A few weeks ago I was making the morning brew at the farm when the phone rang, it turned cut to be a visiting Canadian caver who was touring the world and wanted to know if he could stay at Bullpot farm and possibly go caving with us. Anyone who has travelled from Canada would have been a bit pissed off to say the least if I had told him to try again at Brackenbottom so he was given directions to the farm.
Chris turned cut to be good value for money and saw a great deal of the Easegill-Lancaster-Link-Pippikin system, our generosity was repaid by the names of some caving contacts in N.America for us to use, should we visit.

He left this valuable entry in the log book for us.

 As requested:   A Very 8iased Guide to the Caves of Canada.

Overview: Canada has four main caving regions.
Quebec - numerous caves some even worth seeing but difficult unless you speak Quebecqois..

Ontario - c.200 caves only 10 of which are over 100 metres long and you can only stand up in a few of those! Null said.

Rocky Mountains - 4000km long mountain range all limestone, has 20-30 caves most of which involve full day approaches, epic trips common.

Vancouver Island - c..500km long island off west coast of British Columbia. Has 36 (at last count) caving areas with at least 400 caves.

What is worth seeing:    Quebec    Ontario


Castlegar Cave: Canadas longest, (19.5km) and most impressive cave only passable in springtime and even then entrance crawl may be frozen to the roof. It is gated and currently closed to everyone, hopefully this will change. Definitely worth seeing!

Arctomys Cave: Canadas deepest at 536m, only needs 40ft of rope but has unavoidable shower halfway down making it quite serious. Entrance at 7000ft makes it a days walk in.

Yorkshire Pot: with a name like that you can draw your own conclusions.

Close to the Edge: 800ft shaft way up north, to be avoided unless you are prepared to dodge refrigerator sized blocks of ice falling past you while on rope.

Rats Nest: horizontal maze type system 3-4km long, very well decorated - 5 minutes from the road and 15 minutes from Banff. Also has access problems but gate is passable.


Vancouver Island:

Glory ‘Ole: spectacular entrance doline (especially if the trees are still standing - doubtful), large long main passage leads to vertical bottom section with seven pitches in beautiful passage. Very sporting only bottomed twice. (not a hard trip though small party (2) is preferable)

Treasure Arch System:  nearby Glory ‘Ole and possibly connected, good through trip possible if separate parties enter Treasure (3 pitches) and Arch (7 pitches) and exchange.

Resonnance Cave:  nice tube possibly connected to the above.

Minigill:   not quite as big as its namesake but good none the less.

Q5-Windylink-Quatsino Caves: complicated vertical passages, if connected may be deepest in Canada.

Artlish River Cave: huge entrance in huge forest, get there before the loggers do!

Thanksgiving Cave:  the islands longest at around 10km, not recommended unless in mushroom season (Oct.)

This is the area with the biggest potential ie. if you want a holiday with guaranteed success in exploring virgin cave in a spectacular setting overlooking the Pacific go to the Clayaquot Plateau.

Who to contact:

Cavers in Canada are few and far between (like the caves the best contacts for the Rockies are in Calgary - Ian McKenzie or Dennis Weeks. Dave Thomson would be the best and most available guide though hard to find as he lives in a tent.

For stuff on the island and in finding other caves contact Steve Grundy, 1971 Cromwell Rd., Victoria, B.C., V6P 1R6, Canada.

I won’t be back for a few years but when I do I look forward to extending some good hospitality I’ve received here to anyone who wants to see what Canada has to offer. Thanks for some good caving!

Chris Lloyd.


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