17 Nov 2014

Requiem of Ice

Located on the west face of Mt Hood, The Sandy Glacier Cave system is made up of two large caves, Snow Dragon and Pure Imagination, that extend deep into the glacier and together comprise the largest glacier cave system in the lower 48 states.  A project a year in the making, ‘Requiem of Ice’ reveals the dramatic melting and collapsing of the cave system that has been occurring since its discovery around a decade ago.  Since October 2013, we have made five trips to the Glacier Caves, each time hauling hundreds of pounds of camera gear miles and thousands of feet up in elevation. Our resulting short film, Requiem of Ice, takes the viewer on a visual and narrative odyssey of the cave system, showing the massive scale, as well as the intimate details.

Requiem of Ice from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.

This was a passion project for us inspired by a small thumbnail photograph I had seen in 2005 that showed a person in an extraordinary ice cave. With no information about where on Mt Hood it was or how to get there, it remained an elusive destination until last summer when Oregon Field Guide revealed the cave system in a comprehensive multimedia presentation. We saw a real opportunity and need to give a beautiful and cinematic treatment to the place and create the cave itself as a character.

It is one of the most challenging environments to film in. Not only does its remote location mean hauling our equipment high up on the slopes of Mt Hood, but once inside the cave, the wet, cold, dark, and dirty conditions create a myriad of complications. Additionally, the caves are very dynamic and we had to constantly be vigilant about our safety. There was a staggering amount of structural collapse and rockfall that we observed and managing risk while filming was a top priority.

Peer behind the curtain with this behind-the-scenes video about the making of Requiem of Ice

The cave systems have been mapped and surveyed since 2011 by Brent McGregor and Eddy Cartaya of the Oregon High Desert Grotto and in that time they have discovered more than a mile of caves and passages beneath the Sandy Glacier.

For more information about Cartaya and McGregor’s ongoing exploration of glacier caves, visit the Glacier Cave Explorers Facebook Page

We would like to give acknowledgement and thanks to our industry partners who supported this passion project:

Requiem of Ice script delivered by Tish Iceton

My end is near.
Time will shape my legacy.

[Requiem of Ice]

For ages this sentinel mountain has shadowed me.
Together, we have shaped the land to our design.

I speak the language of water and air
My breath twists and curls across the mountain summit.
I dream into ponds of fog
that splash and flow across the hillsides.
I flush with color at the promise of a new day.
But I feel the fragile balance shifting…

The whispering trickle of summer teardrops
becomes a roar of my departing spirit.
Water drips and seeps into open veins
through scalloped tunnels of time.
I am tortured with roots to a mountain that can no longer sustain me.
I feel weak.

I look inward.
The artists of wind, water and light
each carve in me their signature.
My thirst is not for lack of water,
And winter’s crystals left at my feet are not enough
I retreat deeper into the shadow of the mountain
What will become of me?

I look skyward.
The sun arcs across a blue expanse
and peers into me from the edge of earth
I am illuminated from within by an extraordinary light.
I have no shelter from its relentless heat
It is the light that accents my beauty.
It is the light that will consume me.

I welcome the cold blanket of darkness.
The canvas of stars cools my scalded facade.
Through ceiling eyes I converse with the sweeping heavens.
But the night has begun to flicker with a new yellow flame,
Cold nights now warm and the voice of stars fade.
I feel alone.
What will become of me?

My strength ebbs as the fragile gift of life departs.
With cautious welcome,
I invite the intrepid seeker to share my story.
I remind you of the raw code of Nature.
Despite my open door, I cannot promise your safety
Leave no words unsaid about the elation of a life well lived.
Take with you the memory of our visit
and smile when you think of me.