ARGENTINA #3 – Patagonias colossal field of ice and snow

digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019 · 5 min read

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It is more than a week since I left Patagonia, but wi-fi has really been a challenge. Sometimes it is just not fast enough. Or it simply disappeared! Another highlight during my 10 days stay in Patagonia has without no doubt been the Perito Moreno Glacier. After hiking the area around El Chalten I stayed a few days in Calefate, south of El Chalten. This is also a tiny town and a good base to get close to the glaciers in. From here I did a full day excursion.


Some facts about the ice and the glaciers in Patagonia: The glacier of Perito Moreno is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice field, which is the world's third largest ice mass after Antarctica and Greenland. It is the world's largest continental, non polar ice cap, with the size of 400 km. long and 80km. wide. A colossal field of ice and snow, located in both Argentina and Chile. It is also the largest reserve of fresh water in the world. As most glaciers in the world are melting, Perito Morena is exceptional as the ice here is still growing. Up to 2 meters per day! It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981.



My excursion to the glacier was a 10 hour trip, including a boat trip and a «mini-hike» on the glacier itself. Besides the hike, you can do boat trip in front of it, and do walks which enables close encounter with the ice. After arriving by bus, we had to take a short boat trip across the lake to that side of the glacier where the hike started. There is a shelter here, with facilities as toilets and storage of things not needed on the hike. Our lunch box was left here.




We were divided into smaller groups. Each group followed by several guides. We had to put on crampons, but fortunately with help! They were a bit heavy. Instructions on how to walk with them was giving by the guides. They are heavy, and a bit difficult to walk with, The hike took 2 hours, so I did get used to it little by little. Walking on ice, means going up and down hill. It is essential to know how to walk on the ice. If you slip here you can actually slide down the ice for many meters not knowing how it will end! A little scary to think of. But I did feel safe. The instructions given and the fact that several guides followed each group made us feel safe. It was an amazing feeling walking on a large, moving glacier. We could hear water running underneath us, cracking noises..... The glacier is alive..



After a safe return we went by boat back and to another side of the glacier to the viewing platforms. They are placed on a peninsula facing the glacier. The view from here is extraordinary as you can see ice collapsing in front of you without being in danger. The viewing platforms are all in a safe distance from the glacier, looking at the Lake Argentino. Still, I felt it is pretty close. We could feel the cool air on our faces and hear the sound of big chunks of ice crash into the water, creating massive roars.



I went along the walking paths that allowed us to walk around and explore the glacier and look at it from different angles. In fact there is a series of steel catwalks and points which allows us to be safe, but still able to get close enough to see and hear it. It is huge!


This glacier is still growing. But for how long? The guide said, maybe it will start melting, when, he could not answer. But they are important. We learned that glaciers are our «water factories». They have two important roles: They regulate our climate, keeping our planet cool by reflecting back 45 to 85 per cent of the sunlight. They are also an important freshwater reservoir. Only 3% of the water on our planet is fresh. Standing in front of the world's largest supply of fresh water was in a way a comfort, but the fact is that almost everywhere else the ice is melting, because of global warming.


When leaving Patagonia, it was with many impressions of wild and beautiful scenery. The rugged mountains can look inaccessible, but is not unattainable. Trails are easy to follow. It is not at all difficult to hike on your own. The glaciers here are impressive. When most glaciers in the world are melting, it was amazing to visit one that is still growing.

I crossed the border to Chile by bus from Calefate to Puerto Natales in Chile. Stayed a few days and visited the Torres del Paine National Park, before catching a plane from Punta Arenas, via Santiago to Easter Island.

Next stop: Easter Island, Chile.


Please do follow if you want to keep up with my next travel story. Any upvotes or resteems are hugely appreciated!

Latest travel stories, check out :
ARGENTINA #2 - highligst of Patagonia: Mt. Fitz Roy
ARGENTINA #1 - walking through the «City of the Dead» in Buenos Aires


U.J

Kristiansand, Norway

All the photoes are mine, Ulla Jensen (flickr, Instagram and facebook)


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Excellent article, @digi-me. Thanks for sharing your adventure and these stunning views with us. 🤗


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anaerwu
steemboot @anaerwuJanuary 2019

Amazing place, pictures are great, the colours of glacier are stunning. Fantastic story.


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You are in a place I really want to go in this post. Part of my nomadic existence is inspired by a book called "In Patagonia" by Bruce Chatwin, that I have read many times. Not to mention Easter Island being a goal too. Lucky, lucky you.

The shots with pinnacles are really amazing. This has to be a hike you will never forget. And the blue colored ice is something I one day hope to see.

Thank you so much for posting this. I am so glad to see it while melting myself in the heat of Kuala Lumpur this evening.

FYI - they call it "climate change" now since the temperatures have been dropping the last few years worldwide.


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digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019

thanks for taking time to comment. I have to read the book you mention. I really love Patagonia, now that I have been there. It is really an amazing place. Stunning. Do go if you get a chance :) And yes, you are right about it being "climating change"... :)


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Ah! I 'm glad to meet another fan of the book :) I will try to get there, and surely hope I do.


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digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019

Thank you so much!


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What an amazing place. Gorgeous pictures.
Very detailed post. Well done.
I liked the fact that everything seems to be take care of there for tourist to feel confortable

There is a shelter here, with facilities as toilets and storage of things not needed on the hike. Our lunch box was left here.

That's a greta thing when countries can take advantage of their touristic potential and provide visitors with all they need to enjoy the experience without hurting the environment.
ooking foward to your next adventure.


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digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019

Thank you, on my way to Easter Island, Chile.


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This is such a fascinating view! I really do feel like touching those ice or atleast being there, around such beauty, all inspired by nature. Did you touch it?🤔 I am sure I wouldn't resist. Lol

I can only imagine how you felt being infront of the world's largest reservoir. It is sad though that other parts are melting, thanks to some of our actions. I do hope it gets better, though...

Your photos are amazing! It did capture the beauty of that place and how magnificent it all is!


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digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019

Thank you. It is stunning. And I did touch it.. While walking on it. I do hope something will happen and we will be able to take better care :)


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Really impressive - thanks for sharing and steem on!


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elfranz
Franz @elfranzJanuary 2019

Glaciers are one of the most fascinating natural wonders out there, is beyond my reasoning how that amount of ice can be found anywere and it size is for sure humbling, I have some relatives that went to the Perito Moreno Glacier but I've never been there, your post just revive my irge to see that monster


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digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019

Thank you. It is stunning. Hard to really describe the feeling when standing in front of it. I also did several hikes, both in Argentina and Chile. To mt. Fitz Roy and in Torres del Paine. Both have glaciers which is part of this Southern Patagonian Icefield. I am a pasionate traveller. Often I include hikes or longer treks. You can check some of my other travelstories ( Everest Base Camp trek) I went to Greenland a while ago. There I saw even more ice than in Patagonier, but sadly those glaciers are melting . Right now I am on a 7 week trip to Argentina and Chile. Started with Patagonia. Now Easter island- From there the Atacama desert and Santiago. Then I will spend my last 3 weeks back in Argentina before returning to Norway


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indeed a place you must go once in life! and when you see it from live is much more impressive, great reportage enjoy your trip


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digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019

Thank you :)


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guchtere
Remy @guchtereJanuary 2019

Wow serious the glacier is still growing here!? Patagonia is still on my list. After hearing about the Patagonian marathon last summer during my RB400 experience, I do hope to run the marathon there while visiting it. But back to your topic, great writing and beautiful pictures! Looking forward to Easter Island!

Hang loose 🤙


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digi-me
digi-me @digi-meJanuary 2019

Thank you. I think there is one more glacier still growing. New Zealand. But I do not which one....If you are going one day, to run the marathon, do stay an extra week. You won't regret :)


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