That’s where the “type II” fun started. Travel upon the glacier is … In winter you will want to be roped up and be knowledgable in crevasses rescue as there are numerous crevasses in this area. The moraine is getting nasty, and it’s so close to the valley wall that it’s a terrible terrain trap for avalanches. (No ice climbing gear required. A 1/2 mile hike leads you to the Castner Glacier. 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. Refer to Stan Justice’s Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground for more details. Full FTC Disclosure. Hiking and travel guide to Alaska. It’s a little over 1 mile to the glacier. Behind me, the cave extends far back. Keystone Canyon is a gorgeous 3-mile long canyon with enormous waterfalls and cliffsides near Valdez, Alaska. 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! There are numerous large hanging glaciers and big peaks. 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). )Receive a discount when you also book an Aurora Borealis Photography Tour. 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). Mostly in the Fairbanks and interior region of Alaska, but always expanding to new areas! There is a sizeable canyon where the moraine meets the ice surface. January 9. It’s nearly impossible to tell the direction in those conditions. Follow the north side of the riverbed to the toe. Children are welcome on tours but there is no youth discount; see age recommendations in difficulty ratings below. Behind me, the cave extends far back. If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi. We hiked to Castner Glacier Ice Cave on March 14, 2020. They were formed by meltwater under the glacier and can have water flowing even in winter. 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 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. On the edge of the Castner Glacier in the Deltas looking down the Castner Valley into the Eastern Alaska Range. The shrinking Castner is literally collapsing in on itself; much of the central glacier has become a deep, meltwater-filled trench. ). 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. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. 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. High today: 63 Low today: 35 My goal of this day was to get Aviva and Jud to a glacier, special request by Jud. You can easily find yourself knee-deep in mud that looked like solid ground. I’d read that the “trail” to Castner Glacier can be dodgy in the winter. 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. (Please inquire.). Ice caves are dangerous. Snowmachine Safety Class. Inevitably my obsessive tendencies honed my mountaineering focus to the Castner Creek, which flows from the Castner Glacier. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! 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. If continuing on the glacier, you will need to cross the moraine to the highest southern moraine. Blue: winter “trail” – Red: route from 2015 trip to Thayer Hut – map disclaimer. 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! All tours are private and involve no technical rock or ice climbing. Spend a minute looking for the best route from above. Thank you! N 63° 27.156’ W 145° 32.181’ – 4800 ft (1463 m). Exercise extreme caution if entering. The cave is on the left side of the glacial lobe. 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. The parking spot is just a wide dirt shoulder on the side of the highway. Additionally, events called jökulhlaups can occur where glacier locked lakes drain catastrophically and completely fill these tunnels with no warning from 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. 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 Castner Glacier was the location. Castner Glacier Cave Exploring. It’s possible to see the Castner Glacier ice cave during the wintertime. 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 parking on either side of the bridge at Castner Creek on the Richardson Highway (mile 217.3). The caves often reach far back and are sculpted in inconceivable ways. It’s at the toe that you can frequently find ice caves. 721k members in the MostBeautiful community. Sunny, snowy and 30 below temperatures make for fun camping and skiing! My focus in photography is mainly landscape and wildlife. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! There are numerous hiking trails in the area. Alaska wildflower guide with many photos and galleries of photos with identifying information, nomenclature and taxonomy, uses, and links to more references. Know how to stay safe, avoid encounters, and properly protect yourself in the event of an encounter. 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 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. I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the backcountry of Alaska to find gorgeous sights that few people ever see. Description for a few backcountry hikes possible near the Worthington Glacier starting at 2-miles and up. 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! Hiking Castner Glacier During Winter. Castner glacier is rapidly receding and as it melts has created many stunning and several exceptional ice caves. The road ends after 1/2 mile, turning into an unimproved foot path heading up the side of Castner Creek. 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. There is no official or maintained trail. All the pics were taken with my phone so I'll apologize now for any pixelated images. Popular Charitable Galleries Abstract Landscapes Wildlife Glaciers Aurora Forest Water, All material Copyright Lee Petersen 2010-2020 For usage please contact me at email@example.com 603-748-1057, As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support! Trails for all walkers and hikers. In the short summer, water scours the glacier surface creating a ripple-like surface on the ice going down-glacier. Castner Glacier is located in Delta Junction, about 140 miles from Fairbanks which is about a 2.5 hour drive. Exploring Castner Glacier, Alaska We celebrated the start of the New Year by hiking to Castner Glacier. Each represents at least a winter of ice. The easiest way up to either ice tongue is to walk, ski, or snowshoe on the southernmost medial moraine. In summer, you can access from either side of the creek. This guide is in its infancy, but will soon expand into many more territories. Snowmachine Safety Class. 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). 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. However, there are no signs and no maintained trail leading to the glacier. My first mountaineering trip up the Castner valley was in 2012, and I’ve walked/skied up it nearly every year since. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Maps, photos, and information. The guidebook Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground by Stan Justice is available in Fairbanks at Beaver Sports. Join me! 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. Box 31312, Fort Greely, AK 99731All text and photos on this site are copyrighted. At Castner Creek we pulled off the highway into the small lot and bundled up. A 50% cancellation fee is charged when reservations are canceled at least three days in advance. Other hazards include frequent rockfall from the moraine above or total cave collapse. It is hard to believe that such places exist on Earth. December 12. The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. The glacier is fairly crevassed and avalanche or rockslide risk on the slopes is high (even small slopes like the moraine). 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! It’s one of the few glaciers I’ve had to bushwack on for a short stretch. (photo courtesy Todd Baham) Offset offers authentic … The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. 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. 2/10/2020 0 Comments It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. There is already ample snow along Castner Creek, so skis or snowshoes are recommended. The temperature dropped as we drove north, eventually hitting -24 °F as we climbed into the Eastern Alaska Range. The scenery to the south is fairly impressive. In summer, beware of soft spots. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! This water is often very turbulent, fast, and very powerful. The winter trail usually follows the south side of Castner Creek. Beware that later in the day the stream may be much more full. Maximum group size 6; special arrangements must be made for larger groups up to 10. From here, you will mainly follow the riverbed with some occasional bushwacking in the willows, following the creek up to the toe. ). For complete tour policies and more tour information, see the Black Rapids Tours FAQ. Photos from the Castner Glacier, Creek, and surrounding mountains. In summer you can cross the moraine in a semi-crevasse free zone a few hundred feet to the northeast of the hut. 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. 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. There used to be a system on the southern margin, but in recent years has been collapsing and receding quite fast there. 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. Purchasing prints and wall art also helps. Aug 7, 2020 - How to hike Castner Glacier Ice Cave Trail near Paxson, Alaska. 7.8 Miles winter/summer. Feb 28, 2020 - It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. 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. 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. ... winter 2018/2019; explore alaska. How to shoot the northern lights, how to edit photos in post-processing with a focus on FOSS software programs. Also, beware of thin ice on the right side of the floor deep inside the ice cave. These links help support this website and keeps the content free. There are large icefalls to see up the White Princess Branch. I may earn commissions if you shop through the affiliate links on this page. Here is a description of the activities. Historical Weather. 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.