Honorable Mention: Mapping the Ice Caves


For Tyson Gillard, Outdoor Project‘s CEO, a January 4th trip up Mount Hood to get a first hand look at the Sandy Glacier Ice Caves started a chain of events that would make for the business’ most notable achievement of 2014. Eric Guth, a well-recognized photographer who we’re honored to have as an Outdoor Project contributor, guided Tyson and his wife, Emily.

The earliest reports of the ice cave network on Mount Hood are from 2000, but it wasn’t fully discovered and documented until 2011. The Sandy Glacier Ice Caves were profiled in the fall of 2013 on what is currently the most watched episode of Oregon Field Guide. The three caves, Pure Imagination, Snow Dragon and Frozen Minotaur, make up the largest discovered glacier cave network in the contiguous United States. As a Portland-based outdoor adventure platform, we had to see these caves, experience them, and share their magic.

Getting to the Sandy Glacier Ice Caves, especially in the winter, is no easy feat. The journey requires a glacier crossing, navigating high winds and icy footing. Although reaching the caves is easier in the summer, the warm conditions make it much more dangerous inside the caves. Rocks lodged in the glacier ice can fall from the cave ceilings. In the winter it happens to a lesser extent, making it a safer time to explore the cave system.

We weren’t the first people to visit the caves, but by using our process for covering outdoor adventures, we compiled one of the first visual guides and map with detailed directions on how to reach them. It was important to provide a guide to the caves; it allowed us to share the scientific information and safety considerations anyone making the trip should know.

Our published guide to the caves caught the attention of Oregon Field Guide. Ed Jahn, a producer for the program, was interested in combining our field guides with their television content. For 25 years the show, which airs on OPB, has combined outdoor inspiration and education, two things we hold dear. Thanks in a large part to the January adventure, we created a partnership with Oregon Field Guide to provide maps and guides to all of the areas they cover on the program. The guide to the Sandy Glacier Ice Caves, along with many other adventures, is downloadable on our website and on OPB’s as well.

For the Fifth Annual Athletic & Outdoor industry celebration, we called on all entrepreneurs, athletes, designers, outdoorsmen and women to tell us their A&O stories. We will be featuring four of the seven winning entries on the website in the days to come. The top three storytellers will be presenting their tales at the December 3rd annual event. Come hear their adventures and join in on the fun. Register Today