Sunday, February 28, 2010

Glacier Trecking in Franz Joseph

Just spent the day glacier trecking on the west coast of the south island of New Zealand.  It was a short drive and hike to the base of the glacier.  From there we strapped on our crampons (ice spikes that attach to your boots) and headed straight up the rocks and ice.  Then our guide (Branden) led us through crevaces and tunnels for a total of 1500' elevation ascent.  Around lunchtime we sat and had lunch on the glacier tucked away from the wind.  After lunch we explored some more of the ice including giant "waves" of ice that towered at least 20' high and wide.  The final challenge was down and through a steep and tight crevace measuring about 30' deep and 18" wide (good thing ice is slippery).  We used ropes connected to spikes in the ice to walk safely off of the ice back down the glacier valley.

Tomorrow is a 4 hour drive to Arthur's Pass where we'll do a challenging hike the following day (3500' up over 3mi) called Avalanche Peak.

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