hiking up a glacier
October 20, '04

(click on the first picture to get started; captions are at the bottom of each picture page)

We awoke to this view from the motorcamp we stayed at near the glaciers. We decided to do an all-day guided hike on Fox Glacier, as seen here near the parking lot.
One of two places in the world where you can see a glacier from a rainforest After hiking for a while along the side of the glacier-carved hillside, this was the view looking back
And looking forward at the glacier itself, here is the very first *diagonal panorama*. Oh, baby.  It never would have occurred to me to try a diagonal panorama, except that the situation was just calling out for one.
We put on crampons so as not to slip, but just to be safe our glacier guide chopped little steps in the ice for us with her pickaxe.  These steps have to be re-built every day as the glacier shifts overnight. Partway up the glacier we walked through this slippery ice crack.  The dangerous part of glaciers are bigger cracks.  The walls are so slippery that you slide straight down until you are wedged in so tightly you can't breathe.
Our glacier hiking group Here I am standing at the farthest point we got up the glacier.  Behind me, the slope steepens and the ice cracks became too frequent and steep to traverse.
You can see that we'd come a long way up On the way down we passed some people learning how to ice-climb!  Looks like fun...
Ice cracks perpendicular to the area of most strain.  In this case, it is bending over a hump in the valley, so the stress along the line of the valley, forming "fingers" visible from the side Glacial till at the foot of the glacier
For a sense of scale, notice the tiny people to the lower left of the glacier face. Further down the West Coast we passed this marvel.
The sun was setting as we drove along Lake Wanaka, further inland now. That night I stayed at the "Purple Cow" hostel in Wanaka!  What a crazy coincidence for Williams folk, eh?