However, there are no signs and no maintained trail leading to the glacier. Join me! Feb 28, 2020 - It's February in Alaska, and we've learned that can mean some pretty unpredictable weather conditions. 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. 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 From here, you will mainly follow the riverbed with some occasional bushwacking in the willows, following the creek up to the toe. I may earn commissions if you shop through the affiliate links on this page. Travel upon the glacier is … In summer, beware of soft spots. Spend a minute looking for the best route from above. In the short summer, water scours the glacier surface creating a ripple-like surface on the ice going down-glacier. 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! Before the bridge over Castner Creek, look for a small, unimproved road on the left. The caves often reach far back and are sculpted in inconceivable ways. All tours are private and involve no technical rock or ice climbing. 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 … Beware that later in the day the stream may be much more full. Tutorials on general and auorora photography. Know your skill level and your limits before attempting any backcountry travel! 7.8 Miles winter/summer. 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. 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. Most of the tongue of the Castner is debris-covered, very bumpy, and partially vegetated. October 24, 2020 Update: The ice cave at the front of Castner Glacier is currently accessible and should remain accessible throughout winter. If continuing on the glacier, you will need to cross the moraine to the highest southern moraine. 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. The Castner Glacier was the location. 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 slope leading up to the hut poses avalanche risk as well. On the edge of the Castner Glacier in the Deltas looking down the Castner Valley into the Eastern Alaska Range. (Full-size digital files delivered via web download after your hike. 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. Steven Miley Photography | | (907) 888-4850 | P.O. (No ice climbing gear required. In winter you will want to be roped up and be knowledgable in crevasses rescue as there are numerous crevasses in this area. Exploring Castner Glacier, Alaska We celebrated the start of the New Year by hiking to Castner Glacier. fall colors & northern lights photography workshop. 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. Purchasing prints and wall art also helps. 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. You must be a member of the Alaska Alpine Club to use the hut. The easier south side follows a short ATV trail before dropping onto the riverbed. 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. Offset offers authentic … Castner glacier is rapidly receding and as it melts has created many stunning and several exceptional ice caves. One or two trips per season was all I could fit into my spring semester without failing classes. Maximum group size 6; special arrangements must be made for larger groups up to 10. 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. Castner Glacier Cave Exploring. This is actually from November 2019, Thanksgiving weekend. At the end of the season, when the first major snow falls the rough surface becomes once again smooth. 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 hike to Castner Glacier is easy and straightforward. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. 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. 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). Sunny, snowy and 30 below temperatures make for fun camping and skiing! 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! In heavy or blowing snow, the cave may be incredibly difficult to find. 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. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! Blue: winter “trail” – Red: route from 2015 trip to Thayer Hut – map disclaimer. Description for a few backcountry hikes possible near the Worthington Glacier starting at 2-miles and up. It is hard to believe that such places exist on Earth. . The Castner Glacier is an easily accessible glacier toe in the Delta Mountains of the Alaska Range. The easiest way up to either ice tongue is to walk, ski, or snowshoe on the southernmost medial moraine. 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. Snowshoes, traction devices, headlamps & helmets provided as necessary at no extra cost. This trail is not maintained and not marked. You’ll traverse the more gentle talus slope above the red and tan cliffs to the point. 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. The shrinking Castner is literally collapsing in on itself; much of the central glacier has become a deep, meltwater-filled trench. There is already ample snow along Castner Creek, so skis or snowshoes are recommended. The guidebook Delta Range: A Mountaineering Playground by Stan Justice is available in Fairbanks at Beaver Sports. It was a beautiful day walking through a perfect winter wonderland ️ (Please inquire.). 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. Please do not reproduce without permission. In summer you can cross the moraine in a semi-crevasse free zone a few hundred feet to the northeast of the hut. I am literally standing underneath thousands of years of ice history! There are large icefalls to see up the White Princess Branch. December 5. There are numerous hiking trails in the area. These links help support this website and keeps the content free. If there isn’t a visible trail, stay on the south side of the creek until you reach the terminus. Each represents at least a winter of ice. 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! No refunds are given for cancellations made less than three days in advance. It’s one of the few glaciers I’ve had to bushwack on for a short stretch. We walked to the bowl in the Center of the pictures. Maps, photos, and information. It’s at the toe that you can frequently find ice caves. Looking up at the Castner glacier hidden by snow. Because of this, I remind people always to follow Leave No Trace principles when in the backcountry and pack out whatever you bring in. 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. Look at those layers of ice and sediment! The scenery to the south is fairly impressive. Hiking Castner Glacier During Winter. 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.