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Monday, 10 December 2012

Inside the glacier-cave: Amazing underground chamber with giant ice slides that never melt

By MARK PRIGG

Adam Walker inside a newly found cave, called Booming Ice Chasm, beneath the Rocky Mountains. Crystal clear ice is several meters thick and makes people feel like they're flying

These are the stunning images which capture the breathtaking beauty of a new world discovered in an ice chasm beneath the Rocky Mountains.
The cave, called Booming Ice Chasm, was named for it's incredible acoustics - as falling rocks crash and 'boom' when they tumble down the 140 metre deep cave.
The crystal clear ice is several meters thick - and explorers say navigating across it makes them feel like they are flying.

The cave has unique acoustics as falling rocks crash and boom when they tumble down the 140 metre deep cave, making it hard to converse

However, although the water makes people feel like they're flying, one slip can send climbers hurtling down the frozen water slide slamming into the wall below.
Echo makes communication in the 704 metre chasm hard so intrepid explorers Adam Walker, Nick Vieira and Christian Stenner had to wait several seconds after each syllable to make it understandable.
The cave is known as a 'cold-trap cave' where cool winter air settles into the depth and is never able to escape.

Water dripping into the cave's entrance causes a huge ice slide to form, which explorers say is treacherous as the ice is crystal clear and difficult to navigate

As melting snow and rainwater trickle down the cave entrance it's transformed into an amazing natural frozen water slide.
The spectacular snaps were captured by Belgian photographer Francois-Xavier De Ruydts, 30, on an exploration to the Crow's Nest Pass area of Alberta, Canada, in July.
Francois, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, said: 'It's particularly hard to get around when inside the cage - traction devices called crampons are mandatory.

As melting snow and rainwater trickle down the cave entrance, it is transformed into an amazing natural frozen water slide

'It can be fatal if you slip as you slide all the way to the bottom crashing into the wall at a frightening speed.
'The danger in the cave is that once you are down there, if you have a problem, the only way back is to go all the way through where you came from.
'Few injuries in caves are fatal but it can take days to bring an injured person back to the surface and many die of exhaustion and hypothermia in the process.

Explorers say navigating across the crystal clear ice gives them a feeling of flying as they become disoriented

Adam Walker at the entrance to the cave, preparing to descend onto the 'ice slide'

'The additional danger in this cave is the ice - it makes it much harder to get around and much colder.
'Controlling body temperature is such an environment is tough.
'If you don't keep moving, you get very cold very quickly but if you move too much you get very hot.
'Sweating is dangerous because when you stop exercising your sweat will cool down and you can get very, very cold.

Adam Walker inside the Booming Ice Chasm

The entrance to the cave as Adam Walker (left and Christian Stenner (right) prepare to enter through the entrance which helps keep the cave frozen all year round due to a rare natural phenomenon.

source: dailymail

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