ASWWU Outdoors

Students explore PNW caves during ASWWU Outdoors trip near Mt. Adams


Ivan Snyder, junior engineering major, led 25 students on a weekend caving trip near Trout Lake, Washington, in November. The group stayed at Camp Jonah, a Christian camp and retreat center at the base of Mt. Adams.

Snyder was an officer of the caving club his freshman year at Southern Adventist University and was president of the club his sophomore year. He has also been a member of multiple grottos — official caving clubs. “Caving is one of my passions,” said Snyder. “I have been doing it since I was eight or nine years old.”

“The purpose of this trip was to give people a taste of what the world of caving has to offer,” said Snyder. “Caves are extremely fragile environments so the best way to teach proper caving techniques and introduce people to safe caving habits is through taking them on trips.”

After a night at Camp Jonah, the group set out on their caving expedition. They began their day by exploring a fairly easy cave, called Mile Long Cave. Then they split up into two groups before entering into Deadhorse Cave, where they spent two hours in the maze of passageways. One group went through more moderately spaced caves, whereas the other group did some more advanced caving that was a bit more difficult. This included crawling through very narrow and small pathways, requiring students to squeeze through on their stomachs before climbing steep ledges that were challenging to get up and down.

Snyder said that every student who participated enjoyed the trip and that many realized there was a whole new world underground that they never knew existed. The ASWWU Outdoors caving trip provided students with an opportunity to explore and grow, allowing them to improve skills and overcome obstacles that they didn't think were possible.

“Caving is a cool, unique activity to explore some areas of the Pacific Northwest rarely seen,” said Tyler Humphries, senior engineering major and director of ASWWU Outdoors. “It is an adventure we wanted to take students on.”

Future ASWWU Outdoors adventures include ice skating, cross-country and downhill skiing trips, camping opportunities, mountaineering training at Mt. Hood, as well as snowshoeing in Leavenworth.

ASWWU Outdoors first winter event, cross-country skiing, will take place this weekend. To view the ASWWU Outdoors winter schedule, visit For more information follow @aswwu.outdoors on Instagram.

Posted Jan. 10, 2019

WWU student shining a flashlight up into the sky at nighttime in the forest.
Photo courtesy of ASWWU Photo