El Calafate (Argentina)

El Calafate (Argentina)

After our incredible trek in Torres del Paine, we crossed the border by bus back to Argentina to arrive in El Calafate. El Calafate, a little town at the foot of the Andes and on the shores of Lago Argentina, one of South America’s largest lakes, at first seemed little interesting to us: very touristic and not that beautiful. It is however the entry point to visit ‘Los Glaciares’, an immense National Park of 350 km long in between Chile and Argentina consisting almost only of massive glaciers and iceberg-covered lakes.

After having rested and re-energized for one day (but still with aching muscles), we set off for a day trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier, the most spectacular and easiest accessible glacier of the whole park. It is a true monster of ice, 14 km long, 4 km wide and culminating at heights of 50 to 60 meters above the surface of Lago Roca. It is one of the most active glaciers in the world as it moves up to 3 meters per day: the ice is cracking, groaning and resonating constantly. At the front wall, where the glacier plunges into the lake, massive blocks of ice as large as a ten-storey building, occasionally fall off the wall and crush into the water creating mini-tsunami waves and an amazing show which we could observe from the shore across the lake, 300 meters away.

We started our trek with a boat trip along the southern wall of the glacier on Lago Roca. The boat could not approach the glacier by more than 200 meters for safety reasons, as waves caused by falling ice blocks could endanger the boat. We then had to cross a forest for about one hour reaching the base camp where we put on crampons and from where we began our hike on the blue ice. We walked for several hours through “Antarctic-esque” landscapes with turquoise blue lagoons and rivers; so beautiful that it almost seemed un-real! The trek was quite intense as we went till the middle of the glacier and back, but we were rewarded with amazing views which made the trek totally worth it!

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Arrival at Lago Roca

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View from the boat on the Southern wall of Perito Moreno glacier

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Perito Moreno glacier colliding with the rocks

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Approaching the Southern wall of the glacier by boat. The wall you see on the picture is around 50-60 metres high.

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Setting foot on the shore across the lake

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The start of our hike on the ice of the glacier. Camille always last in the queue 🙂

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Incredible lagoon in the middle of the glacier. We almost went for a swim!

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Lunch break

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View on the rougher parts of the glacier

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Beautifully centred picture by one our fellow hikers

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Hiking back to the base camp

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Jean exhausted (but Camille still standing)

Our favourite picks/tips:

  • El Calafate hostel
  • Big Ice trek by Hielo y Aventura
  • Cambalache restaurant in El Calafate

Next stop: El Chalten (Argentina)

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