This unimproved road is located at mile 217.3 on the north side of Castner Creek. 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. Please do not reproduce without permission. Full FTC Disclosure. )Receive a discount when you also book an Aurora Borealis Photography Tour. A 1/2 mile hike leads you to the Castner Glacier. Mostly in the Fairbanks and interior region of Alaska, but always expanding to new areas! One or two trips per season was all I could fit into my spring semester without failing classes. In winter these dangers are not as prevalent but still exist. Castner Glacier Cave Exploring. This is actually from November 2019, Thanksgiving weekend. At Castner Creek we pulled off the highway into the small lot and bundled up. Castner Glacier is located in Delta Junction, about 140 miles from Fairbanks which is about a 2.5 hour drive. Popular Charitable Galleries Abstract Landscapes Wildlife Glaciers Aurora Forest Water, All material Copyright Lee Petersen 2010-2020 For usage please contact me at [email protected] 603-748-1057, As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It is hard to believe that such places exist on Earth. 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 … Hiking Castner Glacier During Winter. Nearing the glacier, we saw some overflow on the surface. Thank you! Aug 7, 2020 - How to hike Castner Glacier Ice Cave Trail near Paxson, Alaska. 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. 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. 4 to 8+ hours . 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. 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. 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! You can easily find yourself knee-deep in mud that looked like solid ground. 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. This was taken at the end of the day when I could really see the shadows from those ripples. 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. 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. Purchasing prints and wall art also helps. Inevitably my obsessive tendencies honed my mountaineering focus to the Castner Creek, which flows from the Castner Glacier. Because of this, I remind people always to follow Leave No Trace principles when in the backcountry and pack out whatever you bring in. There is parking on either side of the bridge at Castner Creek on the Richardson Highway (mile 217.3). The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. 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. 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. Children are welcome on tours but there is no youth discount; see age recommendations in difficulty ratings below. Feb 28, 2020 - It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! 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. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! 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). Castner glacier is rapidly receding and as it melts has created many stunning and several exceptional ice caves. I’d read that the “trail” to Castner Glacier can be dodgy in the winter. From here, you will mainly follow the riverbed with some occasional bushwacking in the willows, following the creek up to the toe. 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. 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! 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. If continuing on the glacier, you will need to cross the moraine to the highest southern moraine. There are numerous large hanging glaciers and big peaks. Here is a description of the activities. This sub is about finding beauty in the the world around us, from the simple and ordinary to the … 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. The temperature dropped as we drove north, eventually hitting -24 °F as we climbed into the Eastern Alaska Range. In the short summer, water scours the glacier surface creating a ripple-like surface on the ice going down-glacier. Bears are frequently in the area. Hiking and travel guide to Alaska. On the edge of the Castner Glacier in the Deltas looking down the Castner Valley into the Eastern Alaska Range. Box 31312, Fort Greely, AK 99731All text and photos on this site are copyrighted. Snowshoes, traction devices, headlamps & helmets provided as necessary at no extra cost. 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. Here, in the interior, we just ended the fourth longest cold snap in history where we had 35 days straight of temperature below … There is no official or maintained trail. The hike to Castner Glacier is easy and straightforward. If you find this content helpful or enjoyable, please consider donating a small amount. In summer, beware of soft spots. 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. Additionally, events called jökulhlaups can occur where glacier locked lakes drain catastrophically and completely fill these tunnels with no warning from below. The caves often reach far back and are sculpted in inconceivable ways. 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. Looking up at the Castner glacier hidden by snow. fall colors & northern lights photography workshop. November 28. The scenery to the south is fairly impressive. 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. 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. The shrinking Castner is literally collapsing in on itself; much of the central glacier has become a deep, meltwater-filled trench. We walked to the bowl in the Center of the pictures. Maximum group size 6; special arrangements must be made for larger groups up to 10. Behind me, the cave extends far back. 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! Trails for all walkers and hikers. 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. It was a beautiful day walking through a perfect winter wonderland ️ Historical Weather. N 63° 27.156’ W 145° 32.181’ – 4800 ft (1463 m). 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. Join me! It’s nearly impossible to tell the direction in those conditions. The Castner Glacier was the location. There are large icefalls to see up the White Princess Branch. 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. It’s at the toe that you can frequently find ice caves. About a mile up the northern branch is the Thayer Hut, an alpine hut installed and maintained by the Alaska Alpine Club. If there isn’t a visible trail, stay on the south side of the creek until you reach the terminus. For complete tour policies and more tour information, see the Black Rapids Tours FAQ. Before the bridge over Castner Creek, look for a small, unimproved road on the left. It might be tricky finding a way down on to the ice in summer. The glacier is fairly crevassed and avalanche or rockslide risk on the slopes is high (even small slopes like the moraine). 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. https://dfjare.blogspot.com/2014/04/castner-glacier-ice-cave-adventures.html Beware that later in the day the stream may be much more full. No refunds are given for cancellations made less than three days in advance. We hiked to Castner Glacier Ice Cave on March 14, 2020. The guidebook Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground by Stan Justice is available in Fairbanks at Beaver Sports. A 50% cancellation fee is charged when reservations are canceled at least three days in advance. My focus in photography is mainly landscape and wildlife. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. It’s one of the few glaciers I’ve had to bushwack on for a short stretch. Most of the tongue of the Castner is debris-covered, very bumpy, and partially vegetated. If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi. Outdoor Recreation. The road ends after 1/2 mile, turning into an unimproved foot path heading up the side of Castner Creek. This water is often very turbulent, fast, and very powerful. Each represents at least a winter of ice. December 12. Be familiar with navigation and have a compass, map, and/or GPS handy. 721k members in the MostBeautiful community. Castner Glacier. Tours may be canceled due to extreme cold (below about -15 °F), in which case your tour will be rescheduled or fully refunded. 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. Thank you for your support! Snowmachine Safety Class.
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