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

GALLERY: Fernie hosts mine rescue competition

Fording River, Line Creek mine rescue teams off to provincials after placing first and second

Fernie beer named Canada’s best pale ale

Fernie Brewing Company’s Campout West Coast Pale finishes first at the Canadian Brewing Awards

Cannabis yoga a budding trend in Fernie

Yoga studio, cannabis educator team up to offer Fernie’s first cannabis yoga classes from May 17

Sparwood’s Momma Di a mother to many

The Free Press competition winner revealed; plus Mother’s Day around the Valley

An Everest fundraiser

Man set to climb elevation of Mt. Everest in one day to raise school lunch funds

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

UPDATE: Aggressive coyote moves to Sparwood

Residents urged not to feed or approach the animal

City of Fernie to hold referendum for multi-purpose centre loan

Council opts for assent voting after petition calling for a referendum garners over 500 signatures

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Most Read