Sunday, November 24, 2013

Viedma Glacier - Ice Climbing & Trekking, Argentina

November 17

We woke up early excited for our excursion to the Viedma Glacier where we had signed up to go ice climbing and trekking.  Luckily the tour was still on - the previous two days were cancelled due to the extreme wind in the area.  

We hopped on a bus that took us to a pier where a large ferry / catamaran took us on a journey across Lake Viedma to the Viedma Glacier.  Cruising through this lake was an amazing experience in itself!  We passed several huge ice bergs that had been erroded into the most interesting shapes over time.  These pieces of ice were once part of the Viedma Glacier.





After our 45 minute boat ride, we arrived at the glacier.  Looks very similar to the Perito Moreno glacier.  The Viedma Glacier is 1.2 miles wide and part of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.  

The boat pulled up to a small rock landmass that is adjacent to the glacier where the crew helped everyone off the boat and onto the rock.  We met our guides and got "suited up" for our climb (harnesses, helmets, gloves, ropes, ice picks, cramp-ons).



Our gides led us to this "ice wall" of the glacier where we'd do our first ice climb.


Here's one of our guides climbing up the ice wall in order to secure the three ice climbing anchors what we would used for climbing up the wall.  You can begin to see how high and steep this wall is from this view!  I was impressed by how quickly he got up there (without harness or ropes).

There were a few condors flying overhead as we each climbed up the wall.

HereI am climbing up the wall

It's literally straight up; you really have to rely on your ice picks and crampons to dig into the ice.

Repelling back down

Here's Gene scaling the ice wall

Almost to the top...


After our first climb, we went back to the tent for lunch since it was starting to rain pretty hard.  Unfortunately due to the terrible weather, we couldn't do any more ice climbing, so instead, we walked around the glacier and checked out some of the ice caves for the remainder of our tour.

This is one of the ice caves (inside looking out).

Here's Bell and I huddled under the glacial ice cave.  It was unbelievably blue!  The picture doesn't do it justice.  Reminds me of the color of the Caribbean waters in the Exumas.



We jumped over several crevasses during our trek.  Here's one where you can kind of see the incredible shades of blue.



And here's the group of us.  
Yep, I look like a midget because I'm standing on a slightly lower level of ice than the rest of the group (I may be short, but I'm not THAT short!).  Ely looks like a giant towering over Gene.




After an afternoon of trekking on the glacier, we got back on the boat to return to the dock.  Here are some of the shots of the ice bergs we passed on the boat ride back.





Leaving the glacier

  

1 comment:

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