Walking on Fox Glacier

Franz Josef Travel Blog

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Climbing up the glacier. Our guide with the pick axe is cutting steps along the way.
Coming over from Queenstown to the Fox township was quite a ride. The west coast of the island catches a LOT OF RAIN. About 3 times as much as Holland or the UK. On top of that the road winds itself along steep mountainsides. So apart from the torrential downpour my windscreen wipers could hardly cope with there were also improvised waterfalls splashing down the mountain straight onto the road. 'Sheets of water' doesn't even start to describe it, it was more like being stuck in a carwash.
Anyway I got to the Fox township in one piece and got myself on a walking tour of the glacier. Walking over to the glacier itself is not without risks, the valley side where you walk has been carved out and pushed up by the ice mass and is pretty unstable.
Rain gear, walking stick, squarish boots with crampons and woolly socks. Not my flashiest outfit ever but worth it if it means I can walk the monster glacier.
Some parts are monitored by electronic devices attached to the dodgy bits of rock. Once the red light goes on you've got a few seconds to run for cover before rocks the size of small cars crash over the path. On the other side of the valley we could hear and see a few rock slides. It's aptly named 'Paschendaele ridge' after the WWI battle as the sound resembles a rumbling artillery barrage.
The glacier walk itself is pretty nice. The glacier has a blueish color because it's compresssed snow rather than ice, it's also a lot heavier than ice and melts a lot slower. Bits of rock are lodged in the ice as they're pushed up from the bottom. And you could see the 'glacier mud' (sorry, can't remember teh correct word), the stuff they put in beauty products which is basically the dust around which the ice had built up on it's way down forming snowflakes. Pretty awesome to walk on a massive moving piece of ice while you could see rainforest vegetation on the sides of the valley. This glacier sits at one of the lowest altitudes in the world.
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Climbing up the glacier. Our guide…
Climbing up the glacier. Our guid…
Rain gear, walking stick, squarish…
Rain gear, walking stick, squaris…
The path the glacier has carved th…
The path the glacier has carved t…
Franz Josef
photo by: Vikram