Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Glaciology 101

The two West Coast glaciers we visited today are rather unique, not only because while many of the other glaciers in the world have retreated, these two (Fox and Franz Josef) still flow almost to sea level. Also, these two glaciers are particularly steep and long, both about 13 km.

Many companies offer scenic overflights, both with small planes and helicopters; and they also do snow-landings ON the glaciers. We thought we had alrerady done one scenic flight this holiday, plus we know how snow feels (!), so we were quite content with driving up the view roads and walk up as close to the glacier's terminal face as we could.

Here we are first at Fox Glacier:

Back in 1750, this glacier covered this whole valley and came even further down closer to sea level. It was as high as that mountain you see to the left in this photo:

When we came to the Franz Josef Glacier we decided to do one of the local walks.

There was this "hike" advertised as a "20-minute return climb" up a big rock, and we thought with all their hash training the kids should be able to do that! And they did, with no problem!

So we walked up the Sentinel Rock, and had superb views of the glacier (and Mount Cook!) from the top!

Lucas was busy taking his own photos. (You will see his take on our holiday once we get to Taupo and I can sort through the bigger amount of photos!).

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