Monday, February 29, 2016

The Perito Moreno glacier, El Calafate

The Perito Moreno glacier is an easily accessible glacier in the Los Glaciares national park just outside of the Patagonian town of El Calafate.

The glacier is somewhat unique in the world as it is one of the few glaciers that is not receding due to climate change. This is because of the unique microclimate in the Los Glaciares park caused by cold winds being pushed up over the Andes from the Pacific ocean. This causes snow to fall on the Andes every day - even when the weather is warm.

The glacier itself is moving very quickly - up to 40cm a day, unlike the very slow moving glaciers in places like Iceland. This speed causes large chunks of ice to "calve" of the glacier face, making a spectacular thunderous sound when they break and fall.

A piece of ice "calving" from the glacier
Waves from the falling ice
Icebergs off the glacier

Around the face of the glacier there are a series of boardwalks which enable a good view of all of the glacier face and the lake around the glacier.

Perito Moreno from the boardwalk
Perito Moreno glacier and Lake Argentino from the coast walk
Lake Argentino from the coast trail

The south face of the glacier is stable and able to be walked on which enables a much closer view of the glacier.

Up close to Perito Moreno glacier
Perito Moreno glacier from the boat
Perito Moreno glacier from the beach

The boat lands at a small beach in front of the glacier and from here it's a short walk to the glacier itself.

Looking up the face of the glacier
From on the glacier
A crack in the glacier
The beach from the glacier

The walk on the glacier takes a loop up the face of the glacier, around the top of the ice and then back down to the beach (stopping for a scotch on glacial ice on the way).

The boat then leaves from the beach to connect with the bus to El Calafate - that is if it's not blocked by an iceberg...

Ah...maybe there's another way around..

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