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Skyrim:Castle Karstaag Caverns

< Skyrim: Places: Caves
Castle Karstaag Caverns
(view on map)
# of Zones 1
Clearable Yes
Dungeon Yes
Respawn Time 10 days or 30 days
Level Min: 6
Bristlebacks, Rieklings
Console Location Code(s)
DLC2CastleKarstaagRuins01, DLC2CastleKarstaagRuinsExterior01, DLC2CastleKarstaagRuinsExterior02, DLC2CastleKarstaagRuinsExterior03, DLC2CastleKarstaagRuinsExterior04, DLC2CastleKarstaagRuinsExterior05
Northwest of Saering's Watch
North-northeast of Mortrag Peak
Castle Karstaag Caverns

Castle Karstaag Caverns is a medium-sized cave on the north coast of Solstheim containing bristlebacks and rieklings.

Related QuestsEdit



The entrance is southeast of Castle Karstaag Ruins above a tall waterfall that plunges to an inlet by the sea. The path to the entrance descends from the west-southwest to the stream feeding the waterfall, with a second stream flowing from the entrance joining the first at the top of the waterfall.

Castle Karstaag CavernsEdit

Entrance tunnel

The entrance leads into a tunnel with a stream flowing down the right side and a path to the left. A snowberry bush is just inside the entrance. The path leads west past a pair of ice pillars to a short waterfall dropping from above, with an opening to the south connecting to a huge cavern. The cavern features three bridges at different heights over a lake; several rieklings can be seen running across the bridges. To the left on a patch of ice in the lake is the corpse of Esmond Tyne, the target for Glover Mallory's quest.

Main cavern

If you dive into the water and swim due south, you will eventually find an apprentice-locked chest, a medium coin purse, and a leveled greatsword. A method of waterbreathing and a light spell are recommended. Opposite the body of Esmond Tyne, an ice ramp ascends from the water to the west side of the lowest bridge. Across the bridge to the east is the first of several riekling camps. One riekling patrols the bridge, a second wanders the camp, and a third stands on a lookout platform at the back of the camp.

In the camp on the east side of the bridge, a tent on the right contains a random dagger and (like most riekling tents) a hay pile that can be used to sleep. The lookout platform contains two coin purses, one medium and one small. Just north of the platform is a riekling hut, another tent, and a knapsack next to an ingredient barrel.

Returning to the west side of the bridge, the ice ramp connects to a narrow tunnel ascending to the west, with two rieklings on a ledge above to the right. The tunnel soon turns north and emerges in a small chamber. To the right, a random mace lies among the rocks in a dead end. To the left, three rieklings stand near a campfire below a fenced ledge. To the west is a short tunnel leading to a door.

Beyond the door, the tunnel becomes partly flooded and turns north. Just past the turn, a novice-locked door to the right opens to a cell containing a large coin purse and a random war axe. The tunnel continues to a fork. To the right heading east is another door, while to the left heading west are two more doors to the north and south. The novice-locked north door reveals a cell containing an empty random soul gem. The apprentice-locked south door opens to another cell containing a dead riekling, a bundle of riekling spears, and a lockpick.

Beyond the door to the east, another tunnel ascends, turns south, and emerges on the ledge above the previous campfire. To the right are three barrels, with a random sword, a random healing potion, and a random potion among the barrels. To the left, the ledge continues into a short tunnel leading east to a riekling camp on another ledge above the lake. As you exit the tunnel, a riekling will burst from the snow ahead, and a second will emerge from a tent behind the first. To the right of the tunnel exit are two crates, one of which has a random bow on top, with a quiver of random arrows and a sack among the crates. To the left of the tunnel exit is a food barrel, another barrel, a sack, and another tent. Northeast of the tent is a lookout platform containing a riekling and a medium coin purse. Near the first tent from which the reikling had emerged is a third tent and a bridge crossing the cavern to the east. Beyond the bridge on the near side, the narrow ledge to the south turns west around a corner to a ledge above the two rieklings near the west side of the first bridge. This higher ledge features a riekling hut and three random soul gems, two of which are filled, on the ground or in a toppled basin.

Bristleback cavern

To the east on the far side of the bridge are three tents, with rieklings in two of the tents. Next to the first tent at the end of the bridge is a food barrel, another barrel, and a sack. Just to the north, the second tent contains a random war axe. To the south is the third tent and a riekling hut. To the east, a tunnel ascends to a fenced ledge overlooking another cavern. Along the fence are three collections of barrels, crates, and sacks, which include two food barrels, three sacks, and an apothecary's satchel and a random helmet on one of the crates. To the south, the ledge connects to another tunnel leading back to the west. To the north, the ledge descends to the main level of the cavern, which contains a lookout platform, a riekling, an open pen holding three bristlebacks, and a waterfall near the southeast wall. Outside the pen are two food barrels, three sacks, and a crate, with a random potion next to the crate, while an alcove to the southwest contains a novice-locked chest and a large coin purse.

The tunnel leading west at the top of the ledge ends at a door that opens onto another ledge above the lake. The ledge features a riekling in a tent, a riekling barrel next to two crates, and a bridge crossing the cavern to the west. On the far side of the bridge is a small ledge, where a second bridge crosses to the southwest to a pair of tents and a riekling hut guarded by two more rieklings. The tent nearest the hut contains a random weapon, with a chest next to the tent. Near the tent and chest is a small stream fed by three waterfalls at the top of a large waterfall plunging to the lake below. Across the stream is a lootable skeleton, a leveled mace, and a leveled shield. Another lootable skeleton hangs over the edge of the ledge above the stream between two of the three waterfalls; the skeleton can be dislodged using the Unrelenting Force shout. A chest, a large coin purse, and a random sword on the same ledge can be reached by careful use of the Whirlwind Sprint shout. Another coin purse can be found on a ledge under the bridge.

North of the two tents near the end of the second bridge, climbing the ice leads to another ledge. Beyond a narrow gap to the northeast is a piece of random armor, a medium coin purse, and an adept-locked chest. Returning to the two tents, a door to the west leads to a tunnel which ascends and turns north. Just past the turn is a small fence surrounding a sack, two unusable barrels, and two crates, with a leveled potion of resist cold, a leveled healing potion, a pair of leveled gauntlets, a small coin purse, and the Castle Kaarstag key among the barrels and crates. At the top of the tunnel is the exit to Castle Karstaag Courtyard.


  • The three random soul gems on the ledge may have fallen into the snow and not be visible, but searching the snow will enable you to retrieve them.
  • The chest on the ledge at the top of the cavern can be reached by climbing on top of the hut next to the stream, using Whirlwind Sprint into the nearby wall to the southeast, and using mountain climbing techniques to ascend the rest of the way.
  • The Castle Kaarstag key opens the master-locked exit to Solstheim from Castle Karstaag Ruins.
  • Castle Karstaag Caverns also appears in Bloodmoon, as part of the interior of Castle Karstaag.


  • You may become stuck in an icy crevice in the bristleback cavern. The crevice is above the bristleback pen, on the far side of the fence near the crate holding the apothecary's satchel and random helmet.