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)
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Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: Nizina Cave Hunt and Alder Thrash / Steve Lewis -- Map of Latticework Chamber -- Map of Three Sheep No Skunk Cave -- Map of Cracked Up Cave -- Mendenhall Glacier Caves Hike / Jansen Cardy -- Cataract Cave / Gwen Herrewig -- Grotto Website -- President's Corner -- Letter -- Nizina Glacier Passage / Jean Krejca.
Open Access - Permission by Author(s)
Original Version:
Vol. 29, no. 1 (2009)
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:
K26-00300 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.300 ( USFLDC Handle )
14313 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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V olume 29, Number 1 January 2009 THE AL ASKAN C A VER THE AL ASKAN C A VER


Back cover: V er tical practice held at T enakee Springs, late fall 2008. In this photo Steve L ewis and R achel Myr on practice r opework inside their shop several miles east of town. Other par ticipants included Nick Olmstead, Molly K emp and Jansen Car dy Photo by Jansen Car dy F r ont cover: Jean Kr ejca maps passage in Cracked Up Cave, W rangell-St. Elias National P ark (see ar ticle beginning on page 2). Photo pr obably taken by Erin L ynch (with JohannaÂ’s camera). (continues on ne xt page) W rangell-St. Elias National P ark 2008, by Steve L ewis Nizina Cave Hunt and Alder Thrash, by Steve L ewis -------------------page 2 Map of L atticework Chamber -------------------------------------------------page 9 Map of Thr ee Sheep No Skunk Cave ---------------------------------------page 10 Map of Cracked Up Cave ------------------------------------------------------page 11 Mendenhall Glacier Caves Hike, by Jansen Cardy ----------------------page 12 Cataract Cave, by Gwen Her r ewig ------------------------------------------page 13 Grotto W ebsite -------------------------------------------------------------------page 15 P r esidentÂ’s Cor ner ---------------------------------------------------------------page 15 L etter -------------------------------------------------------------------------------page 15 Nizina Glacier P assage, by Jean Kr ejca -------------------------------------page 19 The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No .1 page 2 T ABLE OF CONTENTS Nizina Cast of Characters: R ob CadmusJuneau, AK, Jansen Car dy-itinerant, cur r ently Anchorage, AK, Johanna K ovarickThorne Bay AK, Jean (Cr eatur e) Kr ejcaA ustin, TX, Steve L ewisT enakee Springs, AK, Erin L ynchChina & K Y Dan NolfiSmoky Mountains NP TN, Kina SmithOlympia, W A/ Whale P ass, AK. 25 August, 2008: Group meets up at Anchorage Inter national Airpor t--and with the other W rangell Cave team, led by Kevin Allr ed. Jansen meets us and we round up the r ental rigs, a big van and hot little r ed sedan, hit up REI, round up a few groceries, eat way too much at the Golden Cor ral all-you-can -eat joint and head out to P almer and a campground Jansen has lear ned of Ever ybody seems to have all their tent par ts and know how to use them, so off to a good star t. 26 August, 2008: Br eakfast in P almer and off to Copper Center and a meeting with P ark Ser vice folks. This goes well---although caver and ranger ideas of most effective r escue methods did seem to differ a bit. W e settled it, that if problems arose the first r escuers should come from the group of cavers on the other side of the park, especially if an actual cave r escue was r equir ed. Roll up the old railroad grade to McCar thy and, having called earlier find a van from McCar thy Air that we manage to get all our gear shoved into although some of us have to walk. Jansen drove the van back to Anchorage to save us many dineros. He is a caver but hadn't been in Alaska when we set up the e xpedition, but still volunteer ed to help with transpor tation. W e sing his praises! NIZINA CA VE HUNT AND ALDER THR ASH THE AL ASK AN CA VER EDITOR: Carlene Allr ed General Deliver y T enakee Springs, Alaska 99841 hm: 907 736-2269carleneallr GL ACIER GROTTO OFFICERS PRESIDENT : David Love PO bo x 240812 Douglas, AK 99824-0812 VICE PRESIDENT : Kevin Allr ed General Deliver y T enakee Springs, Alaska 99841 SECRET AR Y/TREASURER: Rebecca V alentine 11976 N. T ongass Ketchikan, AK 99901 CONSERV A TION: Steve L ewis Bo x 53 T enakee Spr ., AK 99841 tenakeetwo@yahoo .com TONGASS CA VE PROJECT : Steve L ewis Bo x 53 T enakee Spr AK 99841 tenakeetwo@yahoo .com Kevin Allr ed General Deliver y T enakee Springs, Alaska 99841 hm: 907 736-2269carleneallr P ete Smith THE AL ASK AN CA VER (ISSN 07350481) is the periodic publication of the Glacier Grotto of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Back issues ar e available from the Glacier Grotto secr etar y for $2.50 each. Materials not copyrighted by individuals or by other groups may be used by NSS publications provided cr edit is given to the author and to The Alaskan Caver Opinions ar e not necessarily that of The Alaskan Caver the Glacier Gr otto or the NSS. The editor welcomes contributions such as letters, trip r epor ts, cave r epor ts, photos, car toons, stories, cave maps, etc. Annual dues ar e $15 per individual and $20 per family or organization. The Alaskan Caver is included in the membership fee. F or an additional $8, six The Alaskan Cavers will be sent overseas via air mail. Send dues to the tr easur er


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 3 The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 3 R ob Cadmus with a load, photo by Jean Kr ejca (continues on ne xt page) As he headed west, we set up camp above the runway tents on the gravel bank and dinner of sor ts on the tar mac. Chilly evening---nice stars and bugs non e xistent with the frost. 27 August, 2008: T wo trips gets all the Nizina cr ew to the airstrip at the toe of the Nizina Glacier Other group has a long day of shuttles since their airstrip can only handle a Super Cub, so they go one person at a time. W e used a Beaver and then a Cessna 185 to get our cr ew out. W e had the pilot fly the cliffs and cir cle a bit of the karsty landscape---things looked inter esting, although some of the cliffs looked daunting. The promised big r esurgence looked promising from the air dumping silty water into a series of str eams and a lake. A possible deep pit looked ver y dicey ---appar ently at the top of a huge and steep snow and ice slope that ran up into a cleft in the mile high cliffs. W e named this the Crack of Doom and felt that it was a definite last r esor t---scar y looking. But, the best stuff looked to all be well to the south of the airstrip. So ever yone played mule and we lugged all our gear about 4 miles down to the midway point of our river section ---at the base of a steeply dropping str eam that offer ed a route up to the top of the cliffs and the high karst. Numerous holes gaped from the cliffs we passed as we slogged over easy ter rain, river gravels cover ed with Dr yas stalks and occasional small Dinner was, like always, fr eeze dried food that willowy channels cutting from the cliffs across the river Johanna had order ed and had shipped to W rangell flats to the Nizina, about half a mile to our west. Mountain Air for us. Plenty of dr y wood, so we generally supplemented our cooking stoves with a wood fir e that The most mulish of us did second loads while felt gr eat most nights. others got camp set up, tents out on the flats, well away from the kitchen ar ea in the aspens with a str eam 28 August, 2008: Entir e group sets out to leap running through it. T wo tall aspens wer e climbed. Rob frog each other checking out potential holes in the cliffs was the tr ee climber par -e xcellence and lines str etched between camp and the W est F ork River However our between them allowed us to easily hoist food bags out of main goal was to assess the most promising leads per all the r each of our ursine friends. Bear canisters wer e also our infor mants, the big r esurgence that appear ed to used and a good thing they wer e since the bears batted have a walking lead. W e did discover 3 significant them around and tried to chew them on several r esurgences that, for unknown r easons wer e pumping occasions. silty water appar ently of glacial origin. However ther e wer e no leads with any air only some shadows that may Rob, Kina and I took advantage of the long have fooled airbor ne obser vers. W e spent a long time evening to check out the str eam cut, getting well up into confir ming that ther e r eally wer e no mor e r esurgences the tangle of slide alder we wer e to become so or holes leading down into r esurgences. But, no luck. acquainted with, and finding some inter esting side W e did check out the W est F ork for possible crossing channels that felt karsty I also managed to fill my Xtrapotential. It looked pr etty tr eacherous---ver y fast water tuffs tr ying to bridge a little water fall. Just tipped a bit with no obvious shallows and a quick trip to the much and filled them right up like a faucet, to the glee of the mor e tr eacherous Nizina if the crosser didn't rapidly get others. to shor e. Rob, Kina and I checked up the shor e until we NIZINA CA VE HUNT ..., continued from page 2


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 4 Dan and Johanna in one of the less hor rible str etches of slide alder photo by Jean Kr ejca. (continues on ne xt page) wer e cliffed out. Several potential caves along cliffs had Dan and Johanna heckling. Rob had about 3 nice us thinking that tomor row might find us in the dark. meters of climbing and 20 meters of nasty loose hor ror It all led to a per fectly beautifulÂ….frost pocket. 29 August, 2008: Decided to check out the Derigging proceeded and they checked out the so called contact between the impur e McCar thy for mation and th CrackHead Cave which they had located on the 28 Chitistone Limestone high above camp since the Dan scrambled up a talus slope and discover ed that weather was clear per fect for working up high. Kina, CrackHead was not a cave either This led to a decision Cr eatur e, and Steve took the high route, but found to contemplate bar e feet in the sunshine, consume ourselves cheating and working above the Chitistone at P ower Bars, and then amble over to see if it would be times because the slide alder was impassable and not possible to cross the Nizina to get to all the gr eat looking the slightest bit holey The other group worked down holes on the other side. Not a chance, and the glacier lower tr ying to r elocate several lakes that we had seen crossing was far far away and didn't look too promising from the air in hopes that they drained into an either Nap time. underground system. The top group managed to get above one of the lakes---and to hear the others Meanwhile Kina, Steve and Cr eatur e scrambled thrashing equally hor rid slide alder below in their vain up their escape route of yesterday and headed for the attempt to find anything, lake or other wise. big opening of Moose Cave. (W e'd named it because the size and shape r eminded us of Deer Cave images we'd seen) W e scrambled along the cliff band, getting sightings on our stance from yesterday Moose Cave was just around the cor ner but up the cliff so we approached from above, hoping we could rappel down to it. T ur ned out we could walk down into it. It was indeed a fairly large opening, (3m wide x 7m tall) but it opened right out the top---just a natural bridge. So Moose Cave was r enamed Moose Ar ch and we took a nap, too W e then proceeded to follow the top of the cliffs back to camp. W e did see the lake, but it did not look like it had anything but a standard str eam drain. Nice swans too However it looked like a hor r endous alder thrash down ther e so we opted for less alder and mor e talus scrambles and dwar f bir ch thrashing. Some moose sign, but no caves. W e did find one large shallow sink, perhaps 100 meters across and several They did find their way out to the river sooner meters deep with no drain or opening. This was our first than we did----our route had been to stay high and drop r eal karst featur e above the river bottom ar ea other than into the W est F ork, but that would have r equir ed several the ar ches and limestone cliffs of earlier in the day days, so we worked down into a promising valley Ther e wer e some glorious views from the cliff tops and a discovering what appear ed to be a large entrance on nifty scramble down into the canyon above camp, but the far side, but too late to do mor e than get a good the potential for any featur es in the Chitistone band of location so we could find it tomor row Moose Cave limestone dimmed gr eatly today What few ther e might beckoned, but the river beckoned mor e, so we headed be ar e so well hidden in the alder that it may take a down the canyon, only to get cliffed out and have to tougher futur e generation of cavers (and a few millennia climb back up and follow mor e gentle slopes down to of dissolution) to find any karst or caves wor th pursuing the Nizina. A long day with at least 12 hours of up ther e. thrashing and crawling through intense alder But, the bir thday back rub at dinner made it all wor thwhile! 31 August, 2008: 30 August, 2008: Cr eatur e, Kina and Steve Dan, Johanna, Erin, and Cr eatur e did a headed back to e xplor e Moose Cave while Rob, thorough r econnaissance of the ar ea above the springs Johanna, Erin, and Dan checked out some climbing we'd discover ed on day one. They did find a little pond, leads. Rob led the first climb, with Erin belaying and but no entrances, and no e xplanation of why the springs NIZINA CA VE HUNT ..., continued from page 3


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 5 NIZINA CA VE HUNT ..., continued from page 4 wer e pumping silty water Is it coming from something W e packed up and moved most of camp, on the W est F ork River? The glaciers ar e many miles leaving some food and ver tical gear behind so that we away so a dir ect feed seems improbable. could get ever ything in one trip. Also the W est F ork ar ea did not offer good tr ees for hanging food, so all Rob, Kina, and Steve decided to e xplor e the food had to fit in our bear canisters. Camp was nice, but nor th side of the W est F ork river Lots of walking since it drinking water was mor e of a problem since the W est is nearly 4 miles from camp to the lower end of the W est F ork was full of glacial sediment, unlike our clear str eam F ork and we hoped to r each the contact with the at the old camp. The dropping river level had left a few McCar thy F or mation, 4 miles upstr eam. However it pools that wer e settling, and we wer e able to make these tur ned out that traveling along the W est F ork is a chor e. do the trick. Ther e ar e innumerable cliff-outs that var y from several hundr ed meters to kilometers in length. These Kina and I had brought our dr ysuits along generally entailed finding a route up steep steep slopes thinking that we might need them in a cave or perhaps a with mixed spruce and alder for est along the tops of the river crossing. These made the W est F ork thinkable. I cliffs. And, fr equently ther e wer e gullies and cuts that got a r eally nice sturdy stick, and using skills developed for ced us far back from the edge of the river several years befor e in a crossing of the Chitistone, found a way across the river Kina, being a bit shor ter W e did manage to r each the point across from used good sense and didn't tr y to follow once I was over the only r eally significant tributar y which enter ed via a since one was all we needed. long canyon, in limestone. Looked beautiful and perhaps karsty W e could not get down into the river I worked my way upstr eam to a nar row point from our side for as far as we could see, so decided that that we had worked out earlier Rob made a throw bag enough was enough. Kina did an amazing job of route and after a number of misses, I finally caught it and finding on the way back, getting us out in jig time. W e pulled a line across. This section was not a place one did see some ver y promising black holes high up on the would want to fall in ---the pull on the line was quite cliff W e jokingly named them Mission Bar ely P ossible significant and it was deep and nar row However I was Caves. Ther e wer e also numerous small springs and able to pull a cave rope across and tie it off to a large seeps along the river bank. W e wonder ed if ther e wer e spruce well anchor ed high on the bank. Now I could also ar eas at cor ners of cliffs that pumped water into the r est and watch the r est of the cr ew do amazing things rock, perhaps accounting for the silty springs at the with beach logs, webbing, and lots of e xperience in Nizina ponds. building tight line systems. Under Erin and Cr eatur e's e xper t dir ection, they had a solid tripod and a secur e W e decided that we should check out crossing potential on the W est F ork again because it seemed fruitless to e xpend multiple days mor e effor t in the ar ea we'd been working in. Our nice weather --no pr ecipitation to speak of b u t s t i l l c h i l l y s e e m e d t o h a v e r e d u c e d m e l t i n g o f t h e g l a c i e r upstr eam so that a dr ysuit crossing looked a little mor e r easonable. Once back at camp we all decided that we'd had enough alder thrashing and we would pack up and move camp tomor row Kevin Allr ed had heard about a potential deep pit at the top of the Crack of Doom, across the W est F ork on the Mile High cliffs (discover ed by a hang-glider who later crashed and is no longer in the ar ea), and then ther e was that Mission Bar ely P ossibleÂ…Â… 1 September 2008: Building the tripod for the T yr olean traverse acr oss the W est F ork, lef t to right: R ob Cadmus, Dan Nolfi, Jean (Cr eatur e) Kr ejca, Johanna K ovarick, Steve L ewis. Photo by Kina Smith. (continues on ne xt page)


Steve cr ossing the W est F ork on the T yr olean, photo by Jean Kr ejca. T op of Crack of Doom--note Dan Nolfi along wall at lef t, photo by Johanna K ovarik (continues on ne xt page) The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 6 e xper t dir ection, they had a solid tripod and a secur e perilous climb up scr ee and snow at the angle of r epose, anchor and a ver y tight line rigged in about an hour Rob, Dan, and Johanna r eached a bit of ice and no pit. Not only that, we wer e all e xcited again, with new They sur mised that the pit was probably a deep meltground to e xplor e tomor row! I came back across and hole between rock and ice that had been seen earlier in we plotted futur e adventur es over yet mor e fr eeze dried the season. adventur e. Our line has been dubbed the "T yrolean of Meanwhile, Cr eatur e and I wer e working our F r eedom". way up about 2000 ver tical feet of spruce and alder for est enroute to several mor e thousand feet of rock and snow below the little black holes, visible only with binoculars. As visions of alder thrash danced through our heads, an amazing sight did appear W e discover ed a trail that had been cut through the dense alder ----this might work after all. W e popped out of the alders still on the trail, car efully waypointed the top of the trail for our r etur n, and headed up beautiful alpine slopes, the toe of a glacier appearing as we rounded the amazingly convoluted cliffs---the e xposed bedrock bent and twisted into dramatic shapes on many of the outcrops of the McCar thy for mation. Several flocks of Dall sheep moved easily across the steep slopes to our nor th as we Beautiful evening yet again, with nice sunset and beautiful stars----late enough in the season that we actually do get some darkness---means we can't work insanely long days and still get back to camp, which is nice for me, the old geezer on the cr ew 2 September 2008: Dan and Rob made an early mor ning dash back to camp to get several forgotten items that wer e essential to e xploration on the far side of the W est F ork. Upon their r etur n we split into 3 teams, with Steve and Cr eatur e attempting to at least get close enough to see if Mission Bar ely P ossible was anything at all. Rob was e xcited to lead a cr ew up the Crack of Doom and Dan and Johanna decided to look doom in the eye. Kina and Erin would work the base of the mile high cliffs, going as far south as they could get and still get back to camp by nightfall. Rob's cr ew followed the W est F ork downstr eam till they wer e able to cut through the woods and follow the cliff band to the base of the scr ee slope beneath the Crack of Doom. Her e they began the ascent, appar ently pr eceded by a black bear that they saw grazing on raspber ries high above, befor e they spooked it. The bear scooted across what looked to be sheer cliffs, heading for wher e Steve and Cr eatur e wer e attempting their bar ely possible mission. After a NIZINA CA VE HUNT ..., continued from page 5


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 7 Cr eatur e sketches in the entrance of Thr ee Sheep No Skunk Cave. Photo by Steve L ewis. T er rain we sear ched on Nor th side of W est F ork— L akes in the F or egr ound ar e wher e lar ge springs ar e; the Nizina Glacier is at top of the photo View fr om Thr ee Sheep No Skunk Cave Entrance ar ea. Photo by Steve L ewis. struggled up the heather and into talus and then steep bedrock/talus/snow mixtur e. This ter rain was not ter ribly difficult, but the e xposur e and potential for rockfall kept us thinking. W e checked out a few dark spots, naming one frost shatter ed crack Almost A Cave, since it appear ed to have a bit of dissolution happening along with the frost shatter But, only a rat could have gotten past the first meter The final push to the primar y hole of Mission Bar ely P ossible was a bit dicey ---loose rock near the angle of r epose with perhaps 5 meters to a 10 meter plus drop with several hundr ed meters of tumbling fall guaranteed below that. Cr eatur e was not too thrilled when I called back that we actually had a cave. Thr ee Sheep, No Skunk Cave was named for the sheep we could see from it's entrance and the fact that we wer e not going to be completely skunked on this e xpedition. The cave was essentially a frost enlarged joint with some enlargement by dissolution. It had a mud floor with ice cfs spring. A black hole beckoned, but needed rope and at the back. A t 1,851 m (6,035 feet), it was definitely the har nesses. F ur ther on Kina pushed into L atticework highest cave discover ed on the e xpedition. Chamber The 5 meter high, 1 meter wide entrance led to a steep floor of shatter ed limestone to a 7 meter high by 3 meter in diameter room. A muddy floor is lubricated by drips and little nooks line the walls, along with moonmilk. All thr ee groups ar rived safely back in camp befor e dark, crossing yet again, what Erin dubbed the "Excellent T ripod T yrolean Contraption" to each consume another delectable dinner of BackP acker's P antry tr eats. 3 September 2008: Dan, Johanna, and Steve decided to work the south side of the W est F ork today hoping to check out the canyon that the August 31 foray had spotted from the nor th side of the river Once again, ther e wer e numerous springs along the base of the bluffs along the river with some ver y nice clear pools. And, once again, the river fr equently for ced us up and around, as it Erin and Kina had continued past the base of washed the base of steep cliffs. The last cliff-out the Crack of Doom to e xplor e the base of the cliffs along r equir ed a major back-track to ascend and we decided the west side of the Nizina. They hoped to r each the that time pr ecluded making it to the canyon. Nothing confluence of the Chitistone and close off the sur vey by but the springs suggested active karst in the ar ea. r elocating the Nizina Cut-off Bor ehole, discover ed by earlier Glacier Grotto winter e xpeditions, when crossing Meanwhile, Rob and Kina, Cr eatur e and Erin the rivers was easily accomplished on skis. They didn't headed back down the Mile High Cliff's section to push quite close the gap, but did have a ver y successful day the holes they'd found yesterday Rob led a 10m pitch up a crack to one of the holes they'd spotted. Kina A f t e r w a l k i n g u n d e r s e v e r a l m i l e h i g h followed and then the others--What they found was a water falls, Erin was e xcited to find a small bubbling miniatur e version of the Nizina Cutoff Bor ehole---spring. This was quickly followed by a much larger 20 NIZINA CA VE HUNT ..., continued from page 6 (continues on ne xt page)


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 8 Kina and Erin explor e Cracked Up Cave, photo by Jean Kr ejca. several small sections of cave that still r emain after the main cave was destroyed by glaciers when the Nizina and W est F ork glaciers wer e much larger An awkward 2 m climb led to another lead wher e "mud floor met rock ceiling” in an unpleasantly pinching way Erin, Kina, and Cr eatur e sur veyed Cracked Up Cave---the two leads wer e connected by an overhung walkway so constituted one cave. A rappel down, some dances on beaver dams, and one last T yrolean had the group back at our spike camp r eady for another fr eeze-dried dinner under the magnificent star r y Alaskan sky 4 September 2008: T oday is the last day befor e our scheduled pickup. It was a bit sad to have to pull down the F r eedom Ride-but quite simple with Erin's e xper tise, to derig without anyone needing to get in the river W e broke down the tripod so that the site was left looking pristine, not even a sling on the rigging tr ee on the far side. Then back to camp one, pick up all the gear ther e and make sur e it was pristine befor e shuttling ever ything up to the airstrip. The bad thing about fr eeze dried food is that the loads haven't shrunk as much as you'd wish at the end of the trip. Still a few double runs to get all the gear to the strip. W e checked out the little cabin, but it was well away from the strip and not par ticularly nice— not tempting when the stars wer e still shining. A last companionable group around a the other group had a few r eal caves to r epor t as we campfir e was still a tr eat. waited out the rain. 5 September 2008: Jansen was back with our van and we tr eated him and ourselves to NON-fr eeze dried dinner at the Made satellite phone contact with W rangell McCar thy Hotel befor e loading up and heading for the Mountain Air to deter mine our pickup time. F ound we Copper River Campground at the west end of the had some time to e xplor e. Cr eatur e and Erin hiked up McCar thy road for the night. The little r ed sedan had a to the toe of the Nizina Glacier spotting a black bear back seat par ty as Erin, Johanna, and Cr eatur e walking the beach along the lake, then scrambling onto r eviewed photos on Erin's computer the ice and finding an ice cave, 10-12 m long with a mud sump at the back. Dan, Johanna, Rob and I did a 6 September 2008: r econnaissance of the cliffs to be sur e that we hadn't P acked up camp and headed for Anchorage. missed any caves since we had done most of our Br eakfast of sor ts at a roadside caf in Kenny L ake, then looking at this end with big monkeys on our backs. a couple of hours in Copper Center discussing the trip Ther e was plenty of nice ter rain and limestone, but no and copying data sheets for the P ark— then the long caves or likely prospects. drive with beautiful vistas on the sunny day dinner in T wo flights had all of us out---our last flight was rainy Anchorage and Jansen and Stacey put all of us up e xcellent, with gr eat views of the Nizina, the cliffs, and in their tiny apar tment for the night. Stacey wisely went the McCar thy Cr eek ar ea befor e we flew into a to work on the night shift after making us welcome. L ast hailstor m right at the runway Good thing it is a big minute runs to get gas for the vehicles so we could r etur n runway ---we could bar ely see and a deluge kept us in them in the mor ning. Also laundr y and shower facilities the plane for awhile befor e making a mad dash to the thanks to Jansen and Stacey A gr eat way to end the trip packed van— all the F osse and Hidden V alley cr ew had all clean and spr ead all over the floor in luxur y r etur ned ahead of us. W e all shar ed tales of our trips--NIZINA CA VE HUNT ..., continued from page 7


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 9 Photo by Erin L ynch ? spring emerges from clif f wall about 45 m away from entrance LA TTICEWORK CHAMBER WRANGELL-SAINT ELIAS NA TIONAL P ARK ALASKA Rough sketch by Kina Smith. Cartography by S. Lewis and C. Allred. T ONGASS CA VE PROJECT PROFILE PLAN C 2009 by Carlene Allred entrance Nm LEGEND passage wallrocks wet mud fillslope (splays downward)vertical dropentrance driplinechange in ceiling height bedrock lower sky higher meters 0 5 feet 0 20 10 entrance ? fost-shattered limestone surfaces moonmilk and spockets on walls olution unexplored chimney need bolts to climb climb up unstable, frost-stattered rockwith hanging debrisabove


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 10 Jean Krejca in the cave entrance, photo by Steve Lewis THREE SHEEP NO SKUNK CA VE WRANGELL-SAINT ELIAS NA TIONAL P ARK ALASKA T ONGASS CA VE PROJECT PROFILE PLAN C 2009 by Carlene Allred entrance entrance meters 0 5 feet 0 20 10 Surveyed September 2, 2008 by J. Krejca and S. Lewis. Map by S. Lewis and C. Allred. Surveyed length: 7.8 meters (25.5 feet) V ertical extent: 2.6 meters (8.6 feet) N Nm 22.5 2008 LEGEND passage wallrocks silt fillslope (splays downward)vertical dropentrance driplinechange in ceiling height bedrockfrost and ice lower sky higher


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 11 Jean, Kina and Erin just outside the entrances, photo by Kina Smith C 2009 by Carlene Allred clif f edge clif f edge clif f CRACKED UP CA VE WRANGELL-SAINT ELIAS NA TIONAL P ARK ALASKA Surveyed with compass, clinometer and tape September 3, 2008 by R. Cadmus, Kina Smith, Erin L ynch and J Krejca. Map by S. Lewis and C. Allred. Surveyed length: 19 meters V ertical extent: 4.8 meters T ONGASS CA VE PROJECT PROFILE PLAN entrances entrance Nm 22.8 2008 N about 4 meters further along clif f face there is another cave entrance, unentered 1 m dome 1 m scallops and 5 cm scallops indicating outward (southwestern)historic flow Floor/ceiling channel rounded streamcobbles calcite crust bedrock pillars rounded stream cobbles entrance entrances LEGEND passage wallrock filldry silt fillslope (splays downward)vertical dropdepth of drop in metersentrance driplinechange in ceiling height vegetationbedrock lower sky .3 higher .3 8 15 20 1.2 1 1 1 meters 0 5 feet 0 20 10


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1, page 12 T r i p R e p o r t : The gr oup outside the entrance Stacey in the entrance of the blue ice tunnel Ar ticle and photos by Jansen Cardy MENDENHALL GL ACIER CA VES HIKE On Saturday December 6, 2008, several Glacier Grotto members and friends hiked out to Mendenhall Glacier to take a look at some glacier caves. T rudging through the rain on slushy snow -cover ed trails wer e Gwen Her r ewig, Johanna Kovarik, Matthew Thompson, and Jansen and Stacey Cardy W e depar ted the parking lot at 9am, and hiked around the edge of the lake. Our route got who chatted with us for a while befor e leading his group out onto the glacier to practice ice climbing. The five of us spent the ne xt hour and a half e xploring and photographing several caves under the edge of the glacier Daylight from over cast skies filter ed through the ice, casting soft hues of blue light. Small ice stalactites sprouted from the ceiling, some spraying str eams of water Constant drips fell from the icy ceiling ever ywher e, but by this time we wer e rather dr enched progr essively mor e adventurous as we had to push anyway so it didn't much matter The last glacier cave through tr ees and brush, scale a cliff near an icy we visited had the shape and dimensions of a road water fall, and scramble up and down over slipper y tunnel. Although fairly shor t in length, it had a large rocks. After enduring a few slips and slides, we ar ched ceiling and the ice was a ver y pictur esque deep eventually made it out to the wester n edge of the glacier blue color about 11:30am. Soon after we ar rived, we heard A r o u n d another group approaching behind us. The leader 1pm we left the tur ned out to be a Juneau caver named Louie Hoock, g l a c i e r a n d star ted the tr ek b a c k a l l o w i n g ourselves a two and a half hour w i n d o w b e f o r e dark. W e made it back to Gwen's vehicle in good time, and by 3pm we wer e on the r o a d h e a d i n g b a c k t o h e r apar tment for a b i g l a s a g n a dinner W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W Stacey and the glacier Stacey and Jansen under the Mendenhall Glacier


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 13 CA T AR ACT CA VE T r i p R e p o r t : P rince of W ales Island, Alaska August 18, 2008, by Gwen Her r ewig. Photos by Jansen Cardy Hiking down thr ough the old gr owth Gwen trying to keep her feet dry The Cottonball pool (continues on ne xt page) Thr ee tir ed cavers, Jansen Cardy Gwen Her r ewig, and Dan Nolfi volunteer ed for the F or est Ser vice to collect samples out of Cataract Cave on the P rince of W ales Island. This after the action packed Cave Rescue W orkshop (August 15-17, 2008), Jansen and I stayed in Thor ne Bay an e xtra day to get underground. Dan only decided at the last minute to go along with back to back cave e xpeditions on the horizon, he cer tainly had mor e r eason to take the day off than we did. It was r eally an act of chivalr y that he came along; he knew the cave was hard to find and that Jansen and I wer e clueless. After a long d r i v e a n d w a n d e r i n g t h r o u g h t h e w o o d s w e The sampling was self-e xplanator y although a r r i v e d a t due to my lack of sleep I had to keep r eading the Cataract Cave instructions over and over to make sur e we had it right. w i t h s u p p l i e s a n d i n s t r u c t i o n s T w o r elatively close entrances faced downhill in the o l d g r o w t h f o r e s t T h e l e f t c a v e entrance had a str eam flowing out of it, and the right the one we wanted, was dr yer with standing pools of water The first pool was deeper than our Xtratufs and we each attempted to enter the cave by balancing on rocks. It didn't matter with a low ceiling and angles just right; we all scooped cold water into the top of our boots, like a bucket, within the first five feet. Cataract Cave is a smaller cave in size with a fork in the middle the right leads to the str eam passage and the left to our upper sampling ar ea with ultra delicate for mations. Dan used webbing for a make-shift ladder to aid in our climb up wher e tape marked a shor t trail to protect the r est of the room from possible damage. A t first glance, the room r evealed many stalactites, a water fall of moonmilk, and delicate cottonballs in still pools.


Calcite formations Gwen and Dan collecting samples Calcite formations Gwen taking temperatur e r eadings The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 14 W e collected water samples out of two pools, temperatur e r eadings in and out of the cave, moonmilk and cottonballs for DNA testing, and for est litter from above the cave. W e soon discover ed that collecting samples in a cave had specific challenges and even proved to be quite maddening at times. F irst, with the DNA testing, we could not touch or br eathe on the samples or risk wer e agonizingly slow Maybe it was our state of mind, but this took some serious patience. Luckily ther e wer e thr ee of us available so when one person cracked, someone else could step in and finish. After a couple hours at the cave, we star ted the jour ney back with our per fectly labeled samples and leaf litter getting our own DNA on itÂ… Gosh, ever br eathe in a cave? Y eah, your br eath hangs in the air for quite some time. In addition, our rubber gloves got wet and dir ty within 30 seconds, which got the labels on the bottles wet and so our markers wouldn't write on the labels without some how dr ying them off in the wet, dir ty cave. After all that, most of the little plastic syringes for filtering water didn't work properly The ones that did work CA T ARACT CA VE, continued from page 13


Cavers, check out our new grotto website. This is in the process of being put together by the University of Alaska Southeast caving club. Http://www s/envs/caving/links.html PRESIDENTS CORNER LETTER (continues on ne xt page) Thanks and happy caving! David Love, Glacier Grotto P r esident The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 15 Gr eetings to all the Glacier Grotto T ongass Cave P roject and U AS Caving club members! This is a "heads-up" r egarding Senator Lisa Murkowski's Senate bill 3651 introduced last year to provide for the settlement of native claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). Through this bill, Sealaska corporation has asked to be able to select additional lands on nor ther n P rince of W ales (NPOW), Kosciusko and T uxekan islands outside the land entitlements pr eviously defined by ANCSA. Senator Lisa Murkowski These "economic development lands", as they 709 Har t Senate Building ar e called, include NPOW from Red Bay to Calder the W ashington, D.C. 20510 southwester n Kosciusco island and almost all of T uxekan island. The Sealaska selection includes ar eas Dear Senator underlain by karst equal to 52,210 acr es (71% of total I am writing this letter on behalf of the selection). membership of the Glacier Grotto listed below The The ar eas selected contain a total of 1590 Glacier Grotto is a statewide chapter of the National inventoried karst featur es of which ther e ar e 198 caves Speleological Society (NSS) dedicated to the discover y that have been designated significant, or most likely mapping and conser vation of the karst and cave would be found to be significant when nominated, r esour ces of the state of Alaska. The Glacier Grotto under the F ederal Cave Resour ces P rotection Act. membership is ver y concer ned about the new land Many of these ar eas have such a high density of featur es selections that Sealaska Corporation has r equested that we have just never inventoried them so the actual under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act as number of caves from ar eas like Mount F rancis, Flicker introduced initially as House Bill 3560 by r epr esentative Ridge and the Calder Ar ea would be much higher The Don Y oung and r eintroduced in Senate Bill (SB) 3651 Sealaska proposal includes 7,359 acr es of proposed by Alaskan senator Lisa Murkowski. Geologic Special Ar eas. F irst, definition of the type of landscape the Based on the evidence of the past land Glacier Grotto and NSS ar e par ticularly concer ned management practices on Sealaska lands, as well as the about: lack of a defined land management plan, these ar eas K arst topography is a landscape shaped by the would likely not be protected as they have been under dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock, the administration of the US F or est Ser vice. These karst usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite. lands ar e national tr easur es containing karst featur es of Due to subter ranean drainage, ther e may be ver y inter national significance, transfer ring them to Sealaska limited sur face water even to the absence of rivers and would cause ir r evocable damage if no protective lakes. Many karst r egions display distinctive sur face measur es ar e put in place. featur es, with sinkholes or dolines being the most Glacier Grotto members David Love, T im common. However distinctive karst sur face featur es Heaton and Kevin Allr ed ar e drafting the Grotto's may be completely absent wher e the soluble rock is r esponse to this proposal. If you wish to sign your name mantled, such as by glacial debris, or confined by a to this letter which is included in this edition of the superimposed non -soluble rock strata. Some karst C a v e r p l e a s e c o n t a c t D a v i d L o v e a t r egions include thousands of caves, even though pandalid@yahoo .com ASAP! This letter will be sent to evidence of caves that ar e big enough for human both r epr esentatives, Senator Murkowski, P r esident e xploration is not a r equir ed characteristic of karst. Obama and this bill will be discussed in this years' I t s h o u l d b e n o t e d t h a t c u r r e n t l a n d congr ess and we have a bit of time befor e it becomes management practices on federal lands underlain by law but we need to be proactive in order to be heard! carbonate rock in Alaska, especially on the T ongass N a t i o n a l F o r e s t m a n a g e t h e s e k a r s t l a n d s 1 1


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 16 LETTER, continued from page 15 (continues on ne xt page) s c a p e s f o r t h e u n i q u e h y d r o l o g i c a l s p e l e o l o g i c a l ar cheological and paleontological r esour ces underlying the sur face of these landscapes as well as the biological community that covers and protects their sur face. T h e s e a r e a s c o n t a i n u n i q u e b i o l o g i c a l microhabitats, for e xample, fr eshwater str eams sour ced or passing through karst bedrock produce significantly mor e inver tebrates which feed a larger number of salmon than do non -karst systems, thus providing gr eater oppor tunity for subsistence, commer cial and spor t fishing har vest. K a r s t r e g i o n s i n S o u t h e a s t A l a s k a c o n t a i n ir r eplaceable ar cheological and paleontological deposits, inter nationally significant cave and karst geologic featur es, surprising hydrological inter connectedness and r emote r ecr eational oppor tunities like few other places on the planet. Ar cheological and paleontological r esear ch in Southeast Alaska has not only r edefined how indigenous people ar rived and colonized the Americas, but has also provided a pictur e of the plant and animal communities pr esent in this r egion for the past 40,000 + years. The potential for additional paleontological and ar cheological discover y in this r egion is e xtensive and many of the cavecontaining karst lands within the Sealaska selections have not been thoroughly inventoried. Each year this r egion attracts r esear chers and cave e xplor ers from around the countr y and worldwide. T o date, the US F or est Ser vice (USF S) land management practices associated with karst by karst. W e have inventoried some 161 karst featur es we lands in Southeast Alaska have been a model for other consider significant within the proposed land selection, of agencies in other par ts of the world. which ther e ar e 23 caves that have been designated Thr ee of the ar eas suggested for conveyance to significant or most likely would be found to be significant Sealaska occur in some of the most highly developed karst when nominated. The Sealaska proposal includes 1,651 landscapes in Alaska (containing featur es that ar e unique acr es of the Geologic Special Ar eas found in the 2008 inter nationally). These ar eas ar e: Nor ther n P rince of TLMP The Sealaska proposed land selection also W ales Island, T uxekan Island and Kosciusko Island. includes the P or t P rotection W atershed identified by Below is some Geographic Infor mation System (GIS) through a V illage Safe W ater Grant and tracer dye studies. analysis provided by James Baichtal, F or est Geologist of T uxekan Island: T otal ar ea of Sealaska selection the T ongass National F or est, r elating to HB 3560: equals 15,758 acr es of which 11,936 acr es (76%) ar e "Â…Kosciusko Island: T otal ar ea of Sealaska underlain by karst. W e have inventoried some 339 karst selection equals 25,882 acr es of which 23,839 acr es (92%) featur es we consider significant within the proposed land ar e underlain by karst. W e (USF S, enter ed by D. Love for selection, of which ther e ar e 30 caves that have been clarification) have inventoried some 1090 karst featur es designated significant or most likely would be found to be we consider significant within the proposed land selection, significant when nominated. Ther e ar e no Geologic of which ther e ar e 145 caves that have been designated S p e c i a l A r e a s o n T u x e k a n I s l a n d significant or most likely would be found to be significant In summar y the Sealaska selection on the when nominated. The 2008 TLMP included a 7678 acr e Thor ne Bay Ranger District wher e ther e ar e karst Geologic Special Ar ea encompassing Mount F rancis and landscape concer ns equals 74,112 acr es, 52,210 acr es karst ar eas to the south with a boundar y change to include underlain by karst (71%). W e have a total of 1,590 karst the r esults of tracer dye studies. The Sealaska proposal featur es inventoried of which ther e ar e 198 caves that have includes 5,708 acr es of the 7,678 acr es or 74% of the been designated significant or most likely would be found Geologic Special Ar ea. W e have not inventoried this ar ea to be significant when nominated. Many of these ar eas but karst featur es may e xceed a density of thousands per have such a high density of featur es that we have just never squar e mile. inventoried them so the actual number of caves from ar eas NPOW : T otal ar ea of Sealaska selection equals like Mount F rancis, Flicker Ridge and the Calder Ar ea 32,482 acr es of which 16,435 acr es (51%) ar e underlain would be much higher The Sealaska proposal includes 2 3 4 5


(continues on ne xt page) The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 17 7,359 acr es of Geologic Special Ar easÂ…." the F ederal Cave Resour ces P rotection Act (FCRP A) of Although the Glacier Grotto agr ees that the tribes 1988, The Antiquities Act of 1906, the F ederal L and P olicy of Southeast Alaska (i.enow r epr esented by the Sealaska Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), and in F or est Ser vice Corporation) have the right to lands promised under Management (F SM) dir ections 2356, 2361, and 2880, ANCSA, the Glacier Grotto does NOT believe that House and 36 CFR 261 and 290. Subsequently in the 2008 Bill 3560 or Senate Bill 3651 should be passed unless T o n g a s s L a n d M a n a g e m e n t P l a n s t a n d a r d s a n d changes ar e made to the bills. This letter is in opposition guidelines wer e developed to protect the karst and cave to this bill asking for additional withdrawals of public US r esour ces found on the T ongass National F or est. F or State National F or est lands outside of the original ANCSA of Alaska lands cur r ently ther e is no "Cave P rotection Act" withdrawal ar eas if these new withdrawal ar eas overlie i n t h e S t a t e o f A l a s k a ( h t t p : / / w w w c a v e s o r g / karst ter rain and/or caves. Refer to Sec 3 (b) (1), page 19 committee/conser vation/)(Conser vation L aws and P olicy of the Senate Bill 3651 authorizing Sealaska to select lands Cave laws and P olicies) nor does the F or est P ractices Code categorized as "Economic Development L ands" (see the contain any provisions for protection of those r esour ces m a p e n t i t l e d S e a l a s k a A N C S A L a n d E n t i t l e m e n t from timber har vest, road construction and/or quar r y Rationalization P ool, dated Mar ch 6, 2008 and labeled development as stated by the Alaska State Division of A ttachment A). K arst landscapes and caves underlying F o r e s t r y ( D O F ) w e b s i t e a t h t t p : / / f o r e s t r y a l a s k a lands selected by Sealaska cur r ently r eceive protection gov/for estpractices.htm. Neither the Alaska F or est from damage under federal laws. These selected ar eas Resour ces and P ractices Act as published in 2000 nor the include and/or overlie karst landscapes and/or cave Alaska F or est Resour ces and P ractices Regulations as systems, and the Glacier Grotto and members of the NSS published in 2000 contained language addr essing karst or believe that these lands should not be developed but cave r esour ces. In a Memorandum from the Depar tment should be protected as they cur r ently ar e under the of Natural Resour ces dated Mar ch 6, 2003 which outlines FCRP A. Since no State cave r esour ce protection law e xists the Coastal Region's Souther n Southeast Ar ea F ive-year for State or privately owned lands, these ar eas should not Schedule of T imber Sales for the period of Januar y 1, be allowed to be managed under (non -e xistant) State law 2003 through December 31, 2007, the DOF clearly states but should continue to be managed under the FCRP A. In its position. In the description of the 2005 proposed El addition, if any of the "T raditional and Customar y T rade Cap T imber Sale, the DOF states, "The ADNR does not and Migration Routes", "Native F utur es Sites" and "Sacr ed, r ecognize karst topography as a significant r esour ce to be Cultural, T raditional and Historic Sites" overlie karst managed on the State's limited land base in southeast. The ter rain or cave containing bedrock then these ar eas should DOF will protect karst for mations that effect water quality also be r emoved from the selections and continue to be as per the Alaska F or est Resour ces and P ractices Act and managed under USF S and the FCRP A.. Regulations. If significant r ecr eational activity is found to While the membership of the Glacier Grotto be dependent on a karst r esour ce, it will be taken into signed below would like to believe that Sealaska account during the design and FL UP (F or est L and Use Corporation would protect the karst landscapes and cave P l a n ) p r o c e s s f o r a p r o p o s e d t i m b e r s a l e T h i s systems underlying the land selections in these bills, this memorandum can be accessed at the following website: may be an unr ealistic e xpectation given Sealaska's past http://www .dnr estr y/pdfs/fysts2003pr elimd poor for est management (e x.clear -cut logging on steep oc.pdf hillsides) on other lands it cur r ently owns. F or ests Ther efor e, it can be assumed that if the ownership overlying karst in some of the new selections ("economic of these karst lands wer e transfer r ed to Sealaska, no development ar ea") ar e oldgrowth stands that wer e not measur es ar e in place to ensur e their protection. "Section har vested in USF S timber sales because of concer ns about 2(b)(1)." of the FCRP A, F indings, Purpose, and P olicy impacting the inter connected "high vulnerability" karst states that, "The purposes of this Act ar e "to secur e, protect, bedrock below As outlined by Jim Baichtal's work and pr eser ve significant caves on F ederal lands for the above, these ar eas contain a large number of fragile cave perpetual use, enjoyment, and benefit of all people". It systems, undelineated hydrologic systems and fragile soils would be difficult to make a case that disposing of land suppor ting unique plants and animals. T ransfer of these containing significant caves (or those that may meet the ar eas to Sealaska would endanger these unique cave criteria) meets this purpose. r esour ces and karst landscapes. Ther e is also a planning and public par ticipation F ur ther clarification of karst management on section of the Act (Sec. 4. (b) (C)(1)(2) The Secr etar y shallfederal and state lands provided by James Baichtal, F or est "(1) ensur e that significant caves ar e consider ed in the Geologist, T ongass national F or est, is provided below: pr eparation or implementation of any land management "Â…The authority for management of the karst plan if the pr eparation or r evision of the plan began after lands and the associated caves on public lands comes from the enactment of this Act; and (2) foster communication, LETTER, continued from page 16 6


The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 18 cooperation, and e xchange of infor mation between "protective covenant" that was in the original ANCSA land managers, those who utilize caves, and the public." legislation from past and futur e 14(h)(1) ANCSA sites These sections r equir e consideration of cave r esour ces that would have r equir ed that the sites be managed to and assur e a public process is followed. federal standards. What ar e Sealaska's intentions? F ur ther mor e, the FCRP A Sec 4(a)(B) states Sadly we do not believe that Sealaska would protect .....including management measur es to assur e that the karst landscape, unique cave ecosystems and caves under consideration for the list [of significant cave associated biota, hydrological systems (some assocated designation] ar e protected during the period of w i t h c o m m u n i t y w a t e r s u p p l i e s ) c u l t u r a l a n d consideration." Ther efor e, I believe that if a cave is a r c h e o l o g i c a l s i t e s p a l e o n t o l o g i c a l s i t e s a n d known or is nominated under the provisions of the Act, r ecr eational oppor tunties in the same manner that these we have the r esponsibility to follow up and either r esour ces ar e cur r ently being protected under federal designate it as a significant cave or make the decision management. W e ask that the sponsoring members of that it does not meet the provisions of the law and the House and Senate consider our concer ns r egarding ther efor e not significant. Until this decision is made, this bill. W e will gladly provide mor e infor mation and known caves and nominated caves should r eceive the testimony if necessar y to help in modifying or r ewriting same protection as significant caves and we as an this bill such that it would protect the nationally and agency should not knowingly suppor t an action that inter nationally unique karst r esour ces in Southeast could jeopardize that r esour ce. Alaska. Thank you for your time. The karst lands of the T ongass National F or est and the caves and all the r esour ces within them belong Sincer ely to "all people". These karst lands ar e national tr easur es containing caves and karst featur es of inter national David Love, Glacier Grotto P r esident, s i g n i f i c a n c e F e d e r a l l a n d m a n a g e r s ( Â… a n d a l l T imothy Heaton, P aleontologist and NSS F ellow r easonable people, the Glacier Grotto would argueÂ…) Kevin Allr ed and Carlene Allr ed, Glacier Grotto and have been charged with the "perpetual" protection of NSS fellows, these r esour ces. Knowingly transfer ring the ownership Steve L ewis, Conser vation chair Glacier Grotto NSS of these caves to a private entity with no provisions for member protection in place, in our opinion, does not meet the Rachel Myron, Glacier Grotto and NSS member purpose of the FCRP A. Based on the past liberal management strategies and practices on Sealaska Refer ences lands, these r esour ces would be ir r evocably damaged and the r esour ces within them and what we may lear n 1. F ord, D. and W illiams, P 2007 K arst Hydrology and from them thr eatened or lostÂ…" Geomorphology John W iley and Sones Ltd. 562 pp. Ideally Glacier Grotto membership believes 2. Br yant, M.D.; D.N. Swanston; R.C. W issmar; and B. that ther e should be no transfer of karst lands without E. W right. 1998. Coho Salmon P opulations in the K arst r estrictions on development activities above and L andscape of Nor ther n P rince of W ales Island, around these karst ar eas and with provisions allowing Southeast Alaska. T ransactions of the American u n l i m i t e d a c c e s s f o r a d d i t i o n a l e x p l o r a t i o n a n d F isheries Society 127:425-433, 1998 mapping, scientific study and complete protection as if these ar eas wer e administer ed public lands protected by 3. Griffiths, P .; Aley T .; W or thington, S.; Jones, W the F ederal Cave Resour ces P rotection Act W e simply 2 0 0 2 K a r s t M a n a g e m e n t S t a n d a r d s a n d do not believe that the selected "economic development Implementation Review F inal Repor t of the K arst lands" will be managed in any other way than clear cut Review P anel, P r epar ed for USDA F or est Ser vice, logging, no matter what Sealaska states is their new land T o n g a s s N a t i o n a l F o r e s t S u b m i t t e d t o M W H management strategy As to management of the 200+ (Montgomer y W atson Harza) under the ter ms of USDA C u l t u r a l / S a c re d / H i s t o r i c S i t e s s e l e c t e d S e a l a s k a Contract 53-0116-2-55901, 27 pp. and appendices. cur r ently does not have an ar cheologist on staff or a workable management plan for these sites that would 4 B a i c h t a l J F 1 9 9 7 A p p l i c a t i o n o f a K a r s t protect the sites even for their own Native membership. M a n a g e m e n t S t r a t e g y : T w o C a s e s S t u d i e s f r o m Also SB 3651, Section 18 (A -C) r emoves the theT ongass National F or est, Southeaster n Alaska; The LETTER, continued from page 17 (continues on ne xt page) 6


NIZINA GL ACIER P ASSAGE By Jean Kr ejca The last day of our trip in the N i z i n a V a l l e y allowed us about a h a l f d a y o f e xploration befor e all the plane loads of gear and people could be shuttled out. I r elished the o p p o r t u n i t y t o e xplor e the banks of the lake for med by the Nizina glacier The muddy waters o f t h e l a k e i t s e l f w e r e n o t h i n g r emarkable, but the d e e p b l u e f a d i n g t o w h i t e i c e b u r g for mations in the lake ar e etched in my memor y Those idle battleships floated around the lake, framing the mountainsides on e i t h e r s i d e w i t h t h e i r t e m p o r a r y y e t p o w e r f u l perspective. On the way up to the glacier I had a close encounter with a black bear about 40 feet up the bank in the brush. Not too long after that was the unique oppor tunity (par ticularly for a T e xan) to walk across the glacier itself F inding a couple decent places to scramble u p w i t h s m a l l r o c k s e m b e d d e d i n t h e i c e f o r f o o t i n g I m a d e my way over the bulk of the Nizina. I t w a s e a s y travelling on the top, only a few c r e v a s s e s l a r g e v a l l e y s a n d sinking str eams to a v o i d o r h o p a c r o s s O n e o f t h e s e l e d t o a s m a l l i c e c a v e placed nearly in the middle of the glacier (but closer t o t h e s i d e I ascended on the west). It was appro ximately 15 meters long, on average 11.5 meters in diameter passage. The passage ended in an ice and water sump. The photo is taken using a timer with the camera placed on a pack. F or futur e trips I e xpect it would not be e xceptionally difficult to find a way across the Nizina. I found my way quickly to nearly the middle of it, and saw many oppor tunities for finishing the crossing. The Alaskan Caver V olume 29 No 1 page 19 challenges of Implementation. In: P roceedings of the systems or water impor tant to humans, biota or cave 1997 K arst and Cave Management Symposium 13th d e v e l o p m e n t r e c r e a t i o n a l v a l u e e d u c a t i o n a l o r National Cave Management Symposium Bellingham, s c i e n t i f i c v a l u e s o r a re l o c a t e d w i t h i n s p e c i a l W ashington and Chilliwack and V ancouver Island, BC, management ar eas. See F ederal Register [16 U.S.C. C a n a d a O c t o b e r 7 1 0 1 9 9 7 B e l l i n g h a m 4301-4309] W ashington. Edited by Rober t R. Stitt, pp. 4-11. 6. Baichtal, James F ., F or est Geologist, T ongass 5."Significant" caves ar e defined by the FCRP A as National F or est, Memo to Scott F itzwilliams, RLMH possessing one or mor e of the following: unique biota, Staff Officer dated Mar ch 13, 2003 Review of the cultural, historical or ar cheological r esour ces, geologic, P roposed SealaskaT ongass National F or est L and mineralogic or paleontologic r esour ces, hydrologic Exchange Concer ning K arst and Cave Resour ces. LETTER, continued from page 18


The Alaskan Caver 2525 F our th A ve. Ketchikan, AK 99901 Address Service Requested

Contents: Nizina Cave
Hunt and Alder Thrash / Steve Lewis --
Map of Latticework Chamber --
Map of Three Sheep No Skunk Cave --
Map of Cracked Up Cave --
Mendenhall Glacier Caves Hike / Jansen Cardy --
Cataract Cave / Gwen Herrewig --
Grotto Website --
President's Corner --
Letter --
Nizina Glacier Passage / Jean Krejca.


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