Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chris & Jeremy Safely Exploring The Big Four Ice Caves

What with Washington's Big Four Ice Caves being in the news, for a deadly reason, with one person killed and several injured, after ignoring the warning signs indicating entering the Ice Caves was not safe in warm, let alone, hot weather, I thought I'd share some photos of a safe, winter, frozen visit to the Ice Caves with my nephews, Christopher and Jeremy.

This hike to the Ice Caves took place back in the early 1990s.

Winter is a safe time  to visit the Ice Caves. In late Spring the Spring Thaw brings about new Ice Caves as melting chunks of ice crash down from the steep cliff above, creating a spectacular attraction which attracts a lot of onlookers to look at the cascading chunks of ice  and listen to the explosive cracks of ice.

This pile of ice later morphs into the Ice Caves, becoming safe to enter with the return of freezing in Winter.

The Ice Caves are never safe in Summer. Just look at the below pictures of Chris and Jeremy in the Ice Caves and imagine being so foolish to do on a HOT summer day.

One my Washington website's Cascade Mountains webpage there is a good description of the Ice Caves....

Ice Caves
There is a road called the Mountain Loop Highway that goes from Darrington to Granite Falls. This road is in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. It is the way to Glacier Peak which is one of the 5 volcanoes in Washington, and the least known and most difficult to get to. The Mountain Loop Highway is very close to the lowlands of Puget Sound and is easy to get to and closer than going up to the ski areas on Stevens or Snoqualmie Pass in search of snow to play on. There are many attractions on the Mountain Loop Highway, Mount Pilchuck, Granite Falls (the actual falls, not the town),  Monte Christo, an old mining town which is now a ghost town and a major mountain biking and hiking destination in summer and a cross country skiing destination in winter. But the most unique thing on the Mountain Loop Highway may be the Ice Caves which form every year as the winter's accumulation of snow that has slid off the mountain forms caves as water erodes the ice away. The Ice Caves are about a mile hike from the Highway. There are warning signs. 'Enter the Ice Caves at your own Risk', 'Ice Caves Dangerous on Warm Days'. People have died in the Ice Caves.

In the following three photos we go inside the Ice Caves with Chris and Jeremy.

Above you are looking at Chris and Jeremy looking at HUGE chunks of ice which fell from the Ice Caves during the previous Summer's melting phase. Again, why would anyone ignore the multiple warning signs and enter the Ice Caves on a warm July day?