NZ Journal: Ice, Ice, Baby…

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First, I’m sorry for putting that song into your head. Consider the Queen/Bowie rendition (Pressure, from which Mr. Ice and friends borrowed liberally and subsequently paid the price); it’ll help.

On to the point of today’s post. Steph and I hiked up to and upon Fox Glacier. It was a strenuous and extraordinary adventure and one we won’t soon forget. In addition to the physical and visual rewards, we learned a great deal about the umpteen million year old glacier that has receded and progressed along its track through the 90 years or so the Fox Glacier Guides has been leading groups up onto the ice. We saw the various points upon which they once stepped onto the ice. Today, those points are hundreds of feet above the valley floor.

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We were given heavy wool socks, leather boots, jackets, walking poles and, most importantly, crampons. The surface of the glacier was covered with ground rock, but in spots was extremely slippery. The crampons were essential gear and made walking on the surface, particularly in the steepest spots, possible.

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The white ice close to the surface is filled with oxygen while the deeper ice has been compressed such that the oxygen-less blocks allow light closer to the cool end of the color spectrum to pass through. Hence the blue hue.

Also interesting was the rainforest induced vegetation on the way to the glacier and at its edges.

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All in all, a very memorable (and exhausting) day…

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6 Responses to NZ Journal: Ice, Ice, Baby…

  1. Clanmother says:

    You should be meeting some elves or dwarfs quite soon…and watch out for the Balrogs!!!

  2. What a fabulous trip you are on…. I’m enjoying that I can tag along through your images and writing! ~Hillary

  3. LaRee says:

    Any time you are wearing crampons, you know you are on an adventure. I am enjoying your travels, writings and photos!

  4. carinzil says:

    Great photos. Sadly we didn’t have such great weather when walking up this glacier

  5. Ed Spadoni says:

    Where’s the rope? Looks like a blast and I especially love that last photo with Steph. Rebecca warned of Balrogs…I’m thinking more like ton-tons.

  6. Rodney says:

    thanks for sharing Rey! Glaciers are amazing aren’t they? Since I have no clue, I have to ask… who is Stephanie and is she a photographer too? If so, I would love to see her photos!

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