Trekking On A Glacier
El Calafate Travel Blog› entry 9 of 117 › view all entries
Another long bus ride, this time a 23-hour overnighter, with some more films from the scrapings of the Lidl bargain bin and some Spanish bingo (I could have won, I wouldn´t have a clue though if I had), we´re now in our next destination, El Calafate. Still in the Patagonian region of Argentina but much further south, the climate is of course a lot different. Still with sunshine for the most part, there is a cold wind clipping the edge off the temperature (nudge, nudge, subbies), and a freshness familiar to anyone who has been skiing before. It is a touristy but quaint area, with a population of probably only a few tens of thousands.
The main attraction is the Los Glaciares National Park, home to a giant ice cap, feeding 47 large glaciers.
Today we had signed up for one of the many treks that are offered in the town, to visit Perito Moreno, the biggest of the glaciers at the park. The price of the expeditions seem to be locked in price between all the companies, and at 250 potatoes we were at the top end of our budget, but the day was worth every penny. I wouldn´t have thought it possible, but the Iguazu water falls were really matched with the awe you get from the giant ice structure at the park.
After being picked up early from our hostel in a mini-bus, we arrived at the glacier, where balconies overlooking the glacier provided perfect photo opportunities. The views are, as hopefully you can tell from some of the photos, were stunning, and well worth all the walking up and down stairs to get the best views.
As we inspected the glacier, bits of ice came crashing down every so often, melting in the summer sun. People were keen to catch it happening on film, but it was one of those blink and you´ll miss it type things. There was also an instance of a large section of ice surfacing from under the water, springing out and crashing down, creating ripples for minutes after. And if the visuals weren´t enough, you could hear the sound of avalanches coming from the adjacent mountains, at times as loud as distant thunder.
Then after lunch we were taken via boat to the other side of the glacier and fitted with crampons.
We had two guides to take us up - who were both a couple of characters. Kyle wasn´t impressed that I had pointed out that our leader was rather dreamy. But he was.
In the summer sun, some of the ice had melted away, creating giant gaps and holes in the structure, creating seemingly never-ending wells, and streams where you could have some self-service mineral water.
We trekked for about an hour and a half, and the reward at the end was some whisky with ice cubes cut from the glacier. I hate the stuff, but drank anyway, just for novelty factor/not wanting to look like a sissy.