Ice Trek on Perito Moreno, Argentina

Four hours of walk on one of the world most remarkable glaciers : this is the program of the day, told by Thomas Firh.

Even if my Argentina journey contained many strong moments, like the discovery of Iguaçu waterfalls, a horsehide in the pampa, and also a trek in El Chalten mountains looking for Fitz Roy, this walk on the Perito Moreno scored me the most. With its 5,000 meters front and 60 meters high, located in the National Park of Los Galciares, it is one of the most famous glacier in Argentina Patagonia. Especially because it is one of the few not being in decline : it advances two meters per day. After going through the 80 kilometers that separates Perito Moreno from El Calafate by bus, we arrived closed to an ice monster, still covered by the fog. We had to cross a part of Lago Argentino on a small boat in order to reach the other side, and begin the serious thing.

After some instructions from the guide, we walked in the forest along the glacier for about one hour. Then we arrived in front of two small tents that contained all the material we needed : cleats, gloves, ropes … Once prepared, we took our first steps on the glacier, following a line to avoid setting foot in the wrong place. Even if the temperature is mild, despite clouds and snow falling, the wind is the real problem. Indeed, the ice packed between the mountains peaks offers a perfect opportunity to make their way through our clothes with the wind. However, we quickly forget all that as the show takes over : deafening crackle, transparent cellars, turquoise lakes. The landscapes are amazing.

After 4 hours, we’re back on the mainland. Over our heads, an Andean condor making rounds, its keen eyes placed on us. We leave our cleats, before returning to the forest. My mind is somewhere else, all over the way back. And even if I state the obvious by saying that these forces of nature, impressive in size and longevity make us feel ridiculous, I’m sure we have to put our feet on it to truly understand.

Thomas Firh

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