For more background on Alaskan caves please see my previous article here: https://trybe.one/caves-of-s-e-alaska/
But for now I’d like to share more cave information with you Tryberz. And there’s lots of it, so I’ll do an in depth series on the subject over the next few weeks.
I believe everyone knows that Alaska is big country. Getting around in all the mess of temperate rainforest and mountainous island terrain is your first challenge. The area I’m focusing on today requires a 20 mile ski trek after you drive to the end of a rough 30 mile dirt road, which begins way out there after they ran out of pavement and civilization. Access is only possible during winter freeze up when the water flow is locked up in ice. So temperature generally hovers around minus 20F. Luckily the cave temperature is the average annual temp, a relative toasty 36F.
No directed access show caves here, with a paved trail and handrails. Far from it. To get to that 20 foot high opening 400 feet up a vertical cliff you climb up to it using any means necessary. Bolts, pitons, cams and wedges all play a part. Of course it’s always easier to start at the top and use rope to descend into the abyss, but sometimes the only available entrance is above your head.
In other areas the challenge is traversing the broken terrain and thick growth of the rain forest to find the caves that have probably never before been seen by human eyes. Devil’s club, speed bark, sudden pits and wind fall are all doing their best to end your career.
My next article will cover the ups and downs of getting in, and pulling out.