From Glaciers and El Chalten back to Calafate

Went on a trip to Viedma Glacier today. Actually onto the glacier. Been a long time since I felt ice under my feet and it felt good. Mind you it was a bit tamed down for the average tourist. But most of them had their adrenalin levels raised significantly. It involved having a set of basic crampons strapped to your boots and following the guide if front of you in a line, with two other guides on the sides making sure we did not stray into a crevasse or something. This was highly unlikely unless you fell over at a crucial spot as one lady did. Luckily for her she slid into her husband who stopped her just by his presence.

For some reason a guide stayed with her after that, unlike me who they sort of gave up on to a degree, and probably were hoping that I’d drop of a serac. I was making numerous photo stops, then catching up again. Towards the end I could pretty much wander around a bit without being herded back into line by the guides.

The rock near the glacier face is amazingly sculpted by the power of the ice. You could see the grooves gouges out by the tons of ice as it moved over the rock. A lot of it was an oxidized reddish color due to the iron in the volcanic rhyolite. The mountains I was looking at in the past few days are granite intrusions into this stone. A couple of mountains have so far retained the sedimentary layer over that, so you see a huge grey stripe of granite between the darker layers. In the rubble left by the glaciers’ moraines you get a jumbled mixture of these rock types.

Back in Chalten again I was a bit peckish and had a bowl of a local stew called Locra and a beer of course. More traditional venue and more traditional ingredients, lots of beans and vegies, beef and I think I recognized tripe. Then there was a piece of something round with a hole in the middle. Sort of like a bit of cored out carrot, except not vegetable in nature. Don’t think it was a part of the gastrointestinal tract and I couldn’t tell what part of the snout to tail philosophy it was.

After that hearty lunch I walked back up to the Mirrador (Lookout) El Torres to get a better view of Cerro Torre which had eluded me till now. It was well worth the 8km roundtrip.

On the way back to the hotel I roamed the back streets to get a better feel and pictures of El Chalten before my departure to Calafate.



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