VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Spending a week in a damp, cold cave hundreds of metres underground is an idea that, for many, likely causes feelings of claustrophobia, nausea and fear.

But for a group of explorers, uncovering the deepest known cave in Canada has been nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Just north of Fernie, B.C, the cave, named Bisaro Anima, is located in a remote mountain plateau and stretches 5.3 kilometres in length and 670 metres deep – beating Heavy Breather, also located near Fernie, which is 644 metres deep.

Project leader Jeremy Bruns was the first to rappel into the entrance, discovered in 2012 by the Alberta Speleological Society. At the time, the initial discovery of Bisaro Anima was led by his father, Henry Bruns.

Since then, the cave has been visited by more than 30 explorers who’ve found access to new depths.

During the most recent trip, on New Year’s Day, Bruns and nine other “cavers” camped out 520 metres down, and after exploring further, have confirmed the cave is now considered the deepest in all of North America.

The team descended 30 vertical shafts – some up to 35 stories long – through the passage, and then climbed using ropes and technical caving equipment.

While they encountered waterfalls on some stretches of the route down, they clambered down deep canyons, deep squeezes, and passages called “crawlways.”

“You are constantly cold, damp and covered in mud, with no reprieve,” said Christian Stenner, a member of the expedition and provincial coordinator of the Alberta-BC Cave Rescue Service, in a statement.

“The consequences of an injury in this environment are tremendous, due to the hazardous conditions and exceptional remoteness.”

Fernie cave a ‘milestone’ for explorers

The society and its volunteers are undertaking several projects involving newly-found caves across the country, but the Bisaro Anima is considered a milestone because of its natural features – it only has one entrance, whereas many deep caves have multiple – as well as the plateau’s connection to history.

The cave is near Mt. Bisaro, a mountain range named after Fernie-born infantryman Torindo Bisaro, who fell during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. And some underground passages have been named Vimy Ridge, the trenches, Dieppe and the Black Watch.

Depths will continue to be explored

Prior to these latest efforts, the group had mapped the cave and established it as the third deepest in Canada at 531 metres. But as they explored further, they found it went even deeper, now at 670 metres, so they want to keep coming back and see what else the cave might reveal.

“Our knowledge of the topography and geology puts the depth potential of the system at more than 1,000 meters,” Bruns said. “I expect with ongoing effort that this cave system could also become one of the longest in Canada.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Driver of RV in Hosmer collision reported in stable condition

Collision occurred in Hosmer on September 5 and involved a semi truck, an RV and a school bus

Arts Station dumpsters beautify Fernie

The Arts Station dumpster art program and contest was a success in… Continue reading

New administrators for Elk Valley schools

Erin Hay promoted to principal for FSS, Ian Jarrell promoted to vice-principal for ESS

Burn rules loosen in Kootenays as weather eases fire concerns

Category 2 and 3 fires will be allowed in most areas — but know the regulations

Final year for Tears and Gears

Popular event holds happy memories for valley athletes

VIDEO: Prosecutors to consider charges in human-caused 2017 B.C. wildfire

RCMP forwards results of its investigation into Elephant Hill fire to Crown counsel

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read