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). If you find this content helpful or enjoyable, please consider donating a small amount. Photos from the Castner Glacier, Creek, and surrounding mountains. 4 to 8+ hours . 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. 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. Hiking Castner Glacier During Winter. Nearing the glacier, we saw some overflow on the surface. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. 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. At the end of the season, when the first major snow falls the rough surface becomes once again smooth. Purchasing prints and wall art also helps. (No ice climbing gear required. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! 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. 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. ), 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. December 5. 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. 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). Join me! Castner Glacier is located in Delta Junction, about 140 miles from Fairbanks which is about a 2.5 hour drive. Additionally, events called jökulhlaups can occur where glacier locked lakes drain catastrophically and completely fill these tunnels with no warning from below. Refer to Stan Justice’s Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground for more details. Castner glacier is rapidly receding and as it melts has created many stunning and several exceptional ice caves. Travel upon the glacier is … 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 … 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. On the glacier whiteouts are common. The cave is on the left side of the glacial lobe. I’d read that the “trail” to Castner Glacier can be dodgy in the winter. 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. Before the bridge over Castner Creek, look for a small, unimproved road on the left. If continuing on the glacier, you will need to cross the moraine to the highest southern moraine. Know how to stay safe, avoid encounters, and properly protect yourself in the event of an encounter. Because of this, I remind people always to follow Leave No Trace principles when in the backcountry and pack out whatever you bring in. 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. Thank you! (Full-size digital files delivered via web download after your hike. Add $30 per person for professional adventure portraits. 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. 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. High today: 63 Low today: 35 My goal of this day was to get Aviva and Jud to a glacier, special request by Jud. The Castner Glacier was the location. It’s possible to see the Castner Glacier ice cave during the wintertime. (Please inquire.). You must be a member of the Alaska Alpine Club to use the hut. This water is often very turbulent, fast, and very powerful. ). Offset offers authentic … However, there are no signs and no maintained trail leading to the glacier. 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. Children are welcome on tours but there is no youth discount; see age recommendations in difficulty ratings below. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! This half-mile trail will take you to one of the coolest ice caves in Alaska. The moraine is getting nasty, and it’s so close to the valley wall that it’s a terrible terrain trap for avalanches. 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. Remember this spot by landmark or mark it on a GPS for the return trip. The winter trail usually follows the south 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. If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi. We hiked to Castner Glacier Ice Cave on March 14, 2020. The easiest way up to either ice tongue is to walk, ski, or snowshoe on the southernmost medial moraine. Please do not reproduce without permission. I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the backcountry of Alaska to find gorgeous sights that few people ever see. 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. My focus in photography is mainly landscape and wildlife. 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. Historical Weather. Castner Glacier Cave Exploring. Also, beware of thin ice on the right side of the floor deep inside the ice cave. In winter you will want to be roped up and be knowledgable in crevasses rescue as there are numerous crevasses in this area. )Receive a discount when you also book an Aurora Borealis Photography Tour. There is already ample snow along Castner Creek, so skis or snowshoes are recommended. Full FTC Disclosure. All tours are private and involve no technical rock or ice climbing. The shrinking Castner is literally collapsing in on itself; much of the central glacier has become a deep, meltwater-filled trench. 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 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. Snowmachine Safety Class. We walked to the bowl in the Center of the pictures. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! Spend a minute looking for the best route from above. I have at least 30 guides in draft now, and am hoping to add 50 by the end of 2020! All the pics were taken with my phone so I'll apologize now for any pixelated images. Alaska wildflower guide with many photos and galleries of photos with identifying information, nomenclature and taxonomy, uses, and links to more references. 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. Each represents at least a winter of ice. You’ll traverse the more gentle talus slope above the red and tan cliffs to the point. The view is even nicer when you hit the junction. 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. Ice caves are dangerous. My first mountaineering trip up the Castner valley was in 2012, and I’ve walked/skied up it nearly every year since. 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. November 28. 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. The glacier is fairly crevassed and avalanche or rockslide risk on the slopes is high (even small slopes like the moraine). From Delta, drive about 50 miles south along the Richardson. There are numerous hiking trails in the area. 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. Map and descriptions for numerous trails near the entrance and Visitor Center to Denali National Park. 2/10/2020 0 Comments It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. It’s nearly impossible to tell the direction in those conditions. 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! Thank you for your support! 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). A 1/2 mile hike leads you to the Castner Glacier. 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. Maps, photos, and information. The road ends after 1/2 mile, turning into an unimproved foot path heading up the side of Castner Creek. December 5. I may earn commissions if you shop through the affiliate links on this page. 721k members in the MostBeautiful community. The hike to Castner Glacier is easy and straightforward. That’s where the “type II” fun started. Box 31312, Fort Greely, AK 99731All text and photos on this site are copyrighted. 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. Beware that later in the day the stream may be much more full. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! Steven Miley Photography | | (907) 888-4850 | P.O. A 50% cancellation fee is charged when reservations are canceled at least three days in advance. N 63° 27.156’ W 145° 32.181’ – 4800 ft (1463 m). 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. fall colors & northern lights photography workshop. 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! Most of the tongue of the Castner is debris-covered, very bumpy, and partially vegetated. Also up the White Princess Branch is a stunning view of Silvertip. Exploring Castner Glacier, Alaska We celebrated the start of the New Year by hiking to Castner Glacier. Other hazards include frequent rockfall from the moraine above or total cave collapse. 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. . Keystone Canyon is a gorgeous 3-mile long canyon with enormous waterfalls and cliffsides near Valdez, Alaska. 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. Description for a few backcountry hikes possible near the Worthington Glacier starting at 2-miles and up. Behind me, the cave extends far back. In summer, you can access from either side of the creek. Here, in the interior, we just ended the fourth longest cold snap in history where we had 35 days straight of temperature below … 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. Bears are frequently in the area. 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. This unimproved road is located at mile 217.3 on the north side of Castner Creek. 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. Aug 7, 2020 - How to hike Castner Glacier Ice Cave Trail near Paxson, Alaska. The scenery to the south is fairly impressive. Follow the north side of the riverbed to the toe. In summer you can cross the moraine in a semi-crevasse free zone a few hundred feet to the northeast of the hut. 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! There is no official or maintained trail. It’s at the toe that you can frequently find ice caves. There are numerous large hanging glaciers and big peaks. It’s a little over 1 mile to the glacier. At Castner Creek we pulled off the highway into the small lot and bundled up. Mostly in the Fairbanks and interior region of Alaska, but always expanding to new areas! 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). 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! Half-day tours are limited to approximately 6 hours maximum, while full-day tours don’t have any strict time limitations. ... winter 2018/2019; explore alaska. The guidebook Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground by Stan Justice is available in Fairbanks at Beaver Sports. On the edge of the Castner Glacier in the Deltas looking down the Castner Valley into the Eastern Alaska Range. 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. 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. This trail is not maintained and not marked. 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:
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