The Brady Glacier South-central


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North America » United States » Alaska » Glacier Bay
September 16th 2009
Published: September 17th 2009
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Mud, and plenty of it. It is not so easy, getting to the Brady Glacier... The Taylor Bay intertidal is a place to tread lightly, very lightly. Craig and I learned this a couple years ago when we tried to paddle up the eastern tributary at low tide. Quicksand, more accurately 'quickmud' is alive and waiting for you in the low intertidal. When our kayak 'grounded' out we tested the bottom by probing with the paddle shaft. It just kept going down, slowly, into the watery mud. We managed to back up and reach shore but hiking upstream and pack-rafting across the river took most of the morning.

Katie and I hit it with a stunning weather forecast - 2 foot seas with blue sky - and high tide. We anchored the boat right off the beach and kayaked up the eastern river. The glacier melt was low and we got up the milky tributary far enough to feel comfortable leaving the kayak tied to a beach log. The outwash plain is huge and open. Near the ocean it is bare gravel and cobbles, higher up are bits of moss, then a full carpet of moss. Then low shrubs just before the glacier terminus. A landscape dominated by moss...an easy walk. We carried the pack rafts in case we need to cross the ponds at the face of the Brady but managed to wade through where the water was shallow.

There is always this moment when you go from land to ice, the other world. But the middle of the Brady terminus is a jumble of loose angular rocks and we used the poles for a while without the crampons, walking on a mix of rock and ice, all the while drawn forward by the big crevasses and seracs just up ahead.

We scrambled around for a while in the crevasse field then worked our way up-glacier until it leveled out. Wow! The proverbial 'yellow brick road' as my friend Kevin likes to say - nearly flat ice with few crevasses. We walked right up the middle of the Brady Glacier putting on some distance before having to turn back for the day. When we got back to the kayaks the tide had cycled through low and was coming back up - we were able to ride the glacier river down into the calm ocean. A stunner of a day.

The Brady Glacier Southeast
The Brady Glacier Southwest
The Brady Glacier - Spur Lake
Lituya Glacier Walk




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