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

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf ready for summer season

The plan is to have the Northern Sea Wolf assume the mid-coast service as of May 18

Historic building in Alexis Creek destroyed by fire overnight

“If it hadn’t been a heavy rain last night we could have lost many houses in the area”

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

OP-ED: Striking a balance with the oil tanker moratorium

Dennis Patterson, Senator for Nunavut, on protecting Canada’s environment and economy with Bill C-48

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read