We climbed a glacier today



And it was phenomenal!
We spent a full day on Franz Joseph glacier with Franz Joseph Glacier Guides, with about 7 hours of time on the ice. For anyone interested, absolutely do the full day – the half day stops well before the fun stuff really starts. They outfitted us with crampons (spikes to go on the bottom of our shoes) and rain coats, as well as ice axes about half-way into the trip to help us keep our balance in the less well groomed sections of the ice. Our guide (a crazy, crazy man) actually found a very, very small crevasse on the ice that no one had every transited previously. He took that on as a challenge for the rest of us. I don’t have any pictures of us inside the crevasse because it was too small for me to get my hands into my pockets to pull out my camera. And many of you know how far I’ll go to use my camera. It was incredibly tight. I had to help the guy in front of me back out at one point because his feet got stuck. Probably no more than 10-12″ wide – definitely not for the claustrophobic. This is the view from outside:
The scale of glaciers is pretty hard to understand until you’re actually on one. Even just looking at it from the ground you can tell that it is big, but until you get out onto the ice it is difficult to fathom just how huge they really are. We hiked up along side Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska, and up to the face of Fox Glacier here in New Zealand, and we could tell that they were big, but getting on to one and hiking up for 5 hours to look up

and down

and realize just how little of it you’ve managed to cover is rather awe inspiring. And you definitely don’t want to slip into one of the crevasses
or holes

though our guide offered some comfort with his observation that most of them are narrow enough that we’d just get stuck and make him have to pull us out, not that we’d actually have real injuries or death – very motivating he was.

If you have the opportunity and the inclination, I highly recommend finding one to hike at some point.


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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