Spending a week deep in the B.C. backcountry — so far away from civilization you need a helicopter just to get there — might seem like a nightmare to some, but a group of Calgary-led cavers wouldn’t have it any other way.
About 25 cavers are heading to the plateau of Mount Bisaro near Fernie B.C. to explore the deepest cave system north of Mexico.
It’s at least 670 metres deep — which, to put into perspective, is nearly three times the height of Calgary’s Bow Tower.
Cavers still haven’t reached the end.
It was last January the Bisaro Plateau Caves Project crew charted that record-breaking depth. Now they’re going back for more.
Right now, there’s only one known way in.
“Up on the plateau we’ve got hundreds of holes mapped out on GPS, so we have to go into it and see if we can map out new entrances,” caver Jeremy Bruns said.
And that’s exactly what they’ll be doing in early August: trying to find new entrances into the massive cave system while also exploring more inside.
Caving isn’t easy. It’s cold and wet with tight passages to wriggle through while lugging all sorts of equipment. But for cavers, the passion trumps it all.
“It’s the last frontier of exploration, really. The bottoms of the ocean and the depths of our caves are still areas where you can go where no person has gone before,” caver Christian Stenner said. “And the feeling you get when you know for sure you’re walking on a place no one has even been — its amazing.”
The group has been preparing for this latest journey since members got back from their last trip in January and has recruited experienced cavers from all across Canada to take part in the expedition.
The trip has also been named the Expedition of the Year by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RGCS), meaning the project will receive grant funding from both the RGCS and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
As you can imagine — a helicopter ride, gear, food, mapping equipment and everything else needed for the trip costs thousands of dollars.
Group members have been funding their own projects (aside from this last expedition) since they started exploring the cave back in 2012. They’ve gone on 10 expeditions to map out the cave system so far but say it could be years or even decades before they are finished.