Parque Nacional Los Glaciares World Heritage Site

by Lynn & John Salmon <>{

We visited the Moreno Glacier in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in 1993. See our travel log: A Trip to the End of the World

The glacier is too spectacular for words. It is both a visual and an auditory experience. Visually, it's exactly what you think a glacier should be. A huge wall of ice extending up into the mists that hang over a long valley. The front is 4 km long, and it is about 150 ft high. You can approach it two ways. Un launcho (not to be confused with lunch) takes you out on Lago Argentino up to 300m from the front of the glacier. It looms large over you, and icebergs float past. The front face is incredibly craggy and broken and twisted, and also a deep blue color. The second approach is from a bluff toward which the glacier is advancing. The park service has installed several walkways in this area which afford spectacular views of different sections. Prior to the installation of the walkways it was possible to climb down to the base of the bluff, which was very close to the face of the glacier. Unfortunately, several tourists have been killed over the years by falling ice and the waves they generate.

The surprising aspect of the glacier is that it actually does something before your eyes. It's moving at approximately 30 cm/day, which may not sound like all that much. (Your typical garden snail would not need to sprint to get out of the way). BUT ... watch for ten minutes and you hear a loud thunderclap as a car-sized block of ice drops off into Lago Argentino. Watch for an hour and a house-sized block falls off, forming an iceberg that will drift downstream for many miles before melting. Very few of the World Natural Heritage Sites "do" anything. They simply "are". The Moreno glacier is a rare and spectacular exception.

Our Photos from Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (January, 1993)

Return to our A Trip to the End of the World adventure.

Lynn & John Salmon <>{