Cavers: Kim Luper, Charlie Farnell, and Matthew Farnell
Pillars of Hercules Gate
Trip Report: We were planning to do Pillars of Hercules today, but due to unexpected circumstances were unable to obtain the gate key. Pillars of Hercules is the most decorated cave on Mt. St. Helens, with Kim’s Cave coming in second, so we decided to go to Kim’s Cave instead.
Crawl in Kim’s Cave
We met at the rest stop at 10 a.m. as usual, and headed up the mountain by the power canal. This was a VERY rainy day, and it was just pouring! It was hard to keep all our video, camera, and GPS equipment dry. On the way, we found a small cave (WPT009) that had a standup room and a crawlway with small, thick lava drips in one section. Nothing compared to what we were about to see…
Lava Drips in Kim’s Cave
We found Pillars of Hercules, and I took some pictures of the gate. Then we headed up to Kim’s Cave and got out of the rain. After we had all our photography equipment ready, we headed up the tube, duck-walking and crawling. When we got to the end of the tube, there was a small crawlway off to the right. Kim told us how he had found this cave, and how this crawlway leads to the formation rooms.
Buildup on the Floor
Kim went first, and he had trouble getting through. He went forward, back, forward, back, etc. trying to fit through. He said “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, I couldn’t have gotten that much bigger since last time I was here.” Finally, he backed out, turned around, and went through feet first. Dad went next, and I followed. When dad got through the squeeze, he said “We’re going out a different way, right?” Kim answered, “No, this is the only way out.” Dad said “Great, I don’t know if I can fit through there again!” It was a very tight squeeze over rough lava that catches on your clothes a lot.
The formations were well worth the effort getting here! Worth the squeeze, the rain, and everything!! Lava drips hanging from the ceiling everywhere, and lava castles (or whatever you call them) standing up from the floor. I was trying to video, take pictures, and look around, so I stayed plenty busy. I took 109 pictures, and over 30 minutes of video. I would have taken more pictures, except my battery was running low. I was very impressed with all the formations.
More Lava Drips
We didn’t get to the end of the cave, as it was getting down to a crawl again, and we already had plenty of pictures and video. We headed out, and everyone made it through the squeeze again just fine. It was still raining, so we decided to call it a day and head out to the car. We had spent a couple hours in the cave. The pictures and video turned out awesome! We’ll try to create a DVD or something to show at a Grotto meeting sometime. Pictures are available at http://www.farnellfamily.com/pictures/Spelunking/2004-05_Kims_Cave