Spending a week in a humid, cold cave hundreds of meters underground is an idea that, for many, can cause feelings of claustrophobia, nausea and fear.
But for a group of explorers, discover the deepest cave known Canada has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Just north of Fernie, BC, the cave, called Bisaro Anima, sits on a remote mountainous plateau and extends for 5.3 kilometers in length and 670 meters in depth – hitting Heavy Breather, also located near Fernie, which is 644 meters deep.
Project leader, Jeremy Bruns, was the first to rappel at the entrance, discovered in 2012 by the Alberta Speleological Society. At that time, Bisaro Anima's initial discovery was directed by his father, Henry Bruns.
Since then, the cave has been visited by more than 30 explorers who have found access to new depths.
For most of the recent trip, New Year's Day, Bruns and nine other "speleologists" camped at a depth of 520 meters, and after further exploration, they confirmed that the cave is now considered the deepest in all of North America. .
The team descended 30 vertical axes – some up to 35 stories long – through the passage, and then climbed using ropes and technical speleology equipment.
While they encountered waterfalls on some stretches of the route, they descended through deep canyons, deep depressions, and passages called "crawlways."
"You are constantly cold, wet and covered in mud, without indulgence," said Christian Stenner, member of the expedition and provincial coordinator of the Alberta-BC Cave Rescue Service, in a prayer.  "The consequences of an injury in this environment are enormous, due to dangerous conditions and exceptional remoteness."
Fernie digs a "milestone" for explorers
The society and its volunteers are undertaking various projects involving caves all over the country, but Bisaro Anima is considered a landmark due to its natural characteristics, It only has one entrance, while many deep caves have multiple entrances, as well as the connection of the plateau with history.
The cave is near Mt. Bisaro, a mountain range that bears the name of infantryman Torindo Bisar born in Fernie, who fell during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. And some underground passages have been named Vimy Ridge, the trenches, Dieppe and Black Watch.
The depths will continue to be explored
Before these last efforts, the group had mapped the cave and established it as the third deepest in Canada at 531 meters. But as they explored more, they discovered that it was even deeper, now at 670 meters, so they want to keep coming back and see what else the cave could reveal.
"Our knowledge of topography and geology puts the depth potential of the system at more than 1,000 meters," said Bruns. "I hope with constant effort that this cave system will also become one of the longest in Canada."