When first planning our Patagonian expedition I thought of only visiting the fabled Perito Moreno Glacier with its three mile front named after the explorer Francisco Moreno.
He was a pioneer who studied the region in the 19th century and played a major role in defending the territory of Argentina in the conflict surrounding the international border dispute with Chile.
I planned to photograph it as I traversed on foot and also from the air. However, neither of those goals came to pass....I learned upon landing in El Calafate that sadly, the sole pilot had perished with his helicopter three weeks earlier, and there were strict rules preventing anyone over 65 (no matter how fit) from being allowed to climb...
Ironically, an even more thrilling climbing experience happened for me the day before on the amazing Viedma glacier. It seems that Perito Moreno, where over 500 tourists trek daily in high season - was way easier. So instead of climbing and flying, we first drove to the National Park's elaborate viewing platforms to see the huge front.
It's 20 mile deep body extended slowly back into the ice field, vanishing into the clouds.
There were a few calvings as well contributing to an incredible collection of ice along its edge.
The melange of ice was moving as we watched from various levels along the walk down. We were standing on Magellan's Peninsula where to the right was the north end of the glacier, while to the left we could see the spit of land which in the past had been joined to the glacier thus dividing the body of water in two. This phenomenon happens periodically . When the pressure produced by the height of the dammed water breaks through the ice barrier - it causes a spectacular rupture sending a massive outpouring of water from the Brazo Rico section to the main body of Lake Argentina. This dam–ice-bridge–rupture cycle recurs naturally and happened last on January 19th 2013. We saw a great film about it in the Glaciarium Museum in Calafate.
After spending about 45 minutes there we got back in our car to take a boat to the southern face getting closer to the front. We were now on the other side of the land mass we had just been on.
Here was an opportunity to see the front at almost eye level.
And what a colossal site it was...