British Columbia

Explorers returning to B.C. to probe more of Canada's deepest cave

The Bisaro Anima cave, located in a remote mountain plateau north of Fernie, in southeastern B.C. has been measured to be 673 metres deep, but expedition lead Katherine Graham, from Calgary, says there is farther to go.

The team made it 673 metres deep last time. Now they hope to go farther

A nine-person exploration team confirmed in 2018 that the Bisaro Anima cave north of Fernie is the deepest in Canada. (Photo by Jared Habiak)

A team of cave explorers who discovered Canada's deepest cave in January of 2018, are preparing to return this fall and dive even deeper.

The Bisaro Anima cave, located in a remote mountain plateau north of Fernie, in southeastern B.C. has been measured to be 673 metres deep and 5.3 kilometres long, but expedition lead Katherine Graham, from Calgary, says there is farther to go.

"There's over 830 metres of vertical potential which would be huge," said Graham.

"Right now it's at 673 metres, and so we could make this significantly deeper, but we don't get to call it deeper until we physically go there and measure it."

Watch some of their 2018 exploration here:

A team from Calgary explored Bisaro Anima, Canada's deepest limestone cave, located near Fernie B.C. in 2018. 1:00

The entrance to the cave was first found in 2012, by Bisaro Plateau Caves Project leader Jeremy Bruns. However, it wasn't until Graham, Bruns and seven other volunteer team members went on an expedition in January of 2018, that a new record depth was set.

The first 650 metres of the cave is within dry passage, said Graham, but then there is a sump, or underground water channel, where she dived last time but had to stop, because some of her gear was damaged.

"So, I couldn't do that aggressive of a dive," she told Daybreak South's David French. "So this expedition to go back is to just try to get farther in that water."

A sump, or underground water corridor, stopped the team last time from exploring the cave farther because some of the diving equipment had been damaged. (Photo by Jared Habiak)

She hopes that the water isn't too deep and they will be able to quickly resurface into another air passage.

"I mean hopefully [we'll be] walking down a canyon passage down to the resurgence, but I'm sure the cave has other things in store."

Inside the cave

To get to the cave's entrance near the tope of Mount. Bisaro, the team will take a helicopter with gear, including camping gear, hundreds of metres of rope, bolts, hammer drills and scuba equipment.

"We started camping in the cave so that we could keep pushing farther," said Graham. 

However, there's no toasty campfires keeping them warm.

"It's like you're living in a refrigerator. It's 100 per cent humidity and it's about 3 degrees Celsius," she said. "It's a very physical activity. So as long as I'm moving I'm warm. But I mean, I can never stop because then you get cold really fast."

Last time the team was in the cave in 2018, they left sleeping bags, food and equipment behind. Graham will be returning with an exploration team in October to make sure everything is still in good condition, the two scuba tanks still have air in them and to finish exploring one of the areas they were in before. 

The team will bring hundreds of metres of rope, camping equipment and scuba gear with them on the next expedition to use in addition to gear they have brought and left in the caves before. (Photo by Jared Habiak)

The team will then return in late November to take on the big expedition deeper into the cave. 

They chose November because it's less wet and the spring runoff is gone, Graham explained.

"It's really beautiful in the summer so there's no sense in being underground in the summer," she said.

"Inside the cave it's going to be three degrees Celsius whether it's 30 degrees outside or whether it's minus 30 degrees outside."

With files from Daybreak South

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