Inside the California Crystal Ice Cave
California inspires daydreams of golden beaches packed with sun-kissed bikini babes. So we were just as surprised as everyone else when we heard about the winter wonderland that is the Crystal Ice Cave.
Located in Northern California, the Lava Beds National Monument boasts over 700 caves, some of which feature striking ice formations, formed by the Medicine Lake Shield Volcano 65,000 years ago. Of the 700+ caves, the most popular is the Crystal Ice Cave.
Bookings to visit the cave are incredibly competitive, with once a week tours of only six people at a time permitted.
Visitors have to book up to three weeks in advance, be in great physical condition and bring most of their own equipment. The tours are three hours long and are said to be absolutely spectacular.
The Crystal Ice Cave features some of the most spectacular ice formations in the world, with enchanting frozen waterfalls resembling something out of a Disney movie.
Visitors must be physically up to the task of ascending a sheer 50-foot long sloped ice floor on a rope, as well as being able to crawl through tight places and maneuver through boulder-strewn and icy areas.
The Crystal Ice Cave is a lava tube that collects and traps freezing cold air which create its amazing natural ice sculptures, and was discovered in the early 1900s.
Hundreds of people used to visit the Crystal Ice Cave as a way to cool off. Access was soon limited as the ice began to melt due to human contact and condensation.
Restrictions have tightened over the past decade with only eight trips with six visitors each making the journey this past year.
Currently, visitors are only able to explore the caves on a Saturday during December and March. Most of the other caves are still able to be explored.
During the summer months, the Crystal Ice Cave is closed to visitors as the air in the caves gets too warm and human contact would accelerate the potential melting even further.
Sadly it’s thought that the striking ice formations will be lost in the near future due to the effects of climate change. So it’s best to book in to see this wonder of the natural world before it’s too late.
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