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Yesterday was just a boring travel day. Direct flights to remote areas are hard to find, so we had to fly 1.5 hours north to Buenos Aires only to turn around and fly south again to El Calafate.

The city of El Calafate sits on the shore of Lago Argentino, formed 15,000 years ago and is the largest body of water in Argentina.

the lake is a gorgeous turquoise colour

Hielo & Aventura (Ice and Adventure) Tours took us to the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares where we walked on the Perito Moreno glacier.

The Parque Nacional los Glaciares contains 47 glaciers on the continental ice cap feeding 2 huge lakes.

Unlike most glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno is constantly advancing, so large pieces calve into the massive lake almost all the time (not due to melting, but to moving).

After bus pick-up from our hotel in El Calafate, Sidi drove us about an hour to the park while Dora (the Explorer) talked about the local geography. The first stop was at ‘the balconies’, a series of viewing areas right across the slim channel from the face of the glacier.

The Balconies are on the point on the rocks on the right.
The Perito Moreno glacier – named for Francisco Moreno, a noted explorer who discovered the lake in the early 1800’s, proposed using the tallest peaks to create the border between Argentina and Chile and went on to found several National parks.
The car-sized chunk to the centre right fell off while we were there. This is the before shot.
The chunk shattered into tiny bits, both from the impact and the shock of meeting the warmer water – the larger icebergs in the lake have calved off from under the water line so are more intact.
After – the gorgeous blue colour is revealed
The big blue chunk on the left is the size of a house and we are only seeing about 10% of it!

After los balcones, it was a quick boat ride across the lagoon where we got very close to the glacier face.

View from the boat as we crossed over. The glacier face is 150m (500’) tall and only 50m (150’) is visible. At it’s deepest further up the mountain it is 700m!

We met our ice guides, Carlos and Veronica. Then we donned heavy metal crampons and helmets and spent about an hour and a half wandering on the surface of the glacier.

Walking with the crampons was kind of like snow-shoeing. Our feet had to be wide apart and we were instructed to lift our knees up high while taking short steps. I think our legs are going to be tired tomorrow!
The center of the glacier is moving toward the lake at about 2 meters per day while the sides are much slower. This leads to very unstable ice conditions, crevasses and spiky peaks in the middle. We stayed to a well-beaten path at the edge of the glacier
Lots of steep ups and downs
Such clear blue water – you can see over 200 feet to the bottom!

Almost at the end of the tour we were given a shot of whiskey on the rocks, using ice that Carlos carved off the glacier!

There are caves in the glacier only occasionally – today we got lucky. This one was formed by water flowing over the huge rock behind us

About 60 feet into the ice cave
The roof of the ice cave. While it looks like we are scuba diving in the tropics, we only got dripped on a bit.

Tomorrow we explore a bit more of El Calafate.

One comment on “Argentina – Perito Moreno glacier hike

  1. Dave says:

    Cool expedition!!

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