From the Archives: Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina

Wall of the Perito Moreno from the lake, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Glaciar Perito Moreno

My computer crashed the other day: locked up with a blank screen and humming motor, and refused to boot again. I don’t like to speak ill of my MacLemon, but this latest episode makes hard-drive number four in as many years – and I have also replaced a battery. What is worse, of course, is that without my Mac, I don’t have access to my pictures or the Lightroom catalogues they are stored in. Talk about First-World Problems, right?

I’m still waiting for the final verdict. In the mean time, I’ve dug out an archaic PC and found some old picture files from a wonderful trip we took a long time ago – to Argentina – back before I had a digital SLR or access to sophisticated processing. Still, it was nice to revisit the shots.

Lemons to lemonade.

If you want a great day out, I can’t recommend Glaciar Perito Moreno, Patagonia, Argentina, highly enough.

Of course, just to make life interesting, when we visited, our plane from Buenos Aires to El Calafate – the town where we were to be based – took us the long way around: via Tierra del Fuego, that southern-most tip of South America; the jumping-off point to Antarctica.

Although we weren’t allowed out of the airplane, I can still say I landed at the end of the world.

Mountains and waters of Tierra del Fuego from the air.

Tierra del Fuego
Flying into Ushuaia – last stop before Antarctica.

In El Calafate we stayed in a hostel – you know: one of those places with ply-board walls so thin you can hear the neighbours breathe (and the rest!) and with dodgy plumbing and no water pressure, so that the water sliding from the shower nozzle down the wall is not guaranteed to be warm.

The next morning, after a very early breakfast of some lightly crisped white stuff they called “toast”, we were bundled, with five other sleepy-headed travelers, our guide, and a driver, into a mini van for the pre-dawn drive to the bottom end of Glacier National Park.

Dark blue morning light over a house and trees on a lake, Glacier National Park, Argentina

Velvet Morning
In a cold pre-dawn, we drove to the bottom end of Patagonia’s Glacier National Park.

As for the glacier itself, the pictures tell most of the story. They don’t show the noise, of course. There is nothing quite like the sound of a massive glacier heaving and groaning, especially when you are on it! The resonating booms and drawn-out splashes as bits fell into the water were simply amazing.

Ice floating down the river, Patagonia Argentina

Floating Ice
As the light comes up, the glacier comes into view in the morning mists, and we see ice pieces floating down the river.

Gateway to Perito Moreno from Lake Argentino.

Rock – Mountains – Ice
It’s a stunning and dramatic landscape. The natural bridge over the two pillars collapsed March 13th, only days before our arrival. Apparently the noise could be heard 20 km away.

A wall of glacier seen from Lake Argentino, mountains behind.

At the Front
Parts of the glacier sit over 60 meters above the level of the water. We cruise across the front edge.

Motor Boat on Lago Argentino in front of Perito Moreno, Patagonia.

Boat on Lago Argentino
Another tour boat motors across the huge lake.

Edge of the Perito Moreno Glacier

Edge of the Glacier
Once our boat was docked, we walked from ‘Refuge’ to a picnic area near the glacier’s terminus; I was never sure if that was the name or just a description.

The Dirty Surface of the Perito Moreno glacier.

Dirty Surface
After we were fitted with our crampons, we started our walk across the glacier. It was surprising to me how rough and dirty the surface was.

Handsom argentinian male in jacket and wool hat and jacket, Perito Moreno glacier.

While our guide was describing the glacier, I heard what I thought was thunder; it turns out it was just the ice protesting.

Deep blue hole in glacial ice, Perito Moreno

Drop something down a crevice, and it might show up again in 200 years.

Ice rippled in waves on the Perito Moreno glacier.

Ripples on the Glacier
The ice rolls in waves, making walking, even with crampons, difficult.

Composite: Male Argentinian guide with an ice-pick, and climing an ice face.

Have Ice-Pick   ~  will Climb
Our guide, unlike me, has no difficulty negotiating the terrain.

People silhouetted against a blue sky, Perito Moreno, Patagonia

Group on the Ridge
Like a caravan of camels on the desert dunes, there was another group in the distance.

Scotch station in the ice, Perito Moreno, Patagonia

The Famous Grouse
As we climbed over the ridge, we saw what we thought was a weather station. It was scotch – which we drank with shaved ice and chocolates.

Landscape: front edge of Perito Moreno, with a piece of glacier splashing into the waters of the lake.

Crack and Splash
Back at ‘Refuge’ after our walk, we listen to the ice crack off the front of the glacier and splash into the lake.

Front wall of glacial ice against a blue sky. Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno
Everything is impossibly bight – impossibly blue.

Landscape of swirled rock at the edge of Lago Argentino, Patagonia

Coloured Rock
The rocks have been well polished by ice and water over eons passed.

View over Perito Moreno glacier

Carpet of Ice
View from the walkway at Curva de Los Suspiros. The glacier stretches 30 km (19 miles) in length, and is 5 kilometres (3 mi) wide across at the lake. In spite of pieces falling off, this glacier is actually growing.

lenticular clouds the walkway at Curva de Los Suspiros

Lenticular Clouds
Patagonia is famous for its spectacular cloud formations. These lenticular clouds look like UFOs against the blue sky.

Glaciar-Perito-Moreno in front of Cerro (

Cerro (‘Hill’) Moreno
Our last view of the glacier from the walkway at Curva de Los Suspiros.

Truly a magnificent landscape.Text: Keep smiling

It may not make me feel better about my computer, but it puts life back into perspective.

Hasta la vista!

Pictures:  26-27March2006

  • gabe - December 13, 2013 - 1:24 am

    A great trip back down memory laneReplyCancel

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