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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grizzlies’ goalie KIJHL star for third time this season

Noah Desouza finished the regular season with a .933 save percentage

Campaign promotes Syilx/Okanagan language and culture

To support initiative, Nsylixcen t-shirts and water bottles are being distributed across Okanagan

RCMP asking for more officers to better enforce speed limit on Trans Canada Highway

City council will bring the motion to the Southern Interior Local Government Association

Shuswap firefighter ascends Vancouver high rise for fundraiser

Michael Esau climbed more than 700 steps in full gear for B.C. Lung Association

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Volunteers share amazing memories of Vancouver Olympic games

A decade ago this month, Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. Approximately… Continue reading

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Most Read