Our tour of Perito Moreno first took us to a Mirador on the shore of Lago Argentino from where we could view a large part of the glacier’s front, basically the area between Peninsula Magallanes and the northern shore of the lake. The view is not only an overwhelming visual experience, but it is also an auditory one, with big chunks of ice noisily calving and collapsing into the lake. Often we heard noises that reminded of an avalanche breaking off but we could not see anything, the grumbling seemed to be coming from inside the glacier.
A plaque reminded of the incredible ill-fate of 32 tourists who died here between 1968 and 1988. Pieces of these falling ice chunks were catapulted far away and led to the death of these people. Nowadays the walks and boats keep at a safe distance, avoiding such tragic accidents.
Then we took a boat and sailed along the part of the glacier that lies between the southern shore and Peninsula Magallanes. This view is so amazing, you do not want this to end. On top of that, everybody is eagerly waiting for chunks of ice breaking off and sinking down into the lake causing big waves, accompanied by roaring sounds.
After the boat ride, the most exciting part of the tour lay ahead: walking on top of the glacier with crampons. We were given a short briefing by a guide that explained how to walk uphill / downhill in this new environment, including some safety instructions. Then the crampons were fixed onto our shoes and our group of about 20 people started off. Two guides led the way through the magic world of ice and soon we could see nothing but ice and the sky. Every few minutes the view changed and seemed even more spectacular. We all seemed to be completely absorbed by this unique experience.
Walking uphill was easy, this is done “penguin style”, but going downhill, especially steeper bits, proved to be more difficult. We also had to get used to stepping on thin melting layers of ice, realizing that we would not disappear in bottomless holes of water and ice. This was just the surface water melting and not dangerous. There were deep crevasses and holes as well, but our guides led the way and safely guided us around those.
Near the shore the ice was traced with dark soil that the wind blew on to the glacier, but the further away from the shores we got, the more white the ice was.
After 1.5 hours of walking up and down on the glacier with irons clamped to our shoes, we were ready to quit. There was no wind that day and the sun was burning down on us, making us sweat during our hike on the glacier.
Our guide also gave a brief demonstration of ice climbing which was very impressive. He used an ice pick, making his way up a vertical wall of ice and his crampons coming down a very steep slope.
At the end of the walk, we were served a nice Scotch Whisky, chilled with ice cubes made of glacier ice. This seemed to us a bit cheesy in the beginning, but actually it turned out to be quite a funny “finale”.