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 345 Glaciers of Patagonia

Spegazzini glacier

Spegazzini glacier

Jan 3-5, 2014—El Calafate, Argentina 

After Torres del Paine, we crossed back into Argentina, w/ 3 hitchhikers in tow, to El Calafate ...

guanaco skull

guanaco skull along the way


Puerto Natales

wall in Puerto Natales

The 1st day in Calafate we took a touristic boat to see the glaciers ... cruising Lago Argentino ... 1st up to the Upsala glacier ... the largest 1, or at least it used to be the largest, but now it's receding ... the boat didn't get so close to it because there were too many icebergs, mostly we just saw big icebergs & a condor.

Lago Argentina

Lago Argentina


iceberg on Lago Argentina

iceberg on Lago Argentina



sky ice blue


icebeg & clouds

iceberg & clouds


Upsala glacier in the distance

Next stop was Spegazzini glacier, which is comparatively not so big, but evidently it's the tallest. We were sitting near an Italian family on the boat ... weird to switch back to speaking Italian, it's almost like we need to flip a switch ... language seems context sensitive depending on what country you are in.


Spegazzini glacier



Spegazzini floe & spires

Then we cruised by the north fork of the Perito Moreno glacier ... all these glaciers are part of the Patagonian ice field, which is the 3rd largest generator of ice in the world after Antarctica & Greenland. A massive ice factory holding unfathomable amounts of fresh water. While some of the glaciers are receding, others are expanding ... Perito Moreno is about the same as it was 20 or 100 years ago. The Patagonia ice field as a whole hasn't changed much in size over the years...

Perito Moreno north

Perito Moreno (north fork)

The next day we returned back to the Perito Moreno glacier by car. The glacier ends right into land so you can see it great without even being on a boat ... the view from land is in fact even better.

Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno north from shore


Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno panorama (click on image for higher rez)


perito moreno flow

in the rupture zone


Perito swipes trees

Saw a few spectacular ice chunks calve off, a few of which we caught on video ... 

Even when it's not calving, the glacier is cracking & popping & making all sorts of sounds ... like a living organism. We walked around & had lunch & then got on a boat & crossed over to the base of the southern part of the glacier. A group of 20 or so of us donned crampons & then walked up on the glacier. Amazing to say the least ... too much for words.

Perito Moreno 3 eagles rock

Perito Moreno from south bank & 3 eagles



perito Moreno panorama

panorama from south (click for higher rez)


crampons flags

crampons & ice axes & flag



glacier ice

glacier ice


ice climbing

on the glacier






self-portrait over shoulder w/ j directly behind


on glacier


glacier water

water puddling on the glacier


blue crevasses

At the end of it we had whiskey w/ glacier ice ... the whole while we were munching on glacier ice & filled our water bottle from a pool formed on the glacier. Besides a pisco sour welcome drink on New Year's day, this was the 1st drink of 2014, so seemed extra special.

whiskey glacier

whiskey w/ glacier ice



glacier & tree

On the way back we were waiting for the boat & we were eyeing this one precarious arch & figured we may as well put the camera on it ... seconds after, bits started falling, then the whole arch & more gave way ...

... probably one of the singular most spectacular split-second events we've ever witnessed firsthand in our lives. To think of the ice building up for tens of thousands of years ... to reach the edge & suddenly calve off so dramatically ... to become separate from the glacier & be its on berg. Seemed there was something metaphoric about it ...

perito moreno panorama

one more panorama (click for high rez)

Then back to the hotel. Lago Argentina is so big there are tides ... unless it has something to do with being this far south. And it's cold even tho it's the equivalent to our July, but evidently it's unseasonably cold. And it gets light around 4 am & gets dark around 11 pm ... some 19 or 20 hours of daylight.

  > 346 > Retracing Darwin's voyage thru Neruda's Chile back north to a glaciated Hudson

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