View Full Version : Trip Report TR Darby Canyon Ice Caves

08-24-2005, 03:39 PM
There isn't really a forum for Caving, so I'll just throw this one in here.

The Darby Canyon Ice cave/ Wind Cave is an extensive system of caves. to do the Ice/Wind loop requires 8-10 hours of actual "in the cave" time. The caves are located in the Tetons east of Driggs, ID.

Sam, Devan, Summers, and I, drove up to Idaho friday night 7/29/05. Met my Dad at his house, loaded up and headed up to Darby Canyon. We hiked the 2.5 miles to the base of the Wind Cave, made camp, and Sam, Devan and I took the exit rope back to the pit in the wind cave. We had a nice meal of a variety of Mountain House back packer's meals, and went to bed.

In the morning, we were up early, ate some of the most disgusting camp food I've ever had (some hashbrowns my dad picked up somewhere). We hiked up to the entrance of the Ice Cave and the fun began.

The entrance had ice as usual. THe walls are coated in crystals, the floor is a solid sheet. The ice room has been frozen over for several years, and it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon.

The first rappel, a 45 degree down the ice actually had a short approach down some ice, so we were glad that Dad brought his little crampons. We decended the 45 degree, and left our rope. Then I rappelled down the 70 foot frozen waterfall and crawled through the big squeeze, after which the ice ends, to make sure the way was clear.

After the all clear, everyone else descended and we pulled our ropes. There was some confusion in one of the waterfall rooms, but we navigated the cave pretty well. Crotch lake was painfully cold. I chose to go through with just my helmet and head lamp on. Everybody had their methods.

Summers and Dad and I got lost in the maze room last time, but Summers remembered it really well and found the exit easily. Sam and I had already headed down the false exit when Summers found the real one, but we easily back tracked and made our way to the pit.

When we got to the pit, there were a ton of "not-so-expert" cavers there. A whole group of them. Devan and I were excited to see people, having been in the cave for 7 hours at this time. We started yelling hello's and greetings, but they either didn't hear us, or pretended we weren't there. I was getting so frustrated that i finally yelled "Show us your tits!" Unfortunately that didn't get their attention either, so Devan and I climbed out.

Sam followed me and Devan, and that was our only real mistake the whole trip. We left the two weakest members of the party down a 20 foot ascension. Well, it almost killed my dad to get out. I'm glad Summers was still down there. Dad would have fallen for sure if he hadn't been. When we finally got Dad out, Summers came up and I let Sam, Devan and summers go on ahead. My dad was really out of gas. He was really slow going through the squeezes in the wind cave, but eventually, we made it out into the natural light that you miss so much when you're in a cave for 7.5 hours.

Sam and Devan had set up a rappell over the waterfall that exits the wind cave, which we all descended except dad. He just took the trail, even though i'm sure it took more energy to do that. The hike down to the car took about 2 hours, and we drove back to Driggs and ate at O'rourke's. Here are some pictures.

Thatt's Me, Dad, Summers, Sam and Devan
Caving can be hard work.
Summers and Devan, my rear end.
Dad, looking a little goofy, going off the 70' ice rappell.
A little hard to see, but shows how the walls of the cave were.

These caves are a lot of fun, but very technical. PM me if you are interested in doing them.

08-24-2005, 04:00 PM
if there's a better forum to put this in, would you do it please sombeech. Probably Canyoneering would be the closest fit.


03-08-2011, 08:19 PM
Has this been surveyed?
If you know of one could I get a map of this cave system.

03-22-2011, 01:40 PM
I see you're looking for information on the Darby Canyon Ice Fight Club. I don't frequent this forum as often as i used to, so I miss out on the PMs sometimes. Email me at price1869@gmail.com if you want more info.