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Cadomin Cave
Cadomin, Alberta
30 Aug 08

Early Sunday morning, with a breakfast courtesy of Ronnie's suspiciously churning away in our tummies, Jim and l head off to Cadomin, via Highway 16 to Hinton and then south on HW 40 to Cadomin (population 64) 

Cadomin is located in Yellowhead County known as the Coal Branch, and is located between Lelland and Cadomin Mountains.  Established sometime in the early 1900ís, Cadomin was named after the Canadian Dominion Mine and was a bustling mining town until 1952 when the mine shut down.

We leave Cadomin behind and arriving at the Whitehorse Wildland Provincial Park parking lot, leave the rentaracer behind to it's fate. We follow a dry creek bed up Cadomin Mountain for a couple of km's, until we reach the approach to the cave ....pretty much straight up a root-infested 45 degree pitch that soon changes into a scree slope.  Fortunately this is just about the same time when the light rain that had accompanied us pretty much the entire trip changed to snow. all l can think about is how much fun those wonderfully treacherous roots buried under the snow will be for the family we have just passed wearing open-toe sandals. they must have had great traction in the cave as well...

we arrive at the cave mouth just as two women assist a young girl with a sprained knee out of the cave.  the group has no safety gear with them, save flashlights and great smiles, and cheerfully turn down our efforts to offer to help because one of them works in a dental office...

Jimmie and l gear up, test lights and push in the cave. we quickly pass one struggling party as soon as we get in....their dog is having an issue with the fact it has no traction, cannot see in the dark and has probably been buried in a cave-in from a past life. the second party we pass, much larger, louder and further into the cave, whisper to each other we must be 'professionals' because we are wearing 20 dollar coveralls, have rucksacks and are equipped with helmets...or at least me.  no...l whisper back: we are not professionals....we just know caving is a massively huge safety issue.  and we know how to read.

James and l are then pretty much left to ourselves and quickly reach the 'mess hall' ...probably a couple 100 metres into the cave...see map.  after a little bit of 'groping' about in the dark, we climb through a boulder field to the roof of the 'mess hall' and head into 'Eric's Crawl'. after a challenging climb up a frictionless and featureless 5 m slope, with a decidedly unfriendly drop to the mess hall below, we drop our packs and low crawl into a 0.5 m high 'drift' and make our way along that passage for 20 m.  this route then drops immediately into a 1 m tube that disappears in a vertical drop into the darkness. without ropes, we will not go any further. it is clear we are becoming wimps in our old age.

we then head back into the mess hall and find a 1 m tube heading under another boulder field. neither jim or l can stuff our svelte figures into this tube....this passageway will have to wait until we lose weight or the hole magically increases in diameter.

we also try to get into the 'lower passage'. leaving our gear behind we cram into another 0.5 m crawl and push along a passage for 10 m until we must crawl under a large boulder that has fallen from the cave roof and is now wedged, unsafely in my opinion, in the passageway. jimbo low crawls underneath it to the other side like a champion but my little girl meowing forces him to cross back to the right side of reason and we abandon this passage for another lifetime.

we prowl around the rest of the accessible parts of the cave on the way out, stopping only to offer directions, either in or out, to the people we meet....and given the way some of them were equipped, or weren't, l would not be entirely surprised that some of them are still up there wandering around looking for an exit.

we reach the surface and are greeted with a fairly good early august snowstorm but we get down the side of the mountain in fairly good order and to our surprise, no one has broken into the rentacar.

jim and l then head down to the Whitehorse campsite proper, a place last visited early in 1992 with our spouses. a quick hike up the Whitehorse creek and then we are off back to Edmonton. 

 click on a picture to see a larger image. hit arrows at either end of the slideshow for more pictures.

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blackhartt celebrates that fact that l have come 500m and the lump of coal that passes as my heart has not exploded.

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