Winter 2012 Trip Reports


November 28, 2012

Chas Yonge, Adam Walker, and Nicholaus Vieira

The Winter Restricted Access Permit is in effect, and I now have a multi-year research permit. Having been busy preparing and organizing for this year’s explorations of Raspberry Rising since August, it was finally time to start moving equipment to the cave. Adam and Chas had volunteered to assist with the Sherpa trip. This trips goal’s was to carry non-diving equipment to the cave, inventory the equipment left the year before to compare to my records and prep the downstream section of sump 1.

08:17 saw the Open status posted for the Area. I was finishing the organization of the equipment in Chas’s shed, so called Adam to confirm the go ahead. Next was a phone call to the Parks Canada research coordinator to confirm the start of the project. Once Adam arrived we loaded the equipment and drove to the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre, we were recognized by the staff member. After filling out the Access Permit and saying good bye we drove to the parking area, loaded up and began our ascent to the cave.

It was time to check out which of the approach methods are best for this time of year. Chas opted for skis while Adam and I used snowshoes. We will leave all of the colourful language out of the log, this time, and just say skis and slide alder made this Chas’s worst decision of the day.

Arriving at the entrance we noted some new vandalism from people (graffiti and beer cans), but was pleasantly rewarded with good water levels. We wandered up the familiar passage to the sump/staging area to begin unloading the equipment, inventorying, sorting etc. I then donned my drysuit and installed two glue-ins and a natural thread for the diveline to be anchored to on the next trip. The duck was chilly and quite sporting when trying to keep a drill out of the water.

Storing the equipment, we began our descent (Chas in his ski boots following our trail downhill) back to the vehicle. A very successful trip, soon we will be reclimbing the Nick point (waterfall) to push on and through Sump 2. The nice drive back to Canmore was momentarily delayed due to beer and cheap wings (it is sure nice not to always be the driver).

We arrived with enough time for me to enjoy the hot tub, at the local rec. centre. Boy it is tough some day’s being a cave bum.


December 8, 2012

Nicholaus Vieira, and Adam Walker

Open!!! Here we go. The plan was to be a light and fast trip to re-dive Sump 1 re-climb the Nick point and check and rig everything to Sump 2, then push through Sump 2 and recci what is beyond.

We were at Tim Hortons in Canmore when we found out that the area was open. Off we went with hot chocolate and a double-double for Adam. Upon arriving in the Pass we got our permits, showed a slideshow to the staff then wandered down to the parking area. After donning our packs I began to wonder where the light part went. We were carrying 2 dive kits, rigging gear, a hammer drill, and a few other odds and ends. Oh well, up we went arriving at the cave entrance in quick time in our snowshoes.

Prepping the equipment we then changed into our wetsuits, I was wearing a 5/4mm, Adam a 6mm combo. Attaching all the equipment to ourselves and going through the equipment checks we entered the canal rigging the dive line as we went. I dove first and quickly passed through the sump, Adam waited the prearranged time before following. He had turned all of his lights on lighting the sump majestically up. We had a quick discussion about how to tidy up the sump rigging, then continued around the corner to the base of the Nick Point. We free climbed the first 6m to a ledge with our rigging equipment, and 1 set of dive equipment. I put Adam on belay as he began leading the rest of the climb. Once on top with the rope secured I jugged up with the equipment. After a quick equipment check and sort we climbed up through the passages checking rigging, or re-rigging the climbs until we arrived at Sump 2 after have traveling 800m and climbing 154m between sumps, with dive gear! We prepped the dive equipment then I went in probing possibilities with just the dive mask. It looked as to be a spacious dive, with one last place to check. I held my breath and submerged beneath the water to have a last look. Upon surfacing I was giggling with joy. Adam asked if it went, and I replied get the rope it’s a breath hold! He returned down the narrow canal we were in handing one end to me he belayed the rope, then I was under to the far side, again this cave goes. I surfaced into a large pool with a 5m waterfall cascading in. After securing the sump line, I climbed up to find the crack which Adam had noted from last year and passed him my mask. He quickly followed the line through the sump and was performing an amazing happy dance on the far side. We then went up stream to see what the next obstacle would be, this did not take long. After 20m of climbing small cascades over 100m horizontal we found it, a 15m high waterfall which is slightly over hung. Satisfied we returned discussing which climbs would need ropes and where to rig them. Back through Sump 2 we discussed similar things about it, before making our way back to the surface. We emerged after 11 hours, and were back at our vehicle heading to Canmore around 22:00. We stopped for some Mac D’s (Golden you should think about having some better late night food options!) and arrived back in Canmore at 01:30. I get to guide in the morning. What a birthday present!


December 9, 2012

Adam Walker, Gavin Elsely, Chas Yonge, Charlene Barker, Jeremy Bruns, Katie Graham, and Nicholaus Vieira

I am exhausted after the push trip in Raspberry and then Guiding in the morning.

Chas, Adam and I drove into Calgary for the arranged Team Pool Session, at Aqua Sport Scuba Centre. Arriving I was glad to see the majority of the team was in attendance, and they did not mind my exhausted state too much. We had a quick intro to the permit and the permit system, signed waivers for both the Project and the Pool Session, explained the sumps (we now had knowledge of Sump 2), the set up and concept of dive equipment  setup. We covered what dive equipment would be in the cave and where, and where the bailout bottle would be. Then we covered equipment issues and what to do, how to fix or replace those pieces. team members getting to switch inspect and "repair" issues.

Next was pool time! We had everyone weight themselves with the equipment they would be diving in. Then moved on to some basic drills from mask clearing to more advanced drills in the setup they would be using. At the end of the session we had a great social dinner nearby. 01:00 saw Adam, Chas and I arrive back in Canmore.


December 18, 2012

Nicholaus Vieira

I left from Canmore solo to Rogers Pass. Loaded with equipment to shuttle to the cave. My pack contained 1-80 cuft cylinder, 1-40 cuft cylinder plus many other odds and ends, weighing well over 100lbs! After acquiring my permit I began the 2km approach with the beast. Breaking trail through the deep powder was a grueling chore that over time was slowly accomplished with many wipe outs in the snow. Once at the cave I set about finishing the little tasks of tuning the set ups for faster transitions, etc. Once completed I raced down the slopes to my vehicle to drive to Kamloops to visit family (as I would be working through Christmas) and pick up 150m of donated rope. Thanks Phil.


December 21, 2012

Nicholaus Vieira

It was open, and I went again alone with another beast of a bag to carry up. The goal was to finish the rigging of sump 1 and the Nick point. On arrival I changed into a wetsuit then began looking for 2 large rocks which I could barely lift. I then drilled threads into the rocks threading Dyneema cord through the holes. I slowly dragged them into their respected positions within the sump. I then belayed the dive line to these, so a diver could pull themselves through the sump free of any traps or difficult spots. I am using 11mm rope to act as a sump line so the team members can forget about fins and pull themselves through. Next I climbed the Nick point finishing the rigging the rope to the glue-ins installed on the previous trip, rappelled, checked everything (adding a sling to a chalkstone to avoid a rub point) then diving out I packed up and headed back to Canmore. Satisfied that the cave was ready for a good push/survey trip.


December 29, 2012

Adam Walker, Chas Yonge, and Nicholaus Vieira

We arrived at Chas' early so we could chance that it would be open by leaving early.... Chas slept in, providing Adam and I with a bit of comic fodder for the drive to Glacier National Park. We tried not to tease him too much.

After Adam and Chas sorted their annual passes we parked and skied up to the entrance. By our arrival Adam and I were convinced that snowshoes was the way to go for the rest of the years trips. Everyone changed in quick order, both Adam and Chas being a little skeptical of their thin wetsuits (Adam dropping to a 4/3mm single). Once the chill of the 2 degree Celsius water was overcome they found the setup to be quite adequate. We passed through Sump 1 with ease and up the Nick Point enjoying the completed rigging.

We then began our hike/climb to Sump 2. After arriving we decided we would survey out, so continuing through the breath hold we climbed the series of cascades until we arrived at the waterfall that stopped our progress on the 8th of December. I kitted up and made short work of the climb, the water was very cold and motivated you to move faster. Once on the top I rigged the rope and the others followed. We continued up another waterfall (the most beautiful one in the cave so far), to what Adam thought was yet another Sump. I began digging some of the rocks out on the downstream section to lower the water level by 15 cm or so. Then donning a mask I went in..

Sump 3 turned out to be not a sump but a low air space swim which leads to another low air space wallow which I passed arriving into tall walking streamway. I turned around rejoining the others and began surveying out. On connecting the survey on the downstream side of Sump 2 we added 210m of length and +40m to the depth. We made our way out of the cave and down the mountain to begin the long drive home exhausted.


People who assisted to make this project a success:

Thank you goes out to the Rennie/Clark Memorial Fund and The Alberta Speleological Society specail projects fund. Thank you also goes out to Alberta Karst Consulting, who kindly paid for Hotel costs and fuel for the majority of the trips, and Aquasport Scuba Center thanks for the sale pricing and usage of their pool for the team training. 

My final thank you is for the team members who dove the sump with me to survey.