Because of this, I remind people always to follow Leave No Trace principles when in the backcountry and pack out whatever you bring in. 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. They were formed by meltwater under the glacier and can have water flowing even in winter. 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). 2417 Feet Elevation Gain . 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. Aug 7, 2020 - How to hike Castner Glacier Ice Cave Trail near Paxson, Alaska. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! 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. At the end of the season, when the first major snow falls the rough surface becomes once again smooth. In winter these dangers are not as prevalent but still exist. (Please inquire.). Refer to Stan Justice’s Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground for more details. I have at least 30 guides in draft now, and am hoping to add 50 by the end of 2020! Here, in the interior, we just ended the fourth longest cold snap in history where we had 35 days straight of temperature below … 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. This unimproved road is located at mile 217.3 on the north side of Castner Creek. The shrinking Castner is literally collapsing in on itself; much of the central glacier has become a deep, meltwater-filled trench. I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the backcountry of Alaska to find gorgeous sights that few people ever see. 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. January 9. 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. Photos from the Castner Glacier, Creek, and surrounding mountains. Sunny, snowy and 30 below temperatures make for fun camping and skiing! This guide is in its infancy, but will soon expand into many more territories. The Castner Glacier was the location. 4 to 8+ hours . Trails for all walkers and hikers. 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). There is a sizeable canyon where the moraine meets the ice surface. Popular Charitable Galleries Abstract Landscapes Wildlife Glaciers Aurora Forest Water, All material Copyright Lee Petersen 2010-2020 For usage please contact me at 603-748-1057, As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Spend a minute looking for the best route from above. 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. Also, beware of thin ice on the right side of the floor deep inside the ice cave. This sub is about finding beauty in the the world around us, from the simple and ordinary to the … Keystone Canyon is a gorgeous 3-mile long canyon with enormous waterfalls and cliffsides near Valdez, Alaska. 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. Behind me, the cave extends far back. There is already ample snow along Castner Creek, so skis or snowshoes are recommended. There are numerous hiking trails in the area. If continuing on the glacier, you will need to cross the moraine to the highest southern moraine. Each represents at least a winter of ice. 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. (photo courtesy Todd Baham) 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. December 12. Snowmachine Safety Class. This is actually from November 2019, Thanksgiving weekend. The temperature dropped as we drove north, eventually hitting -24 °F as we climbed into the Eastern Alaska Range. Thank you! The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. Offset offers authentic … This trail is not maintained and not marked. 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. 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! October 24, 2020 Update: The ice cave at the front of Castner Glacier is currently accessible and should remain accessible throughout winter. Snowshoes, traction devices, headlamps & helmets provided as necessary at no extra cost. If you find this content helpful or enjoyable, please consider donating a small amount. A 1/2 mile hike leads you to the Castner Glacier. 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. This half-mile trail will take you to one of the coolest ice caves in Alaska. You can easily find yourself knee-deep in mud that looked like solid ground. In summer, beware of soft spots. Be familiar with navigation and have a compass, map, and/or GPS handy. Tutorials on general and auorora photography. One or two trips per season was all I could fit into my spring semester without failing classes. Bears are frequently in the area. November 28. Maximum group size 6; special arrangements must be made for larger groups up to 10. My first mountaineering trip up the Castner valley was in 2012, and I’ve walked/skied up it nearly every year since. In the short summer, water scours the glacier surface creating a ripple-like surface on the ice going down-glacier. The moraine is getting nasty, and it’s so close to the valley wall that it’s a terrible terrain trap for avalanches. Feb 28, 2020 - It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. Here is a description of the activities. Most of the tongue of the Castner is debris-covered, very bumpy, and partially vegetated. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! Follow the north side of the riverbed to the toe. 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. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! (No ice climbing gear required. The first 6-7 miles of the glacier are debris-covered and partially vegetated. The road ends after 1/2 mile, turning into an unimproved foot path heading up the side of Castner Creek. Join me! On the edge of the Castner Glacier in the Deltas looking down the Castner Valley into the Eastern Alaska Range. You must be a member of the Alaska Alpine Club to use the hut. 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. ), 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. The hike to Castner Glacier is easy and straightforward. Castner Glacier is located in Delta Junction, about 140 miles from Fairbanks which is about a 2.5 hour drive. 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 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 is no official or maintained trail. 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: In winter you will want to be roped up and be knowledgable in crevasses rescue as there are numerous crevasses in this area. I may earn commissions if you shop through the affiliate links on this page. From Delta, drive about 50 miles south along the Richardson. Hiking and travel guide to Alaska. Castner Glacier Ice Cave. Exploring Castner Glacier, Alaska We celebrated the start of the New Year by hiking to Castner Glacier. 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. All the pics were taken with my phone so I'll apologize now for any pixelated images. You’ll traverse the more gentle talus slope above the red and tan cliffs to the point. Remember this spot by landmark or mark it on a GPS for the return trip. 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. The easiest way up to either ice tongue is to walk, ski, or snowshoe on the southernmost medial moraine. There is parking on either side of the bridge at Castner Creek on the Richardson Highway (mile 217.3). We walked to the bowl in the Center of the pictures. The glacier is fairly crevassed and avalanche or rockslide risk on the slopes is high (even small slopes like the moraine). Nearing the glacier, we saw some overflow on the surface. Also up the White Princess Branch is a stunning view of Silvertip. 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. Alaska wildflower guide with many photos and galleries of photos with identifying information, nomenclature and taxonomy, uses, and links to more references. Steven Miley Photography | | (907) 888-4850 | P.O. 2/10/2020 0 Comments It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. 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. As you stand there in the chill of the cave and stare into the crystal-clear ice, it is impossible to grasp it all! From here, you will mainly follow the riverbed with some occasional bushwacking in the willows, following the creek up to the toe. December 5. There are large icefalls to see up the White Princess Branch. 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! It’s possible to see the Castner Glacier ice cave during the wintertime. There used to be a system on the southern margin, but in recent years has been collapsing and receding quite fast there. Tours may be canceled due to extreme cold (below about -15 °F), in which case your tour will be rescheduled or fully refunded.

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