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Sierra Club Wilderness trips and expeditions
   Chapter: Michigan (Mackinac)
   Group: Central Upper Peninsula (CUPG)
   Leader: Michael Neiger, Marquette, Michigan (Web site; e-mail; bio)


Review journal no. 1, photo album no. 1, photo album no. 2 from this completed trip.

March 4-8, 2004
(updated 10-19-03)
   Intermediate-level winter camping & basic caving
   Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
   Miners River Basin & Chapel River Basin
   Alger County
   Upper Michigan, east of Munising

-- Very strenuous off-trail route; only suitable for those with good aerobic endurance.

-- Includes basic, non-technical ice cave and wilderness cave exploration.

We'll explore a prime section of this beautiful area by snowshoe with either backpacks or sledges (five, first-come, first-serve, $5-rental club sleds available by prior arrangement). Our itinerary will include the exploration of several, remote, little-known caves and frozen waterfalls as well as ice caves and stacks along the shore of Lake Superior, most likely in the area of the Miners River Basin and the Chapel River Basin. Involves very strenuous bushwhacking. Includes instruction in map and compass use and snow shelter building for those interested.

This is not a basecamp trip. We will move each day and bivouac in a different location deep in the bush each night, far from roads, dry & level campsites, potable water, toilets, and fire rings.

Mary Powell (in front of cave
on right side of photo) emerges
Ice Caves along Lake Superior from an ice cave
along the shore of
Lake Superior
near the mouth
of the Mosquito River
in the Pictured Rocks
National Lakeshore,
March 2003.
(Photo by Mary Powell)


This snowbelt area typically has four feet of snowpack in early March. On our '03 trip, temperatures dropped to minus 30. On our '02 trip, it rained and then temperatures dropped to minus 10 as a blizzard moved through the U.P.

Participants must be: 18, nonsmokers, experienced winter-campers (2 recent trips) with cold weather (-20) experience and gear, very physically fit (good aerobic endurance and stamina), swimmers, adventurous, & fully equipped, including bivouac gear, rations, stove, and high-floatation snowshoes.

   -- Climbing/caving helmet required. Must be UIAA (International Union of Alpine Associations) approved or CEN (European Community Norm) approved. No biking or paddling helmets allowed. Rental helmets available by prior arrangement.

   -- Ice rescue picks required.

8 a.m. Thursday to midday Monday.

Club fee: $15. Camping permits: $20.

Suggested signup deadline: February 17

1:24000 quads for land nav team:

   -- Melstrand, Michigan
   -- Indian Town, Michigan
   -- Grand Portal Point, Michigan
   -- Wood Island SE, Michigan
   Topo map ordering information

View trip journal and photos from '03 winter trip

View trip journal and photos from '02 winter trip

E-mail trip leader for a trip application form at mneiger@hotmail.com.






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In God's wilderness lies the hope of the world,
the great, fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.

 — John Muir 1838-1914, Alaska Wilderness, 1890

Content Copyright © 1984-- 2005-09-09
by Michael A. Neiger

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