Couple Trapped in Cave Burn Everything, Including Their Own Hair, To Stay Warm Until Rescue
By Sara Carri
August 19, 2018 at 12:15pm
Birthday celebrations are supposed to be unforgettable. Whether it’s a cozy night in or a dream vacation out, celebrating your birthday should be an enjoyable experience.
But for one couple from Idaho Falls, an unforgettable birthday trip ending in a near-death situation was probably not what they had in mind.
Jessica and Spencer Christiansen are experienced climbers. But even those most familiar with the sport aren’t immune to its dangers.
Spencer’s birthday was coming up and the couple decided to plan an excursion to the Darby Canyon Ice Cave in Wyoming.
According to ABC News, this particular ice cave is unmapped. Though they did as much research as they could leading up to their trip, Spencer and Jessica couldn’t have been prepared for what awaited them in those caves.
“I spent three weeks, nonstop, to try and gather as much info as possible,” Spencer told Good Morning America. “We came up with very little.”
Despite the lack of information about the caves, the couple decided to go anyway. They left their 1-year-old baby girl, Aurora, with her grandma.
Thankfully they also informed their family where they would be. If they hadn’t, the Christiansens might not have survived to tell their tale.
It turned out that the caves were so cold, ice had formed on the walls. When they ended up trapped in a hole just above a waterfall, things took a turn for the worst.
They attempted to climb a rope that appeared to lead out of the cave. Unfortunately, the rope was misleading and only took the couple farther from freedom.
Jessica fell and if Spencer hadn’t caught her, she would have been seriously injured or worse. The caves were freezing, making it near impossible for the pair to get warm.
As they waited for rescuers to appear, the Christiansens burned whatever they could. Nothing was off limits, including wads of their own hair.
It was 30 hours before they were found. By then they were shaking and shivering. “The couple was stuck and unable to move,” Teton County Undersheriff Matt Carr told Jackson Hole News and Guide. “They had gotten soaking wet in this waterfall.”
Carr added that he doesn’t recommend exploring unmapped caves such as this one unless you have experience.
Thankfully, the couple is doing fine. They are grateful for the rescue and to be reunited with their daughter. “It’s really scary to think you’re leaving a child with no parents and no way out,” Jessica said.
They shared this experience has made them realize what’s most important. Spencer mentioned he’d “love to do it again” but said he’ll be better prepared next time.
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