The only thing harder than taking pictures inside a cave, is taking pictures inside a cave in 2007.

This is the entrance to the Rats Nest cave under Grotto mountain just outside Canmore. On the right is a metal grate that blocks access to the cave. On the left, the white dot is a helmet, presumably attached to somebody’s head as they descend into the darkness. If you want to access the Rats Nest Cave the easiest way is to take a guided tour:
Shortly after entering the cave you stop and gear up for an 18m long repel into the darkness. Most would find this exhilarating, but Geo decides the top of a long repel into a dark cave would be an excellent place for a nap while he waits for his turn.
Double checking everything before leaning back and descending into whatever lies below. You are free to control your own belay device, but the guide has a backup rope as well, just-in-case.
See you guys later! (I hope). Fun facts about this cave:
– Bones in the cave have been found to be up to 7000 years old
– It is estimated humans have used this cave as long as 3000 years ago
– It is a comfortable 5 degrees C inside the cave year-round. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter.
I have repelled countless times while rock climbing but dropping down into a cave is an entirely different experience. The rats nest cave is one of the longest and deepest caves in Canada. It has over 4Km of passages and is up to 245meteres deep.
Having survived the repel it is time to explore some of the tight passages. The restrictions get smaller and there are opportunities to bail out if you feel uncomfortable. I must admit, squeezing through a small space with all that mountain on top of you is a mental challenge to convince yourself this is a fine idea.
Soda-straw stalactites. I can never keep this straight, but stalactites hang from the ceiling, and stalagmites are the ones on the cave floor. I assume it is the opposite in Australia but cannot confirm this.
First squeeze is a bit small but totally manageable.
Sian is ether impressed by the next squeeze or forgot somebody at home while she left for Christmas Vacation.
Just enough room in the next squeeze to give a thumbs up.
Caving is fun! Do yourself a favor, sign up for a tour with Canmore caving adventures and repel into the dark under a giant mountain, seems perfectly reasonable!


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