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). The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. 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: October 24, 2020 Update: The ice cave at the front of Castner Glacier is currently accessible and should remain accessible throughout winter. Children are welcome on tours but there is no youth discount; see age recommendations in difficulty ratings below. 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. As you stand there in the chill of the cave and stare into the crystal-clear ice, it is impossible to grasp it all! These links help support this website and keeps the content free. Half-day tours are limited to approximately 6 hours maximum, while full-day tours don’t have any strict time limitations. This sub is about finding beauty in the the world around us, from the simple and ordinary to the … I may earn commissions if you shop through the affiliate links on this page. The moraine is getting nasty, and it’s so close to the valley wall that it’s a terrible terrain trap for avalanches. It’s a little over 1 mile to the glacier. There are large icefalls to see up the White Princess Branch. Join me! The view is even nicer when you hit the junction. There is no official or maintained trail. The first 6-7 miles of the glacier are debris-covered and partially vegetated. 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. Beware that later in the day the stream may be much more full. Map and descriptions for numerous trails near the entrance and Visitor Center to Denali National Park. There are numerous large hanging glaciers and big peaks. This trail is not maintained and not marked. My first mountaineering trip up the Castner valley was in 2012, and I’ve walked/skied up it nearly every year since. Know how to stay safe, avoid encounters, and properly protect yourself in the event of an encounter. Snowmachine Safety Class. In heavy or blowing snow, the cave may be incredibly difficult to find. The scenery to the south is fairly impressive. 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. Refer to Stan Justice’s Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground for more details. Before the bridge over Castner Creek, look for a small, unimproved road on the left. Photos from the Castner Glacier, Creek, and surrounding mountains. At the end of the season, when the first major snow falls the rough surface becomes once again smooth. Keystone Canyon is a gorgeous 3-mile long canyon with enormous waterfalls and cliffsides near Valdez, Alaska. It was a beautiful day walking through a perfect winter wonderland ️ Hiking and travel guide to Alaska. January 9. The caves often reach far back and are sculpted in inconceivable ways. It highlights many of the climbable peaks accessible by the Castner Glacier. December 12. It’s possible to see the Castner Glacier ice cave during the wintertime. Other hazards include frequent rockfall from the moraine above or total cave collapse. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. A 50% cancellation fee is charged when reservations are canceled at least three days in advance. 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. Full FTC Disclosure. 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. 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. It might be tricky finding a way down on to the ice in summer. Castner glacier is rapidly receding and as it melts has created many stunning and several exceptional ice caves. 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. The parking spot is just a wide dirt shoulder on the side of the highway. 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. This is actually from November 2019, Thanksgiving weekend. Nearing the glacier, we saw some overflow on the surface. If continuing on the glacier, you will need to cross the moraine to the highest southern moraine. ). ), 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. 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. In summer, you can access from either side of the creek. Thank you! 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. The cave is on the left side of the glacial lobe. 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. Be familiar with navigation and have a compass, map, and/or GPS handy. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! 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. Castner Glacier. The glacier is fairly crevassed and avalanche or rockslide risk on the slopes is high (even small slopes like the moraine). How to shoot the northern lights, how to edit photos in post-processing with a focus on FOSS software programs. Spend a minute looking for the best route from above. November 28. fall colors & northern lights photography workshop. Snowmachine Safety Class. 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. No refunds are given for cancellations made less than three days in advance. You’ll traverse the more gentle talus slope above the red and tan cliffs to the point. The easier south side follows a short ATV trail before dropping onto the riverbed. Aug 7, 2020 - How to hike Castner Glacier Ice Cave Trail near Paxson, Alaska. About a mile up the northern branch is the Thayer Hut, an alpine hut installed and maintained by the Alaska Alpine Club. 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. We walked to the bowl in the Center of the pictures. Castner Glacier Ice Cave. I’d read that the “trail” to Castner Glacier can be dodgy in the winter. At Castner Creek we pulled off the highway into the small lot and bundled up. Tours may be canceled due to extreme cold (below about -15 °F), in which case your tour will be rescheduled or fully refunded. If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi. Bears are frequently in the area. If you find this content helpful or enjoyable, please consider donating a small amount. It is hard to believe that such places exist on Earth. Also, beware of thin ice on the right side of the floor deep inside the ice cave. In the short summer, water scours the glacier surface creating a ripple-like surface on the ice going down-glacier. Ice caves are dangerous. In winter you will want to be roped up and be knowledgable in crevasses rescue as there are numerous crevasses in this area. 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. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! Each represents at least a winter of ice. Hiking Castner Glacier During Winter. 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. 2417 Feet Elevation Gain . Thank you for your support! Exploring Castner Glacier, Alaska We celebrated the start of the New Year by hiking to 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. Mostly in the Fairbanks and interior region of Alaska, but always expanding to new areas! Castner Glacier ice caves January 25, 2020 by Paxson Woelber « Trip Reports on 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 … The winter trail usually follows the south side of Castner Creek. Travel upon the glacier is … 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. 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. On the edge of the Castner Glacier in the Deltas looking down the Castner Valley into the Eastern Alaska Range. 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 Behind me, the cave extends far back. The easiest way up to either ice tongue is to walk, ski, or snowshoe on the southernmost medial moraine. Know your skill level and your limits before attempting any backcountry travel! ). That’s where the “type II” fun started. The slope leading up to the hut poses avalanche risk as well. You must be a member of the Alaska Alpine Club to use the hut. Historical Weather. 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! Sunny, snowy and 30 below temperatures make for fun camping and skiing! Maps, photos, and information. Inevitably my obsessive tendencies honed my mountaineering focus to the Castner Creek, which flows from the Castner Glacier. There is a sizeable canyon where the moraine meets the ice surface. 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. 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. 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). (photo courtesy Todd Baham) From here, you will mainly follow the riverbed with some occasional bushwacking in the willows, following the creek up to the toe. All the pics were taken with my phone so I'll apologize now for any pixelated images. December 5. 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. 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. Because of this, I remind people always to follow Leave No Trace principles when in the backcountry and pack out whatever you bring in. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! They were formed by meltwater under the glacier and can have water flowing even in winter. (No ice climbing gear required. You can easily find yourself knee-deep in mud that looked like solid ground. 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. Castner Glacier Cave Exploring. 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! Each represents at least a winter of ice. Tutorials on general and auorora photography. Trails for all walkers and hikers. 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 already ample snow along Castner Creek, so skis or snowshoes are recommended. 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. Full payment is required to reserve a tour. 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. (Full-size digital files delivered via web download after your hike. 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! 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. One or two trips per season was all I could fit into my spring semester without failing classes. Exercise extreme caution if entering. 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). 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). On the glacier whiteouts are common. 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. 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. Behind me, the cave extends far back. This was taken at the end of the day when I could really see the shadows from those ripples. It’s nearly impossible to tell the direction in those conditions. This unimproved road is located at mile 217.3 on the north side of Castner Creek. 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! Remember this spot by landmark or mark it on a GPS for the return trip. My focus in photography is mainly landscape and wildlife. 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. Maximum group size 6; special arrangements must be made for larger groups up to 10. A 1/2 mile hike leads you to the Castner Glacier. December 5. I have at least 30 guides in draft now, and am hoping to add 50 by the end of 2020! ... winter 2018/2019; explore alaska. Box 31312, Fort Greely, AK 99731All text and photos on this site are copyrighted. There used to be a system on the southern margin, but in recent years has been collapsing and receding quite fast there. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! There are numerous hiking trails in the area. In summer, beware of soft spots. Purchasing prints and wall art also helps. Please do not reproduce without permission. If there isn’t a visible trail, stay on the south side of the creek until you reach the terminus. )Receive a discount when you also book an Aurora Borealis Photography Tour. 2/10/2020 0 Comments It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. This half-mile trail will take you to one of the coolest ice caves in Alaska. It’s one of the few glaciers I’ve had to bushwack on for a short stretch. 721k members in the MostBeautiful community. The guidebook Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground by Stan Justice is available in Fairbanks at Beaver Sports. All tours are private and involve no technical rock or ice climbing. N 63° 27.156’ W 145° 32.181’ – 4800 ft (1463 m). 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. Follow the north side of the riverbed to the toe. Feb 28, 2020 - It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the backcountry of Alaska to find gorgeous sights that few people ever see. Also up the White Princess Branch is a stunning view of Silvertip. The shrinking Castner is literally collapsing in on itself; much of the central glacier has become a deep, meltwater-filled trench. It’s at the toe that you can frequently find ice caves. The hike to Castner Glacier is easy and straightforward. High today: 63 Low today: 35 My goal of this day was to get Aviva and Jud to a glacier, special request by Jud. Here, in the interior, we just ended the fourth longest cold snap in history where we had 35 days straight of temperature below … Here is a description of the activities. In summer you can cross the moraine in a semi-crevasse free zone a few hundred feet to the northeast of 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. 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 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. . Looking up at the Castner glacier hidden by snow. Snowshoes, traction devices, headlamps & helmets provided as necessary at no extra cost. We hiked to Castner Glacier Ice Cave on March 14, 2020. (Please inquire.). Description for a few backcountry hikes possible near the Worthington Glacier starting at 2-miles and up. In winter these dangers are not as prevalent but still exist. There is parking on either side of the bridge at Castner Creek on the Richardson Highway (mile 217.3). This water is often very turbulent, fast, and very powerful. The Castner Glacier was the location. This guide is in its infancy, but will soon expand into many more territories. For complete tour policies and more tour information, see the Black Rapids Tours FAQ. Add $30 per person for professional adventure portraits. The temperature dropped as we drove north, eventually hitting -24 °F as we climbed into the Eastern Alaska Range. Outdoor Recreation. Blue: winter “trail” – Red: route from 2015 trip to Thayer Hut – map disclaimer. The road ends after 1/2 mile, turning into an unimproved foot path heading up the side of Castner Creek. Steven Miley Photography | | (907) 888-4850 | P.O. 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! 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. 4 to 8+ hours . Offset offers authentic … Alaska wildflower guide with many photos and galleries of photos with identifying information, nomenclature and taxonomy, uses, and links to more references. Most of the tongue of the Castner is debris-covered, very bumpy, and partially vegetated. 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. From Delta, drive about 50 miles south along the Richardson. Additionally, events called jökulhlaups can occur where glacier locked lakes drain catastrophically and completely fill these tunnels with no warning from below. 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. 7.8 Miles winter/summer.

castner glacier winter

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