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LBNM: Crystal Ice Cave [2]
Lava Beds National Monument

A view of the ice flow on the upper level of Crystal Ice Cave in Lava Beds National Monument near Tulelake, California.  One has to descend & ascend the ice river using two ropes.  A large ice fall formation is in view, the first of many more upon descent.  Note the suspended floating stick in the ice flow near the wall.

I recognize the stitching quality is terrible as many features are not as they truly appear in the cave.  It was hard to do this w/ limited time while taking flash photos by hand, let along dealing w/ moving objects in the dark.  While a tripod would've greatly reduced parallax issues & enhanced quality, this at least gives the basic overview of what the cave looks like at the roped area.  Descending & ascending this ice flow is not as bad as it appears, though there is always the risk of a slip.

Because this cave is still used for scientific research & contains a rich beauty of formations that is unlike many other caves in the vicinity, its location is kept secret from the general public (I have incorrectly placed it on the map for that reason).  This cave is open for tours during Winter months & is limited to six people per tour (plus the park ranger guide).  I'd strongly recommend signing up for a tour if you are able, though spaces are competitive.

Copyright: Pix
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 13200x6600
Uploaded: 31/01/2012
Updated: 15/02/2012
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More About Lava Beds National Monument

Lava Beds National Monument is located near the city of Tulelake, California in Siskiyou & Modoc Counties.  It lies at the northern flank of the Medicine Lake Caldera to the south.  It was established in 1925 & houses a variety of volcanic features, faults, caves, history, & archaological sites.Much of the northern part of the monument contains history of prehistoric use of the area.  Pictographs & petroglyphs can be found inscribed on rocks at nearby cliffs and caves.  The Modoc War (1872-1873) was fought at Captain Jacks Stronghold, an effort for Modoc Indians to protect their territory from US army forces.The southern part is known for its caves, craters, and lava flows.  The Cave Loop is a popular area to explore several main caves in the park.  These caves are known as lava tubes & contain unique features such as lava shelves, lavacicles, skylights, cupolas, aa & pahoehoe floors, as well as narrow passages short enough one has to crawl through.  Make sure to have a flashlight, a hard hat, & knee pads when exploring.  Some caves even have ice formations & one cave, Mushpot Cave, has a lighted pathway & interactive signs.  The longest lava tube in California, Catacombs Cave, is located in the monument along the Cave Loop.The area is situated in a semi-arid environment w/ a juniper and sagebrush setting.  The wildlife is abundant w/ plenty of bird species in nearby Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge to the north.  Views of Mt. Shasta to the southwest, the Warner Mountains to the east, & a good portion of the Klamath Basin & Southern Oregon to the north make this area a picturesque location.  One campground is located in the park near the visitor center, but is limited in spaces.Being relatively small in size compared to other parks in the USA, there is plenty to see above ground & underground.Source Wikipedia