Saturday, August 16, 2008

[trip] Trout Lake Lava Tube Digging and Caving

I went digging this weekend with Claude Koch, the "mad lava tube digger" from the Willamette Valley Grotto. Over the last two or three years, Claude has worked his way into dozens of small new lava tubes and a few really amazing ones. He focuses on the Trout Lake area, a lava flow along the flanks of Mount Adams in WA.

We first dug a bit on Dig 69 Cave - yes, he's got so many that he's resorted to numbering them! We spent around an hour digging on a dirt/silt fill that completely plugs the 3-foot-high tube, and then decided to move onto something more productive. We quickly made a stop at Ottoman Cave to check out a dig that was too tight even for me, and moved on again.

Doug Marchant and Claude Koch outside the entrance of Ottoman Cave.

We then headed over to Dopey Cave, which had about 75 foot of known passage, blocked by breakdown. I headed in and was able to pry a frightening loose block from the ceiling crust and move it out of the way, which enabled Claude and I to scoop around 400 feet of virgin lava tube between 6 and 3 feet tall, with an amazing lava intrusion in the floor.

The entrance to Dopey Cave, which we easily extended by 400 feet.

After a chilly night of camping, Ken Stickney of the Oregon Grotto took me on a tourist trip into Resurrection Cave. This cave features some extremely impressive lava formations, and was discovered only after the dense forest had been cleared.

Ken Stickney poses with the "old lady" in Resurrection Cave (I've forgotten its real name).

Formation Alley in Resurrection Cave features a dense collection of lavacicles.

A lava rose (R) next to an oddly-shaped lavacicle (L) in Resurrection Cave.

See also: more photos from Resurrection Cave

No comments: