glacier hiking in patagonia
[ Photo below is from the main balcony ]
Big Ice tourOur day began at about 7:00am from our hostel, we were picked up anddriven about 1.5 hours to the balconies that overlook the glacier. Theview is incredible but literally only got better throughout the day.From there it was a short drive to a boat that took us over to theglacier.Off the boat, there was a small hut where the crew checked all ourequipment, made sure everyone had gloves and gave us time for a snack.Then a short walk through the forest to get fitted out with a harnessand crampons.The crampons were serious business, I don’t know what they weighed butthey weren’t light! Once we got to the glacier we put on the cramponsand the group was split off into smaller groups.
We had about 8 peoplein our group which was good because we had to walk in single file(following the steps of our guide) and everyone could still hear hisinstructions and all the information about the glacier. There was alsoan assistant guide who followed at the back or at the side to ensureeveryone was safe.The guide asked us if we wanted to have a real go, to which we obviouslyanswered yes.
[ Photo of other groups in the distance below us ]
so what is a glacier?
A glacier is an immense mass of ice and this particular one is hugebeing 30km long and 254 square km in area. Our guide told us there are 3reasons this particular glacier is so phenomenal.
1. Access onto the glacier. There aren’t many glacier around the worldthat can be accessed so easily to walk on or just to have such closeviewpoints.
2. The size. Our guide told us since 1917 the glacier has remainedstable. Glaciers have two zones, accumulation and percolation. Thestability of the glacier means the snow increase in the accumulationzone is enough to compensate what is lost in the percolation zone.
3. The breaking. Now the science behind this is a bit beyond me, but,because of where the glacier is in relation to the lake means theglacier is constantly breaking. We were lucky enough to see twobreakages while on the balconies. The sound is unbelievable. Like you’rein the middle of a huge thunderstorm.
what to take hiking
Day pack -
I’d go one with a hydration component, it’s like any other hiking, youshould keep up your fluids. I normally have an Osprey pack hiking butthis time I took the Go Pro Seeker backpack so I could mount my Go Profor POV footage without wearing a chesty
If you don’t have gloves they have spare ones. I took the Oyuki glove liner with the grip so I could still use my phone for photos without taking my gloves off.
Hat and beanie -
Take both, weather can change and you need to be prepared to rug up. We got lucky we had a beautiful day so only needed a hat.
Go Pro -
I am the biggest fan of Go Pro and I think you’d be crazy to gosomewhere like this without one. I had the Go Pro 5 and a Sony camerabut the Go Pro is so small you use it more often. The photos on the GoPro’s these days are such good quality.
And then more sunscreen! The sun has twice the reflection on the glacier just like the snow so put it on then put it on again.
Lunch and Drinks!
go pro hero 9
what to wear
Good socks. None of these socks made from synthetic materials. Get yourself some proper socks, merino bamboo blend socks from Le Bent are pretty hard to beat.
LE BENT ULTRA LIGHT SOCK
Hiking boots –
You can get away with joggers but it didn’t look like fun. Chances areit's not the only hike you’ll do in Patagonia so get yourself a pair ofproper hiking boots.
Thermals or base layers -
I had Mon Royale base layers,full merino but they aren’t itchy. I actually had the singlet top,T-shirt and long sleeve with me so I could react to the conditions.- I wore thermal skins, I have used them before for hiking and lovethem.
MONS ROYAL - REDWOOD ENDURO L / S TEE
Early August to Late May. We went in November and the weather wasamazing. I don’t know if that was luck or time of year. Our guide didtell us that because of the heat there was more liquid around thannormal.
THINGS TO NOTE
Posted by Emily Dorahy on