One of the disappearing treasures of this warming world is the wonder of ice caves, including those of the awe-inspiring Sandy Glacier ice cave system in Oregon.

A small photograph of the inside the cave sparked the curiosity of photographer Ben Canales, who wanted to find out more about the location. Through his research, he ended up finding a passion project in documenting this melting piece of frozen majesty, creating a time-lapse that shows a wonder of nature. Located on Mount Hood and believed to be the largest glacier cave system in the continental United States, the Sandy Glacier ice cave system is rapidly disappearing and may be gone entirely in as little as 10 years.

For over a year, Canales and John Waller of Uncage the Soul Productions made treks with a team and mounds of equipment up to the cave to film pieces of what became a cohesive whole that inspires wonder and concern about this beautiful place.

The team writes, “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.”

Here is the team's final cut, celebrating and mourning this spectacular cave system.

"Requiem of Ice" from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.

ice cave

Team members inside the cave show a sense of scale.

ice cave

The mood of the cave shifts as the light outside changes at sunrise and sunset.

landscape at sunrise

A spectacular view shows the landscape in which the cave system is located.

ice cave

Cold temperatures couldn't keep the production team away from this beautiful location.

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.