Mini Trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier

El Calafate Travel Blog

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Mini trekking

So on to our first real adventure of the trip • Mini Trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier.

 

We managed to get up at a reasonable hour for a change (7:30) in order to get up for breakfast and ready for the bus to pick us up for the trip there.

 

Breakfast was a nice surprise, homemade apple tart and toast from homemade bread. With Calafate jam. Calafate is apparently a small berry similar to blueberry. Alejandro again, ever the host, made us some tea for the trip to put in our flask.

 

We were picked up at 8:30 and the sun was starting to rise.

Follow the sun
Feels really strange having the sun rise at that time. Awesome sunrise though. The bus trip lasted about 2 hours including a stop to get tickets for the Los Glaciers National Park (est 1890’s). The drive is quite scenic as it takes you through 3 different types of vegetation: Steppes, intermediate and forest. On the steppes (basically semi-desert), the wind really pumps, up to 180km/h in summer and can get to -20 degrees in winter. Apparently it hit -60 a couple of years ago. Not somewhere I would want to be.

 

The intermediate part is strange. There are the odd trees with no structure and branches growing out at random angles. Being Autumn, the leaves are all in different stages of decay and very pretty. All the shades from green through yellow, red and brown. The forest is only very close to the glacier.

 

You also get to see a lot more of Lago Argentino.

Glaciers, spiky.
At its widest, about 100km wide and 1km deep.

 

We arrived at the stop and got onto a boat to take us on a short trip across the Rico branch of the lake to the foot of the glacier. It is magnificent. All I could think was: “So much ice, so little vodka”.

 

From there a short hike to the edge and then a lecture on how glaciers form, the status of the Perito Moreno Glacier (stable) and some stats (3rd biggest ice field in the world after Antarctica and Greenland) and how to walk with crampons (feet apart to avoid getting tangled up). Once kitted up with the crampons it was time to head onto the ice. Quite a challenge to get used to, and trust, that you won’t just slide off down the ice.

 

The guides were really good and looked after us.

We get the real ice bar experience
As per normal, our group included a South African and German couple.

 

We trekked around on the ice for about 2 hours before heading back for our packed lunches. The glacier is seriously impressive. The colours, size and scale are nothing short of phenomenal. The face of the glacier is about 50 metres above the surface. At its thickest the glacier is about 700 metres deep.

 

We were really nervous that we were going to freeze on the glacier. Especially after we got out of the bus for some photos and the wind was howling and we both looked at each other and saw the other people in near-arctic gear and thought we may have made an underestimation. Luckily, once we were on the glacier it was actually quite warm. We were so lucky, we had perfect weather. The sun was out for most of the day and there turned out to be little wind. Most of the time I was not even wearing a beanie.

 

The end of the trek was great.

Hey, that´s the same glacier (and yes, there are another 200 photos where that came from)
We got over a rise and they had laid out a little bar serving whisky with freshly chopped ice from the glacier. Very nice touch. Ice bar • glacier style. So I did sort of manage to get my question about vodka answered.

 

Speaking of vices, Kat was not so impressed to have no smoking at all on the glacier side of the boat trip, and only allowed in certain areas in the national park.

 

Then back via boat and up to the viewing points. This provided a view from across the lake onto the top of the glacier and gives an idea of the extent of the glacier. Lots of steps gave us a welcome warm up for the fitness required for later in the trip.

 

We ended up getting back into town after 7, so it had been quite a long day and we just grabbed a quick bite at a place called Ricks.

This is on the way down....
I had parrilla and Kat had steak. Parrilla is a mixed grill of steak, lamb, sausages, chicken etc. Everything cooked on open fire. Think lamb on the spit, braai etc. As much as you want. I managed one helping of lamb and then felt full enough to explode. Needless to say, Kat got almost halfway through her steak before a similar feeling set in. The waiter (who refused to speak and English • a sign of things to come I fear) did not appear too impressed that we did not finish the food or want more.

 

This experience has pushed me to try and extend my Latin American Spanish (or Castellano as they prefer) a bit further (than the current dos cerveza por favor) in the expectation that we are going to smaller places than this. Have now learnt vino tinto (red wine, as if you couldn’t work that out), carne libre (free range beef), recomendado (as in, what wine would you recommend?), cordero (lamb). So far, so good. Got to love the Latin American phrasebook which Kat got as a present too. It has useful phrases like:

·        Con Calma! • Easy tiger

·        Tu ego esta esta fuera de control • your ego is out of control.

Had to get a phoon in.

·        Andate a la mierda! • Piss off!

Easy to see how you would need these phrases.

 

From there a nice walk back in the dark. Remember we are 10 minutes from the centre in a town where you walk across it in 5. A little nervous, but we arrived safely, thanks to our gang.



cenazareno says:
Very nice blog!!! I believe you enjoy Argentina!
And here it's tipical that the people don't speak english :S
Argentina it's not trained completely to the tourism, except for some places. I hope some day we'll be!
Greetings!!!
Tell me if you need some lesson of spanish ;)
Posted on: Jul 27, 2010
Kramerdude says:
Love the description. Just checking, and based on the title, I'm assuming that this was the 1/2 day mini-trekking trip. I'm trying to decide whether to do the mini-trekking or the Big Ice (the full day-er) when I'm in El Calafate in 2.5 weeks. Thoughts?
Posted on: Nov 12, 2007
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Mini trekking
Mini trekking
Follow the sun
Follow the sun
Glaciers, spiky.
Glaciers, spiky.
We get the real ice bar experience
We get the real ice bar experience
Hey, that´s the same glacier (and…
Hey, that´s the same glacier (an…
This is on the way down....
This is on the way down....
Had to get a phoon in.
Had to get a phoon in.
Mountains of ice
Mountains of ice
El Calafate Sights & Attractions review
I would classify El Calafate as “interesting”. The town has a wild west frontier town feel, which is quite edgy and has its own charm. If it was n… read entire review
El Calafate Sights & Attractions review
Mini Trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier is a must do activity in El Calafate. It is a full day trip. You are collected from your hotel at about… read entire review
El Calafate
photo by: Vlindeke