainages rnzy form a trap if the cave floods in the event of heavy runoff. How ,much the water normally fluctuates, seasonally or from year to yeas, is not known. It was an especially dry summer in 1987. There are some delicate areas in this cave and also some potentially dangerous featzrres. It is recommended that only the experienced and we1 1equipped caver with gear and a 100-foot rope enter this cave, A map of Starlight Cave can be found in The Alaskan Caver, Volume 8 Number 6, April 1988, page 4. Large {two foot by four foot) copies of this same map are available from the President, Jay Rockwell. Address rZhanges Head, Joe 21102 NE 242 Avenue Battl e Ground WA 98604 Rmel er James 3 7840 Convoy Court San Diego CA 92111. Ward, Denlse E 390 South High Bench Rd Alplne UT 84004


Caves en Coronation Island by Steve Lewis reprinted from D. C. Speleograph, January 1988 I was sorry not to have been able to make it over to Price of Wales this summer, We got weathered in for a few days more than expected on Corona tion, and that--coupled with an unexpected call to do some guiding in British Columbia made the logistics impossible, I am interested in hearing what you found, though, and perhaps tying in with a future trip. The map you sent down seems to correlate quite well with the locations of caves we have located so far on Coronation. As both of us had discovered, Egg Harbor has a number of caves on the west side, none of which went terribly far, One did have some nice chimneys with some very interesting f onnations land a decrepit ladder]. One fork had some large helectites, I believe--anyway, quite subs tantial farmations coming out almost perpendicular to the walls. This route was impossible to climb without doing grave damage to formations, but appeared to squeeze down to nothing forty feet or so abwe me. The SW coast has massive sea caves and tunnels, most of which appear to be being heavily used by puff ins and murres, Swells prevented us from going deep into these but, again, they seem to be mdstry massive but short. we never did find Folklore Cave--I assume by "decorated" that you mean it has drawings or paintings of some sort. But there are some very exciting potential leads in the high karst countm of the island. Needle Peak and surrounding ridges are pocked with sinkholes a number of which drop over fifty feet straight down. One hole was about thirty feet in diameter, seventy feet deep, with a passage leading off at the bottom. This was at about 1500 feet of elevation, Unfortunately, wher, we finally got equipment up to this hole, a gimpy thumb and torrential rair. convinced us to put exploration off until the spring field season. Another exciting passage is apparently on the transition between the limestone and diorite areas between Egg Harbor and Aats Bay. We followed a spiralling crawlway until it steepened to what appeared to be rope-requiring angles with the limited light and time we had, There was a small stream running into the sinkhole, and the main stream leading to Egg Harbor pours out of the side of a pile of loose rock several hundred vertical feet below. We have a1 so flagged and marked on our map a number of other pits with holes for which we have not yet found a bottom. Ann Ruggles and Don Hmpton, grotto members here in Fairbanks, have expressed some interest in trying to get an exploratory tri~ going which could coincide with my winter spring field season on Coronation. Current plans are for me to be on the island f ror, mid-February to probably early June. We are using a cabin at Egg Harbor, which gives good access to most of the cave areas and, with a bit of extra fuel, we have a Zodiac which could be used to shuttle gear and/or people to shorten the distance to Needle Peak. The possibility exists that f might be able to help fund a boat trip out if we could get all of the scientific gear off the island with it at the end of: our field season. I am sure that I could convince the Wildlife unit to pay a portion or all of the cost if it were less than the cost of hauling us out by plane. . Eope we can pull something off ? page 12 The Alaskan Caver Volume 9 Number 3 June 1989


reprinted f rorn Thr Underground Ncws, Vol. 15 no. 2. Sepr. 1988 SAFETY & TECHNIQUE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NIELSON'S WELL By Jim NichoUs (NSSfit 15216) Nielson's Well is, at she time of his publication, the deepest, single venical shaft in Utah. It is, for all I know, the deepest single-drop venicd pit in he western United States. It's realm should not k taken lighrly or wih too much confidence. Every time I have visitcd rhc uve, I have met a different sel of problems and con& Lions. I have rtmed mote a dozen rimes during thc past 12 months hause I experience a humbled awe no ohcr cave in Ulah m match. Thc cave environment is typically alpinc. Ik is a hypothcmia high risk avc with no cxy way back to thc suriacc, if you komc ovcrwhclmcd. Any rcscuc attcmpt in rcuicving 3 victim would rcqvirc all hc scsourccs of thc cavc scarch and rcscuc organizarions in thc Inrcrmounnin War. Thc main shdi hx appcd stablc so far and dks nor prcscnt any risk of largc rcck fal! or coll3psc. Thc cmss scction of Ihc shaft is largc and can bcsl k dcscribc$ as "TAG Likc" in its proponions. The two main ledgcs are a nuismcc md rob bc pit ol its potential of being a frcc drop all he way from the sufacc, the la~t hundred iect or so arc thc "best". Thc find drop hcightcns he spelunker's semcs to an acicutc condition. (What happened to he walls? Wherc did lhcy go?") The "snow cone" is 3 common fwturc in oher alpine caves of Lhe arc3 and while providing a needed smear of color ar one end of thc large breakdown-filled Big Rwm, it also crates a host of problems for which most vemcd cavers might not be I do 1701 believe any checklist of basic or luxury i~crns should be published to ensure a safe and comfomb~e time at Nielson's Well. What anyone who rads this should realire is that there is no margin for incomptency or inexptrience in his cave. There is no easy mehod of cornmunic3tion from the top of he pit lo the bottom. The fmr trip was very spmky. I wxs not able to comrnunicalc with Ken Slafiley excepl by shouring ar thc top of my voicc. If slighrly incqnciwtcd or hypobcrmic, I might nor have hcn able lo Icr him know of my conhtion, I doubt hat whistle signals would make June 1989 Volume 9 Number 3 the situation any saler. Any sound wave traveling up the pit will encounler all hds of interference along be way. We have never hn able to successfully shout back and forth and understand whar he ober was hying ro say. As far as I am able to tell, af~r spelunking in the Inremountain West for 4 yms, bars found LO be hibernating in an alpine cave environment are unique. Bats have ken encountered in this pi[. Is if essentid for their well being to shun the use of personal twoway radios or should it be Ieft to one's personal preference? No rnalter what the personal cost of a communication systcrn, he flying mammal's welfare is more impomnt, Not king a zmlogist, fmilix with bat population studies in Utah, I would recommend that their privacy be honored and respecred. A morarorium on visitarion to thc pit should be obscrved by all avers tctwecn of Octok: through June. Voice activated LWO-way ndjos have provcn LO bc an asset in maintaining clcar and insrant cornmuniwrjons bctwccn hc suriacc md thc far sidc of the Big Room, at thc batrorn of rhc shall. I can rccornrncnd two sirnplc and incxpcnsivc modifia~iens hat will cnhancc and protccl rhc comrnunic~~ons system. When shc conditions in thc uvc arc vcry wci and humid it would k wisc to kccp thc ndios insidc ziplock plastic bags. If thc unisr kcomc wcr, thcir pcrfommce may be degndcd. Thc use of duct wpc and scvcd rubkr bands will hclp in Ihc sding of the bags. Bc sun: 10 Upe he voicc ocuvau'on swilch "opcn" to ensure that it will remain en during hc descen~ A msmission wire is a small gagc wire thal allows the radio signal ro mvcl unirnpcdcd up the shaft 10 thc surface. The wire can bccorne entangled he your rope while descending. Somc ingenuity is required to devise a srnmhly openling reel hat enables the caver to take the transmission wire down he shaft as he nppeEs. Ken Stihley, Mike Beer and I have tricd vxious techniques of "laying" a transmission wire down hr shdc hch time was a marginal success. Wha~ ma!. k needed is for the rust descending caver lo nppcl LO he ~IL Iedge. There, the wire should bc lowcrcd lo him. The first descending cavcr should carefully attach it 10 his shoulder or helmct and gingcrly drop the pit Once a1 Lfie btiom or "snow cone" and ou~ away from the rape, the c3vcr should LAC rhc transmission wirc the nearest wall and XEU~C it If it can be insnllcd in such mmncr, Lhcn subscqucnt cavers ceufd safely rappcl and asccnd without kerning cnmglcd in rhc tmsmission wirc. The Alaskan Caver page 13

Contents: The Alaskan
Caver --
Tidewater Sea Cave --
President's Corner --
Technical Preliminary Report #1: Kid Cave --
Technical Preliminary Report #2: Carcass Cave --
Technical Preliminary Report #3: Salmon Fry Cave --
Technical Preliminary Report #4: El Capitan Pit --
Technical Preliminary Report #5: Starlight Cave --
Caves on Coronation Island --
Safety & Technique Recommendations for Nielson's Well
Alaska Cave Rumor: Three Thousand Foot Volcanic Pit --
1988 Glacier Grotto Financial Report --
Sheep Cave (Bold Peak) --
Members in the News.