Great White Park
Get A Grip
The journey from Calafate to the national glacier park took just over an hour. Our mission: to hike on one of the world’s contenders destined to join the set of the national wonders of the world. The Perito Moreno glacier advances by up to 2 metres a day, calving icebergs on a continual basis. Our first views were via a series of walkways, stairs and viewing platforms and we confronted the south wall face which descends 100 metres below the surface of the water rising to over 70 metres above, at its highest point it measures 600m, stretching to 60 kilometres in length and spreading its mass to 5 kilometres in width. Yet even this set of impressive stats fails to paint a true picture of its heart stopping beauty. Its blue luminescence switches to a glistening white as if viewing a lenticular panel, yet it is sullied brown moraine edges. Icebergs calved and roared into the placid water below using the cliff face as its amphitheatre amplifying every creak and groan.
The boat ferried us across the lake to the shore, the start of our hike through the forest and the edge of the glacier. Feeling every inch the intrepid explorer we strapped on vicious looking crampons and worryingly a set of harnesses. Close up, the glacier appears to have parked itself illegally in the valley, as its grey edges curl up over the rocks exposing a lower flank of glacial surf.
Together with Big Ice we crunched across the glacial surface, stamping our presence into its jagged roof to get a firm grip we hiked across the sharp furrowed landscape which opened into crevices, cravasses, streams of bright blue which have no colour description. There is no simile for these colours, it’s as if they’ve been created specifically for a glacial habitat. Sink holes descend and disappear hundreds of metres below, blue ponds combine awesome beauty and thrilling danger. We spiked a course for over 3 hours and found a convenient spot for our picnic lunch, bemused at the abstract concept of sharing sandwiches on top of a moving glacier. Giddy with excitement and having achieved one of our long awaited South American adventures we bantered animatedly with a British couple now living in Sydney...fancy meeting you here? The conversation continued over dinner later that evening, a welcome addition to the day and an instinctive feeling that we’ll meet again.
The next morning we booked flights and a loft apartment for the capital, Buenos Aires...we burn for BA.