Published: March 6th 2010
March 5th 2010
We spent a week in the Glacier National Park in Argentina and it was truely amazing. It is the biggest ice pack on earth outside of the 2 poles and it is an amazing sight. The park itself is huge and consists of glaciers and stunning mountain scenary. We stayed a few nights in El Calafate which is the gateway to largo Argentina which is the biggest lake in Patagonia and has most of the large glaciers in the area feeding into it. We decided to do a big ice tour by boat which took us to visit the 3 biggest glaciers. To get there we had to weave our way through the icebergs in the lake, some of them were massive, easily as big as a football staduim and they dwarfed the boat we were on, they were all types of sizes and shapes and some of them that had been compacted by the huge pressure of the glacier so were a stunning blue. We visited the Upsal glacer which is 17km long and 5 km across it's face, so when looking at it it stretches into the clouds and all the way across the horizon. We also
visited the Spengazzini glacier which has the tallest face of any glacier which is 180m tall and 3km long, it decends out of a mountain pass and is incredebly impressive. The most famous glacier in the park is the Moreno glacier, it is not as big or as tall as the others but it is famous as it regulary blocks the channel of the lake allowing you to get really close to it. It also advances by up to 5m a day so it is constanty calving blocks of ice from its face. Whilst we were there we saw 3 new icebergs sheer of the glacier face, the largest being as big as a building, it really was an unforgetable sight.
After El Calafate we got a bus for 4 hours to the far side of the park to El Chalten, this tiny village is famous in Argentina as being the hiking and climbing capital of the country. It was a really laid back place with spectacular mountains to hike in with loads of glacial lakes and a mountain range that is full of spires perfect for climbing. The 2 most famous mountains are Cerro Torres 3120M and Cerro
Fitz Roy 3375m they are both vertical faces of rock with glaciers clinging to them and lakes surrounding them. They were both considered unclimable until about 30 years ago and still seen as one of the hardest climbs in the world. We put the pack back on and rented another tent and spent 3 days hiking through the park to the various view points, its was really scenic country and not as hard going as our previous hikes but worth it as the views were amazing and it was a really chilled out place.
Sadly all the enjoyment had to come to an end and we had to make our way up to the Lake District part of the Andes and a town called Bariloche. Because we were in deepest Patagonia this meant we had to endure a 33 hour bus ride down route 44 which is a dirt track made famous by Che Guevara and the motorcycle diaries. We expected superb scenary but there really wasn't much and it ended up being bumpy torture be we survived it.
There are more photos below