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
We leave Cadomin behind and arriving at the
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
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
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
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.
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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