They Were Trapped in an Ice Cave. They Started Burning Hair

'We only had about an hour or two before we would've died,' Jessica Christiansen says
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2018 10:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – An Idaho couple was rescued this week from an ice cave in Wyoming with a little less hair than they entered with. By Sunday night, Spencer and Jessica Christiansen were sure they were staring death in the face. Drenched by a waterfall inside the mazelike Darby Canyon Ice Cave, where they were lost for 30 hours, the experienced climbers and parents of a 1-year-old daughter became so cold they couldn't move and took to burning their packs and hair as hypothermia set in. "It's really scary to think you're leaving a child with no parents," but "we knew we only had about an hour or two before we would've died," Jessica, 24, tells ABC News, which notes it was so cold that the couple's oranges had frozen solid.

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The pair were dressed in jeans and hoodies, per the Jackson Hole News & Guide. Still, they had spent three weeks researching the unmapped cave. Spencer, 27, says they got lost relying on "incorrect information." But the scares kept coming. At one point, Spencer caught his wife as she fell 20 feet from a frozen waterfall, ABC reports. Had he not, she says she would've fallen another 30 feet and possibly died. Luckily, family members had alerted authorities when the couple didn't return by Sunday morning. "They found us ... right before we had to burn the last of what we had left," Jessica says. The Christiansens, with a better understanding of "what's important and what's not," were helped out and treated for frostbite. (Read more rescue stories.)

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