January 9. December 12. In summer, beware of soft spots. Keystone Canyon is a gorgeous 3-mile long canyon with enormous waterfalls and cliffsides near Valdez, Alaska. The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. ). Before the bridge over Castner Creek, look for a small, unimproved road on the left. Be advised that Castner Creek has just recently frozen over, so be careful crossing Castner Creek as there may be open water lurking beneath the snow. Sunny, snowy and 30 below temperatures make for fun camping and skiing! Most of the tongue of the Castner is debris-covered, very bumpy, and partially vegetated. The temperature dropped as we drove north, eventually hitting -24 °F as we climbed into the Eastern Alaska Range. The guidebook Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground by Stan Justice is available in Fairbanks at Beaver Sports. The Sky Is Visible Through A Hole In The Ceiling Of This Castner Glacier Ice Cave In The Alaska Range; Alaska, United States Of America. Description for a few backcountry hikes possible near the Worthington Glacier starting at 2-miles and up. I was going to take them to the Gulkana glacier, since I am familiar with that one, but decided to try to get to the ice cave at the Castner glacier, mentioned to me by Dea, since it was on the way south.She skiied it with a few others about a month ago. Historical Weather. That’s where the “type II” fun started. This trail is not maintained and not marked. The cave is on the left side of the glacial lobe. In summer you can cross the moraine in a semi-crevasse free zone a few hundred feet to the northeast of the hut. Snowmachine Safety Class. Snow cover may be thin from October through November, which might make this a hike, an icy hike, or a snowshoe, but usually by December there is enough snow that skis or snowshoes are preferred. Box 31312, Fort Greely, AK 99731All text and photos on this site are copyrighted. Ice caves are dangerous. This guide is in its infancy, but will soon expand into many more territories. Photos from the Castner Glacier, Creek, and surrounding mountains. The moraine is getting nasty, and it’s so close to the valley wall that it’s a terrible terrain trap for avalanches. There is already ample snow along Castner Creek, so skis or snowshoes are recommended. It’s not your stereotypical blue glacier calving into a big lake or the ocean, but rather a gritty valley glacier covered in rock, mud, and—in the winter—snow. There used to be a system on the southern margin, but in recent years has been collapsing and receding quite fast there. Castner Glacier Cave Exploring. It’s one of the few glaciers I’ve had to bushwack on for a short stretch. The glacier is fairly crevassed and avalanche or rockslide risk on the slopes is high (even small slopes like the moraine). Be advised that Castner Creek has just recently frozen over, so be careful crossing Castner Creek as there may be open water lurking beneath the snow. The road ends after 1/2 mile, turning into an unimproved foot path heading up the side of Castner Creek. Trails for all walkers and hikers. I haven’t done it myself but after realizing how easy the trail is and seeing photos of the ice cave during winter, I can’t wait to go back. On the edge of the Castner Glacier in the Deltas looking down the Castner Valley into the Eastern Alaska Range. ). I hiked this in the winter so I couldn’t comment on summer hiking conditions but hiking on top of the hard ice from the creek made things so much easier! My first mountaineering trip up the Castner valley was in 2012, and I’ve walked/skied up it nearly every year since. In summer, you can access from either side of the creek. The view is even nicer when you hit the junction. Also, beware of thin ice on the right side of the floor deep inside the ice cave. It might be tricky finding a way down on to the ice in summer. If continuing on the glacier, you will need to cross the moraine to the highest southern moraine. I wish to expand these guides and tutorials and keep them freely available, however, creating them is time-consuming and web-hosting isn’t free. Michael Warlick and his Elizabeth Warlick pose in crampons while sitting in the snow outside an ice cave at the toe of the Castner Glacier. There is no official or maintained trail. The winter trail usually follows the south side of Castner Creek. This unimproved road is located at mile 217.3 on the north side of Castner Creek. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. However, 0° F is near average during the coldest months (December & January) and it’s actually a comfortable temperature to recreate in once your blood gets flowing, so clients should prepare to face cold temperatures and dress appropriately. Exploring Castner Glacier, Alaska We celebrated the start of the New Year by hiking to Castner Glacier. At the end of the season, when the first major snow falls the rough surface becomes once again smooth. https://dfjare.blogspot.com/2014/04/castner-glacier-ice-cave-adventures.html The easier south side follows a short ATV trail before dropping onto the riverbed. December 5. Spend a minute looking for the best route from above. Beware that later in the day the stream may be much more full. Outdoor Recreation. As you stand there in the chill of the cave and stare into the crystal-clear ice, it is impossible to grasp it all! Know your skill level and your limits before attempting any backcountry travel! All tours are private and involve no technical rock or ice climbing. On the glacier whiteouts are common. The parking spot is just a wide dirt shoulder on the side of the highway. Castner glacier is rapidly receding and as it melts has created many stunning and several exceptional ice caves. 721k members in the MostBeautiful community. Castner Glacier. It’s a little over 1 mile to the glacier. I have decided to call this open ice face the “Cathedral of 1000 Swords” Posing next to a frozen waterfall at the eastern Ice cave of Castner Glacier. Exercise extreme caution if entering. Please do not reproduce without permission. ... winter 2018/2019; explore alaska. New field mapping of surficial deposits near the Castner Glacier, Alaska has identified three distinct moraine complexes beyond the current glacier margin, denoting at least three separate intervals of glacial advance or stillstand. However, there are no signs and no maintained trail leading to the glacier. It is hard to believe that such places exist on Earth. They were formed by meltwater under the glacier and can have water flowing even in winter. Hiking or snowshoeing to Castner Glacier is not difficult for most people, and if you have very good directions and the weather is nice you may not need a guide to get there, but in bad weather or extreme cold the hike can be dangerous and difficult, and most people without glacier travel experience are hesitant or unprepared to go any farther than the glacier’s terminus or explore very far inside the ice cave at the front, and some people have fallen through the ice of this cave into waist-deep water! Travel upon the glacier is … Sunday I visited a place I've been meaning to visit since Decemberish - Castner Glacier Cave, about 40 miles south of Delta Junction on the Richardson Highway. Feb 28, 2020 - It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. Clients who want to press farther into the wilderness or spend more time exploring, photographing, or otherwise enjoying their time outdoors should consider a full-day tour, though half-day tours are designed to offer impressive sights and a fun experience on routes where offered. Here you can find tons of crystal clear ice, artistic shapes made by nature through millions of years, and soft sunbeams that barely pierce frozen walls… Looking at this miracle, only one thing may come to mind: it truly is a palace for a Snow Q November 10, 2020 Update: Now that winter has arrived, the ice cave at the front of Castner Glacier is accessible again, and should remain accessible throughout winter. October 24, 2020 Update: The ice cave at the front of Castner Glacier is currently accessible and should remain accessible throughout winter. 2417 Feet Elevation Gain . Each represents at least a winter of ice. From Delta, drive about 50 miles south along the Richardson. The off-trail route climbs Castner to the Silvertip Icefield and, despite being almost entirely on the glacier, does not require crampons, ice axes, or ropes. All Rights Reserved - Copyright Lee Petersen 2020, Purchasing prints and wall art also helps, Intro To Darktable 1 – My Lightable Workflow, Arctic sweet coltsfoot – Petasites frigidus, Review: Gregory Alpinisto Pack (35 and 50), Hiking, Backpacking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Mountaineering, 2 miles round-trip (glacier toe) to as far as you want, Easy walk or snowshoe up to toe of glacier, Mile 217.3 Richardson highway (Castner Creek). . It’s nearly impossible to tell the direction in those conditions. fall colors & northern lights photography workshop. At Castner Creek we pulled off the highway into the small lot and bundled up. 4 to 8+ hours . For complete tour policies and more tour information, see the Black Rapids Tours FAQ. In winter these dangers are not as prevalent but still exist. It was a beautiful day walking through a perfect winter wonderland ️ I have decided to call this open ice face the “Cathedral of 1000 Swords” Posing next to a frozen waterfall at the eastern Ice cave of Castner Glacier. I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the backcountry of Alaska to find gorgeous sights that few people ever see. Remember this spot by landmark or mark it on a GPS for the return trip. The first 6-7 miles of the glacier are debris-covered and partially vegetated. The caves often reach far back and are sculpted in inconceivable ways. While returning from the first ascent of Black Cap in the spring of 1961, AAC member Bucky Wilson and others noticed the fantastic hut site, a green alpine meadow spared by two branches of the Castner Glacier. Hiking Castner Glacier During Winter. (photo courtesy Todd Baham) For those interested in some serious exercise on a full-day tour, it’s always fun to spend the rest of the day searching for curious glacial features and other ice caves in the moraine…Castner Glacier is always full of hidden surprises! Please see the Castner Glacier Summer tour page if you are interested in visiting Castner Glacier May through September — this page is for winter tours. Before running into the Alaska Range to test out new ski bindings and skins, Greg, who is quite a curler, invited me on Thursday night to run to a ski area that is only open on weekends, skin up, ski down, and run back to Fairbanks before dark (7:00 PM! Last winter and already this winter, many people did not successfully reach the ice cave at the front of Castner Glacier on their own for a variety of reasons, so please read through the info in this Facebook post before trying to reach the cave on your own, especially if you are not from Alaska or have not been to Castner Glacier before. Mostly in the Fairbanks and interior region of Alaska, but always expanding to new areas! We were in the midst of a warm spell so I decided to go visit an easily accessible ice cave in the Alaska Range with my son. In the last few years, there has been a great Röthlisberger channel (R-channel – semi-circular channel at the glacier base) almost in the middle of the toe. Popularized by the guidebook Outside in the Interior and many recent social media posts of the ice caves, the route to the Castner Glacier has become a well-traveled trail in winter. A 50% cancellation fee is charged when reservations are canceled at least three days in advance. Purchasing prints and wall art also helps. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! A 1/2 mile hike leads you to the Castner Glacier. No refunds are given for cancellations made less than three days in advance. This was taken at the end of the day when I could really see the shadows from those ripples. Aug 7, 2020 - How to hike Castner Glacier Ice Cave Trail near Paxson, Alaska. Looking up at the Castner glacier hidden by snow. This half-mile trail will take you to one of the coolest ice caves in Alaska. Castner Glacier ice caves January 25, 2020 by Paxson Woelber « Trip Reports on Winterbear.com Castner Glacier Ice Caves Three Jan-Feb 2020 trips to the Castner Glacier ice caves January 25, January 30, and February 4, 2020 The word “otherworldly” gets used a lot when describing outdoor places, and it’s … This east-west running glacier splits at about mile-7 from the road into a north (main branch or White Princess Branch) and south (M’ladies branch). You can easily find yourself knee-deep in mud that looked like solid ground. November 10, 2020 Update: Now that winter has arrived, the ice cave at the front of Castner Glacier is accessible again, and should remain accessible throughout winter. Hiking and travel guide to Alaska. Other hazards include frequent rockfall from the moraine above or total cave collapse. I have at least 30 guides in draft now, and am hoping to add 50 by the end of 2020! Thank you! Tours may be canceled due to extreme cold (below about -15 °F), in which case your tour will be rescheduled or fully refunded. The shrinking Castner is literally collapsing in on itself; much of the central glacier has become a deep, meltwater-filled trench. From here, you will mainly follow the riverbed with some occasional bushwacking in the willows, following the creek up to the toe. Behind me, the cave extends far back. Follow the north side of the riverbed to the toe. Maps, photos, and information. Because of this, I remind people always to follow Leave No Trace principles when in the backcountry and pack out whatever you bring in. Additionally, events called jökulhlaups can occur where glacier locked lakes drain catastrophically and completely fill these tunnels with no warning from below. The slope leading up to the hut poses avalanche risk as well. Full FTC Disclosure. High today: 63 Low today: 35 My goal of this day was to get Aviva and Jud to a glacier, special request by Jud. Steven Miley Photography | email@example.com | (907) 888-4850 | P.O. We hiked to Castner Glacier Ice Cave on March 14, 2020. In the short summer, water scours the glacier surface creating a ripple-like surface on the ice going down-glacier. 7.8 Miles winter/summer. All you do is follow Castner Creek for about 1.1 miles until you come to the glacier caves at the front of Castner Glacier. Be familiar with navigation and have a compass, map, and/or GPS handy. About a mile up the northern branch is the Thayer Hut, an alpine hut installed and maintained by the Alaska Alpine Club. Add $30 per person for professional adventure portraits. Castner Glacier is located in Delta Junction, about 140 miles from Fairbanks which is about a 2.5 hour drive. Behind me, the cave extends far back. You must be a member of the Alaska Alpine Club to use the hut. In winter you will want to be roped up and be knowledgable in crevasses rescue as there are numerous crevasses in this area. Frequent snows and wind events last winter made it very difficult to hike to the cave without snowshoes or skis; don’t try the hike without them unless you are very fit and want to suffer, and don’t fall in Castner Creek! Half-day tours are limited to approximately 6 hours maximum, while full-day tours don’t have any strict time limitations. (No ice climbing gear required. This water is often very turbulent, fast, and very powerful. Popular Charitable Galleries Abstract Landscapes Wildlife Glaciers Aurora Forest Water, All material Copyright Lee Petersen 2010-2020 For usage please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org 603-748-1057, As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Snowshoes, traction devices, headlamps & helmets provided as necessary at no extra cost. Pushing our way out of the drainage to stay dry, we followed a gentle moraine to the top of the northern terminus of the Castner. Castner Glacier is a fairly popular starting point for all sorts of backcountry adventures, but a small road on the north side of the creek gives access to some very nice, close in country as well. Inevitably my obsessive tendencies honed my mountaineering focus to the Castner Creek, which flows from the Castner Glacier. Blue: winter “trail” – Red: route from 2015 trip to Thayer Hut – map disclaimer. (Full-size digital files delivered via web download after your hike. It highlights many of the climbable peaks accessible by the Castner Glacier. Offset offers authentic … Alternately, a road on the north side of the bridge leads to a few good roadside camping locations and another spot to start the hike (refer to map). We left home at around 8 am under cloudy skies with a temperature of 20 F. The national weather forecast for the area around Castner glacier was calling for sunny skies but I had my doubts. If you find this content helpful or enjoyable, please consider donating a small amount. Bears are frequently in the area. The hike to Castner Glacier is easy and straightforward. The easiest way up to either ice tongue is to walk, ski, or snowshoe on the southernmost medial moraine. Winter 2008 A late glacial and holocene chronology of the Castner Glacier, Delta River Valley, Alaska Michael W. Howley University of New Hampshire, Durham Follow this and additional works at:https://scholars.unh.edu/thesis Trip location: Castner Glacier ... I’d been on the glacier a few times during the winter and it was fun to see it during the fall. Here is a description of the activities. Snowmachine Safety Class. (Please inquire.). It’s possible to see the Castner Glacier ice cave during the wintertime. If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi. Castner Glacier Ice Cave. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! Each represents at least a winter of ice. Tutorials on general and auorora photography. Map and descriptions for numerous trails near the entrance and Visitor Center to Denali National Park. How to shoot the northern lights, how to edit photos in post-processing with a focus on FOSS software programs. Full payment is required to reserve a tour. N 63° 27.156’ W 145° 32.181’ – 4800 ft (1463 m). Alaska wildflower guide with many photos and galleries of photos with identifying information, nomenclature and taxonomy, uses, and links to more references. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! My focus in photography is mainly landscape and wildlife. Also up the White Princess Branch is a stunning view of Silvertip. Be advised there is no “trail” to the ice cave, only a route with no signs that may or may not have a track in the snow for you to follow depending on the last time other people ventured to the cave and recent weather conditions. ), Route Length (half-day): 1.25+ mile (one-way), negligible elevation gainDifficulty Rating: Easy to Moderate, Route Length (full-day): up to 3 miles (one-way), 500 feet elevation gain Difficulty Rating: Moderate to Difficult, Private Half-day Tours (4-6 hours)1 Person $3002 People $350 ($175pp)3 People $450 ($150pp)Each additional person $75 (up to 6 max)Private Full-day Tours (8-12 hours)1 Person $4002 People $450 ($225pp)3 People $575 ($192pp)Each extra person $100 (up to 6 max), Alaska Resident & Military Discount: Parties with at least one Alaska resident or active duty military personnel receive a 10% discount. There are numerous hiking trails in the area. )Receive a discount when you also book an Aurora Borealis Photography Tour. Join me! 2/10/2020 0 Comments It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. In winter and spring, there is often a packed snowshoe trail on the south side of the creek that is easy to follow to the ice caves and glacier toe. The Thayer Hut sits on a shelf above the glacier on the north side of the Silver Tip branch where it joins the main trunk of the glacier. It’s at the toe that you can frequently find ice caves. If there isn’t a visible trail, stay on the south side of the creek until you reach the terminus. This page is for summer hiking tours of Castner Glacier (available May through September); if you are interested in visiting Castner Glacier between October and April, see the Castner Glacier Winter tour page. There is parking on either side of the bridge at Castner Creek on the Richardson Highway (mile 217.3). There are large icefalls to see up the White Princess Branch. In heavy or blowing snow, the cave may be incredibly difficult to find. One or two trips per season was all I could fit into my spring semester without failing classes. December 5. I’d read that the “trail” to Castner Glacier can be dodgy in the winter. There are numerous large hanging glaciers and big peaks. The Castner Glacier was the location. You’ll traverse the more gentle talus slope above the red and tan cliffs to the point. The scenery to the south is fairly impressive. Here, in the interior, we just ended the fourth longest cold snap in history where we had 35 days straight of temperature below … Thank you for your support! Children are welcome on tours but there is no youth discount; see age recommendations in difficulty ratings below. The Castner Glacier is losing ice mass rapidly, literally collapsing in on itself, and much of the central glacier has become a deep trench with water flowing between icy, muddy banks. Know how to stay safe, avoid encounters, and properly protect yourself in the event of an encounter. The nearest weather station for both precipitation and temperature measurements is PAXSON which is approximately 27 miles away and has an elevation of 2,700 feet (587 feet lower than Castner Glacier). I may earn commissions if you shop through the affiliate links on this page. Maximum group size 6; special arrangements must be made for larger groups up to 10. The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. All the pics were taken with my phone so I'll apologize now for any pixelated images. This sub is about finding beauty in the the world around us, from the simple and ordinary to the … November 28. Route Description: Castner Glacier is the simplest glacier to reach coming from Fairbanks, and for the past several years it’s been the easiest place to find an ice cave as well. We walked to the bowl in the Center of the pictures. Refer to Stan Justice’s Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground for more details. These links help support this website and keeps the content free. This is actually from November 2019, Thanksgiving weekend. The Castner Glacier route can be used to access the peaks Silvertip, Triangle, Rum Doodle, Mary’s Rock, White Princess, Black Cap, and many others. The moraine is straightforward to find as it is the highest point on the glacier and is a relatively smooth ridge all the way to the junction. There is a sizeable canyon where the moraine meets the ice surface. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! Nearing the glacier, we saw some overflow on the surface.
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