Students climb through caves on expedition

Students descend into the Ice Caves. The ORC offers caving expeditions to BYU-Idaho students for $9. Transportation, head-lamps and helmets are provided. Cali Blodgett | Scroll Photography

Equipped with helmets, head lamps and sturdy clothes, students descended into the Ice Caves June 15.

Exploring wild cave systems is among the various outdoor activities offered at BYU-Idaho.

“Caving’s pretty safe, there’s usually only one way in and one way out, just be careful and always go with someone who’s been through that cave before a few times,” said Alex Zaleski, a junior studying mechanical engineering.

Zaleski said that Rexburg is ideally situated for future cave explorers.

The Snake River valley was created by volcanic activity and many caves are formed from collapsed lava tubes.

There are over 45,000 listed caves in the United States according to the National Speleological Society.  Speleology is the science of cave study. There are many more caves that are not listed, and caves that are rarely explored.

Rexburg is close to several of these cave systems. Cavers should make sure they have all the necessary equipment before they head into the caves.

“If you go to the ice caves, you better be prepared to get wet and crawl and slide on your hands and knees,” said Arlen Beck, a freshman studying business management. “It was an awesome experience. I have never been to the ice caves before and have never done anything like it. It was a really good new experience for me.”

Different equipment will be needed as the level of difficulty varies from easy to extreme.

“We wear helmets because the school requires it, and it’s probably not a good idea to go without them, I wouldn’t do it because I hit my head all the time, even though I’ve been before,” Zaleski said.

Will Hillebrand, a senior studying accounting, said that caving can be a fun thing for couples to do together.

“The Outdoor Activities program and the Activities program in general offer so many different fun and good things to do in the area that no longer does the phrase, ‘there’s nothing to do in Rexburg,’ have any merit,” Hillbrand said.

More information about caving expeditions can be found on the BYU-I Outdoor Activities page on Facebook.

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