Located on the west face of Mt Hood, The Sandy Glacier Cave system is made up of two large caves, Snow Dragon and Pure Imagination, that extend deep into the glacier. A project a year in the making, ‘Requiem of Ice’ reveals the dramatic melting and collapsing of the cave system that has been occurring since its discovery around a decade ago.
The cave systems have been mapped and surveyed since 2011 by Brent McGregor and Eddy Cartaya of the Oregon High Desert Grotto and in that time they have discovered more than a mile of caves and passages beneath the Sandy Glacier. McGregor and Cartaya’s exploration of the cave system was featured in a 2013 multimedia presentation produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting. opb.org/glaciercaves/
Since October, 2013, John Waller and Ben Canales of Uncage the Soul Productions have made five trips to the Sandy Glacier Caves on Mt Hood, the largest glacier cave system in the lower 48 states, documenting the extraordinary deterioration and collapse of these stunningly beautiful caves. The resulting short film takes the viewer on a visual odyssey of the cave system, showing the massive scale, as well as the intimate details. Waller and Canales scripted an artistic narrative interpretation of the final thoughts of the glacier cave to accompany the time-lapse, high speed, and aerial footage that was produced.
It is one of the most challenging environments to film in. Not only does its remote location mean hauling hundreds of pounds of equipment high up on the slopes of Mt Hood, but once inside the cave, the wet, cold, dark, and dirty conditions create a myriad of complications. There was a staggering amount of structural collapse and rockfall that was observed and managing risk while filming was a top priority.
Music: 'Death of a Quiet One' by Lowercase Noises licensed through themusicbed.com
For ages this sentinel mountain has shadowed me.
Together, we have shaped the land to our design.
I speak the language of water and air
My breath twists and curls across the mountain summit.
I dream into ponds of fog
that splash and flow across the hillsides.
I flush with color at the promise of a new day.
But I feel the fragile balance shifting…
The whispering trickle of summer teardrops
becomes a roar of my departing spirit.
Water drips and seeps into open veins
through scalloped tunnels of time.
I am tortured with roots to a mountain that can no longer sustain me.
I feel weak.
I look inward.
The artists of wind, water and light
each carve in me their signature.
My thirst is not for lack of water,
And winter’s crystals left at my feet are not enough
I retreat deeper into the shadow of the mountain
What will become of me?
I look skyward.
The sun arcs across a blue expanse
and peers into me from the edge of earth
I am illuminated from within by an extraordinary light.
I have no shelter from its relentless heat
It is the light that accents my beauty.
It is the light that will consume me.
I welcome the cold blanket of darkness.
The canvas of stars cools my scalded facade.
Through ceiling eyes I converse with the sweeping heavens.
But the night has begun to flicker with a new yellow flame,
Cold nights now warm and the voice of stars fade.
I feel alone.
What will become of me?
My strength ebbs as the fragile gift of life departs.
With cautious welcome,
I invite the intrepid seeker to share my story.
I remind you of the raw code of Nature.
Despite my open door, I cannot promise your safety
Leave no words unsaid about the elation of a life well lived.
Take with you the memory of our visit
and smile when you think of me.