Thursday 1 November 2012
Highlights: Ice trekking on Viedma Glacier
Today the group broke up into our preferred activities, Ben and Nina went bike riding; Kurt, David and Karen went ice climbing and Christopher and myself went ice trekking. The ice trekking and climbing were on the same glacier so five of use set out together.
We started with a walk to the tourist centre and then a 20 minute bus ride to the boat docking area. A 1 hour cruise found us at the glacier. Before we docked the boat stopped for a photo opportunity right in front of the glacier. The wind almost knocked Kurt, David and myself into the water!
The boat gets tied to some rocks and you then jump (a small jump) onto some rocks. At this point Kurt, David and Karen left to go climbing. Then Chris, myself and a small group hiked to the glacier. This hike wasn’t easy was it was slippery from the rain, windy and cold (but my thermals worked well thank goodness).
Just before the glacier we put on ice trekking spikes which were attached to our shoes. It is not easy to walk on rocks with these metal spikes but it makes it possible to walk (slowly) on the glacier. We all got lessons on walking on glaciers, it’s not very easy especially going down hill when you have to bend your knees and lean back and try to stop thinking about falling down.
The glacier was amazing and also very dangerous. The guides had to keep a close eye on us all and help at certain difficult points. I managed to never fall but it wasn’t an easy achievement. After around 2.5 hours of hiking we all toasted the glacier with a drink of Baileys using ice from the glacier, it tasted very nice. A very cool day indeed.
The bad point of the day was realising when having lunch on the boat that my iPhone was gone. At the start of the ice trek we left our daypacks on the rocks, on my return however the phone wasn’t there. I didn’t keep my phone in me in El Chaltén since there is no reception. It is possible I left it in my room (im 90% certain i packed it with my passport) but either way its gone and it’s expensive to replace and makes travelling a little harder. On returning to the hotel I began the task of changing all my passwords for banks and Internet sites a long process, a real shame to and otherwise great day 😦
After a nice dinner in town we headed back to El Calafate which was a 3 hour drive. We arrived at 11 pm and found some of the rooms weren’t ready. They have put the beds together for us all and that wasn’t going to work for the single heterosexual guys in the group :).
The hotel however was very nice and had fast Internet meaning during our stay I could upload photos again and figure out a replacement for my smartphone.