Ai Chi Pit

Glacier Bay National Park is located directly north of Chichagof Island across Icy Strait. This mountainous area contains some large limestone areas that until recently have not been explored for caves. In the summer of 2001 caver Kevin Allred made a reconnaissance trip to the park with Wayne Howell of the National Park Service. Several caves were discovered during their brief trip, including the 70-meter-deep Ai Chi Pit. This pit is located at an elevation of 700 meters above sea level and about two km from the ocean. At the bottom of the pit they discovered and photographed the skull of mink or martin that apparently fell to its death (see photo at right). The age and exact identification of the skull is not yet known.

Future discoveries of fossiliferous cave deposits in the Glacier Bay region would help to elucidate the glacial and early postglacial history of Southeast Alaska, much like the mainland caves near Wrangell have done. Funding is currently being sought to explore this region with a group of cavers to assess its full potential.

© 2002 by Timothy H. Heaton