The trip to the the glacier started bright and early with a bus transfer at 7.30am. The bus trip to the glacier took about an hour and a half but the scenery was just spectacular! Snow capped mountains and the lake on one side and rolling hills with different coulored bushes and shrubs on the other. On the plains there are hardly any trees only shrubs as the wind howls through most of the year.
Towards the end of the bus trip the glacier came into view and to tell you the honest truth, it looked fake! A sheer, impenetrable wall of ice 60 metres high protruding from the lake in between two mountains. It was just otherworldly.
A few facts about the glacier. It is one of the only stable glaciers in the world. Meaning that it is not receding. As fast as ice is breaking off, more is being made up top. It is constantly in motion with it moving on average about 2 metres a day but as it breaks off one end and grows the other it actually stays in the same place. It is not floating but actually moves along the bottom of the lake floor. So we can see 60 metres of it but there is 60 metres under water as well! The peaks and unevenness of it are a result of the unevenness of the ground.
We got to explore the face of the glacier by a set of boardwalks about 100 metres away. The noise of it moving is amazing! Then some will crack and fall off into the water making a tremendous noise. At the start I was thinking that pebbles were falling off but if you think of the size of the glacier it was more like ice the size of my head to the size of a car. We got to see a fairly sizable chunk fall off and the wave it made in the water was awesome. The noise as well was deafening. We could have stood there watching it move and creak for hours.
But we still had climbing to do so back on the bus we went, hopped on a boat and crossed the river dodging icebergs as we went! The boat trip really put into perspective the sheer massiveness of the glacier wall. Some of the icebergs we were passing were the size of the boat and to think that falls off the wall is mind boggling.
Over the other side of the lake the scenery just gets better with redy orangey rock cliffs and grey stone beaches framed by the white blue of the glacier. We sat and had our backed lunch just in awe of the view.
After lunch we walked about 20 mins around the edge of the lake through woods and then had to be fitted with crampons. It felt as if you were John Wayne walking with them on! Then we hiked up into the glacier and spent the next hour and a half exploring the ice. The colour blue in the crevices was so beautiful and then you would come to a crystal clear pond where we filled out water bottles and drank the our fill. To cap it off right at the end we came across a bar table where our guides served us Whisky over freshly cut glacier ice. S
A close up of the face of the glacier
The size of it is just mind blowing! So the right side of this photo is the front side of the glacier. On the left of this photo the glacier actually touches land. The other side of that is the south side where we caught the boat. As the glacier has breached land, the river cannot get through, so the water on the left side is 3 metres higher than the right. Eventually the water erodes the ice and a bridge is formed and then that bridge eventually collapses causing an almighty wave of water and the noise is apparently something else! This phenomena happened two years ago and they think it is going to happen again very soon.
This picture shows the length of the glacier. It reaches back 14 kms
One of the crystal clear ponds