tagged andes, argentina, big ice, crampons, cryocones, el calafate, glaciers, patagonia, perito moreno glacier, south america and trekking on glaciers
The next morning we set off early for our “Big Ice” trek on the Perito Moreno glacier. The Perito Moreno glacier is only one of three glaciers in Patagonia that is not retreating. Depending on the time of year, the glacier is continually advancing and/or retreating. Occasionally we would hear a loud cracking sound, similar to that of thunder, followed a chunk of ice falling off the glacier, splashing into the water. Quite an amazing experience.
For our trek, we started hiking along the mountainside for an hour alongside the glacier. Before stepping onto the glacier, we had crampons securely fastened to our hiking boots. The trek on the glacier was about 4 hours, and it was one of the highlights of my trip. The crampons ensure a strong grip in the ice even when going uphill or downhill. They made crossing on the glacier surprisingly easy, with the satisfying crunch of ice under-foot.
I thought the boat ride was amazing, but even there you can’t see the details of the glacier…there are streams and pools of water running throughout the glacier, along with cracks and crevasses filled with water. Different objects on the glacier (such as rocks, leaves, branches), absorb the sun at a faster rate, creating a depression (called cryocones), which then creates small natural pools and streams that continue to melt at a faster rate than the glacier. A small pebble might be responsible for 30 foot deep pool.