Thursday, 20 May 2010


Was epic.

Every time you opened your eyes you were surprised by the size of a new mountain, or the amount of snow falling overnight, or the amazing blue of the glaciers we saw! Words can't really do the scenery justice so you'll have to have a look at the photos of El Calafate and the Perito Moreno Glacier here...

And of El Chalten, Mount Fitz Roy and other awesome landscapes here...

Once in El Calafate, we had a day of relaxing and sorting out our glacier trip - the bus ride there from Ushuaia was a long one, interrupted by a 5 hour wait in Rio Gallegos bus station which we could've done without. We woke up to a great view from our hostel out onto the lake and the mountains beyond which were all covered with snow, back by a pink sky - the sun didn't rise properly until about 9.30 am!

The next day was our day on the glacier. We had an hours ride to the national park, where we were then given a couple of hours to explore the boardwalks, looking at both the North and Suth faces of the glacier. We were wuite lucky to see several small ice falls, and then an absolutely huge one where what looked like 3 houses worth of ice just cracked off and fell into the lake. The cracks were like gunshots, and we could constantly hear the creaking of the ice as it moved forward. We passed a sign en route which said 32 people had been killed by flying ice shards, even though we were still a fair way from the actual face of the glacier. Scary stuff! It was massive, and wound back up into the mountains - apparently it's 70 metres above the water and goes up to 140 metres below the surface of the lake. Amazing.

After lunch, we then headed out on a boat, past several icebergs and onto the other side of the lake where we got onto our second glacier of the trip! Our guide, Diego, was a bit of a mountain goat scrambling up and down with ease while we plodded about like Godzilla (his words), digging the crampons in and trying not to slip! It was so much more blue up close, and looking into some of the drain holes and crevasses again reminded us of being on a different planet.

The next revelation was that he water was drinkable, so we immediately found ourselves some nice icecubes to suck and mini waterfalls to stick our tongues under. The trek ended with a whiskey, cooled by glacial ice Diego hacked out of the floor! Whiskey's not really our thing, but we filled our glasses up with more ice and water instead! It was a good end to what had been a brilliant day!

El Chalten was our next stop, and we left early the next day to catch the 3 hour bus up there. Once there, we stopped off at the visitor centre to be given a map and an amazing view of the mountains. Once out of the hostel, we headed for Lago Torres, as the weather was amazing and we'd have a good view of the mountains on the way. At the main viewpoint, we were greeted by the sight of clouds literally rolling down the mountain and glacier in the distance. Unfortunately it was too far to keep going after we'd stopped for lunch at the viewpoint, and while the others continued a little further down the path, Sara and I headed back to town to do an "easy" walk up to the waterfall - Chorillo del Salto. It was worth it, the waterfall was amazing, and it was another chance for me to stick my head into a stream and drink like a dog which is always good!

Next day Sara was feeling a bit under the weather so we relaxed in the morning while the others (some of whom were even worse for wear!) headed out to do a couple of the shorter treks. After an hour or two, we decided to head out anyway, Sara braving the wind to head up to the Fitz Roy viewpoint - one of the hardest walks, with a steep climb for much of the way. 2 hours there and 40 minutes back says it all really! The view was spectacular, although Fitz was covered by clouds, there were two glaciers, one of which was that special glacier blue, resembling a wave coming down the mountain. Then a rainbow appeared as the sun poked through and we were glad we'd made it out after all!

On the way back down, I shattered the dreams of a Korean family, who asked how long it was to the viewpoint. They had literally come 20 minutes out of town, and when I told them it was probably and hour and a half at least they all looked a bit gutted. Sara tried to reassure them that this was the worst and steepest bit and glumly the trudged on. We didn't ask if they made it when we saw them, later, they might've been upset if they hadn't!

Then it was back to Calafate and onto the plane the next day back to BA having said goodbye to Em, Dom, Katie and Carolyn. We were looking forward to a bit of heat again!

1 comment:

  1. Strikes me from these pics and your commentary(infact from your inventory of the world so far!) that Mother Earth is still in pretty good shape - flourishing glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife ... and whiskey flowing!! Spectacular, magnificent .. all is well - (humans having there usual crises but hey..) what are we worrying about?!!