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  • Writer's picturePaula Cooper

7 November Perito Merano Glaciar, Patagonia, Argentina: Amazing Azure Astonishing Ancient

Or should it be …

Crevassed Creaking Cracking Calving

Wishing the hour taken to fill the tour bus could’ve been exchanged for a leisurely breakfast, at last we entered the Agentine side of the Patagonian glacial national park. Confusion over entrance ticket purchases and necessary stamps; yet another delay! Glimpsing the Perito Moreno glacier as we boarded the catamaran at the Brazo Rico side dock; a rugged, crevassed, jagged, grey and azure blue streaked wall of white ice!

Twenty minutes later stepping ashore onto the dark moraine, debris left by the receding ice flow, we met our guide for our “mini trekking ice adventure”.

One of three stable Patagonian glaciers, the liveliest, the ~19x3 miles long, 60m high ice river constantly advances 2m each day across the bedrock; snagging slowing the flow at  the edges causes the rough jagged surface dramatic formations, bulges, peaks and troughs. Light reflecting, refracting creating the amazing shades of blue.

Moisture from the Pacific rises over the Andes forming the Southern Patagonian ice field, shared with Chile, the worlds third largest fresh water reserve. Feeding the Moreno glacier, ice eventually calves into Lago Argentino eventually draining into the Atlantic. Named after Francisco Moreno, a 19th century pioneer who played a major role in defending the region against Chile, it’s now another popular Unesco tourist site, the easiest glacier to visit.

Bathrooms visited, Argentine plumbing keeping up with Chile, we separated into a smaller English speaking group. Kitted out with multiple layers, gloves, hard hats, crampons strapped to boots we clambered up the edge of the glacier.

Feet wide, stamping it was surprisingly easy and secure traversing the ice, cubes, tiny fissures and water under foot.

Of course, we took far too many photos during our hour and a half ice trek, up down via valleys view points crevices and sink holes! It really was an amazing unique surreal experience. Thankfully the weather cooperated, whilst still hazy and misty, the sun shone, and if anything, it was too hot!

The glacial pure water is potable, our guides hacked off chunks serving iced scotch or water and chocolates, toasting our mini adventure! Not a fan of scotch I ate way more than my share of chocolates!

A really unique enjoyable experience.I can see the sense in shoe size restrictions, crampons, but why the upper age limit of only 65?

Mesmerised, watching the glacier calve and creek we ate our expensive boxed lunch; shedding layers. (I chose better than Simon). We were lucky enough to see a few icebergs form as blocks calved crashing down but not quick enough to capture for posterity!

All too soon it’s was back across the lake to the bus. However our glacial experience wasn’t over! We drove up to the balconies, coloured walkways linking glacial viewing terraces; an hour just enough time to follow the yellow trail seeing the whole leading face of the glacier, and grab a hot drink!

Long tedious, cramped, journey over, last to be dropped off in Calafate, tired, we showered and headed for dinner; great pumpkin soup not sure we chose so wisely after that! Argentine steak reserved for tomorrow!

Sadly the hotel developed continued loud bangs grunts and burbles all night long; we surmised the room above must be occupied; ancient plumbing? Sleep eluded, definitely not a fan!

First sight of Perito Moreno Glacierftom the catamaran; thankfully weather improved

Start of our glacial experience

(Views from moraine; park signs)

Getting kitted out

(Crampons & helmets)

Trekking across the glaciers edge

(The route start; crevasse; views; a sink hole/pool; more glacier; scotch on glacial ice, cheers!)

Views of glacier from lunch spot and surroundings

View from balconies on yellow trail over looking the whole glacier's face

(Debris is at the narrowest section where occasionally ice bridges form and spectacularly crash!)

Simon's photos to follow or replace mine!

We stayed at Kosten Aike, El Calafate in Argentina.

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