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The ice that will never melt: Incredible images show a frozen world deep inside the Canadian Rockies

  • Booming Ice Chasm is a cold-trap cave 459 feet deep inside Sentry Mountain in the Canadian Rockies
  • Water flowing into the cave is chilled by the cold air sweeping in and is permanently frozen solid into giant slides
  • Stunning photographs captured by adventurer Paul Zizka show the dense ice sheets that resemble flowing water

While most climbers like to scale the outside of a mountain, one daring photographer ventured into the depth of the Canadian Rockies to unveil its frozen secret.
Canadian photographer Paul Zizka climbed into the heart of the Booming Ice Chasm, a 459 feet deep fissure inside Sentry Mountain, to capture a world that will never melt.
Inside, crystal clear blue sheets of ice slides line the chasm. Because of the ice’s solidity, some explorers have described moving along its surface as a feeling like flying.

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Deep blue, and sometimes green, sheets of ice are said to make the climber feel as if though they are flying in the air (pictured above)

 

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The slides, some several feet deep, are formed as a result of water trickling into the cave being frozen solid by the cold air trapped inside

The slides were formed when rainwater and snow trickled down into the cave’s entrance before freezing solid.
Their undisturbed surface looks almost liquid but the ice is several feet deep.

Booming, named after its acoustics, is known as a ‘cold-trap cave’ where winter air enters but is unable to escape, keeping the slides frozen.
Their appearance has been compared to giant blue tongues, sliding into the abyss below.
Zizka visited the chasm earlier this year with guides Andrew Fairhurst and Jeff Smith.

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Closer to the surface of the cave, Booming Ice Chasm looking almost like any other cave as water trickles into the frozen world below

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The explorers take a moment to have a picnic (above) before continuing with the exploration of the treacherous terrain in semi-darkness

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Booming is named after its acoustics. One of the things that makes exploring it difficult is the continuous echoes inside the cave

He said: ‘Places like the chasm are one-of-a-kind and are to be treasured.
‘Being able to document such a surreal place was certainly a highlight of my career as a photographer.
‘And it was also probably one of the most technically challenging photo opportunities I have ever had as well.’
Communication inside the chasm can be extremely difficult due to a never-ending echo.
Zizka explained: ‘Besides the darkness and the technical terrain, the acoustics make it quite hard to communicate with the rest of the team.
This means when speaking to each other, the explorers had to wait seconds after each syllable.
However, the chasm has proven to be one of the best places that the photographer has visited.
Zizka, who specialises in mountain landscape and adventure photography said: ‘I think I have seen my share of cool places, but words escaped me as I saw the tongue of blue ice vanish into the depths of Sentry Mountain.’

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Photographer Paul Zizka said of his journey, ‘Words escaped me as I saw the tongue of blue ice vanish into the depths of Sentry Mountain.’

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Although the entrance of Booming might thaw in warmer weather, inside the cave, the cold air never escapes so the freeze continues

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Enormous ice slides (pictured above) have formed deep inside Booming Ice Chasm underneath Sentry Mountain in the Canadian Rockies

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Icy surface of the slides make navigation extremely difficult. Climbers have to use ice spikes on their shoes and follow a rope trail (above)

 



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