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Shooting video inside ice cave on Mount Hood

by: COURTESY OF OPB - The entrance to Snow Dragon Cave on Mount Hood, location for the opening episode of 'Oregon Field Guide's' 25th season. After seeing an amateur video of a rock climbers' expedition down into a Mount Hood ice cave, OPB reporter Amelia Templeton and producer Ed Jahn took the story idea to "Oregon Field Guide" host Steve Amen.

Management gave the go-ahead for an expensive five days of camping and spelunking at 6,000 feet, near the McNeil Shelter.

Their amazing journey under the snow-capped mountain will kick off the 25th season of "Oregon Field Guide" on Oct. 10.

A team made up of volunteers from the Oregon High Desert Grotto and various search and rescue groups are mapping the caves each year and tracking their growth rate. What television brought was bright lights and broadcast-quality gear (plus a swarm of Canon DSLR cameras, one Canon C-300 and GoPros). 

They worked 20 hours a day to keep up with the action. They entered through a moulin, which is like an ice elevator shaft formed by rain and meltwater. (When the noon sun shines into it, rocks come loose and pelt anyone below.) The cave is a long series of chambers over bedrock.

"I was scared at first, but when we had gone half a mile along the bottom, it became the most elating experience of my life," Templeton says. "I felt really safe being with people who knew how to manage it."

The gorgeous images will be broadcast Oct. 10 and will be posted when available at www.opb.org/glaciercaves. As Jahn said at the show’s anniversary bash, "It's impossible to keep the location a secret, and people will go there. But it's very dangerous. Don't tell them I sent you!"

— Joseph Gallivan