After the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, the Southern Patagonia Ice Field is the largest source of freshwater on Earth. 48 glaciers feed into this ice field and during my stay in El Calafate I ventured out onto one of them!
19 miles long overall, the end of the Perito Moreno Glacier is around 3 miles wide and 560 feet thick. It is also one of only three glaciers in this system that is growing! For a better perspective into the scale of this monster, I signed up with the only company in town to hike the glacier surface.
Hurricane force winds didn’t stop our group from sliding on a harness and crampons to explore! Every step was challenging so it was with incredible relief when the wind suddenly died down and the crackling of ice and rushing of water could be heard below my feet. For hours we traversed the ice, randomly coming upon clear ponds and sub-ice waterfalls. The glacier was alive with activity. All this natural beauty definitely wasn’t visible from the visitor platform across from the glacier!
Check out this video my friend took that day of a Perito Moreno glacier waterfall: http://youtu.be/VHEzkVeIUMI
After several hours of hiking and traversing, the company capped the tour off with an alfajor and a glass of Jamesons on the rocks – the rocks being glacier ice!