I like mine on the rocks

Trip Start Feb 04, 2008
1
15
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Trip End May 28, 2008


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Saturday, March 1, 2008

29th February 2008

We thought it was about time to do some serious outdoor activity, New Zeland Style, and headed down to Franz Josef. We booked to take part in a glacier hike led by local guides. There building was around the corner from our hostel so we set off to get suited and booted before the minbus took us to the glacier. We were supplied with some killer boots, huge waterproof clown trousers, crampons, a fetching raincoat, hat and gloves. When we pulled up to the start point the glacier looked like a frozen river pouring down between 2 mountains. It also looked really close but the guides told us it would take an hour to walk there. We had to trek through rainforest, over streams, up and down ladders and over boulders before we even got close to the ice.

Once on the frozen stuff the crampons (you don't know what crampons are?! They're metal spikes that fix to the bottom of your boots) went on and we were off! We were led up stairs of ice with our guide using his pick axe to claw through the ice. For an hour we hiked up the glacier holding onto ropes when it got really steep, using our crampons to grip on and not fall down the icy ravines. Getting to the top was really hard work but the views looking back down were spectacular. Being on ice but being surrounded by palm trees and forest was such a unique experience. Working our way back down we went through ice corridors that were bright blue because they had formed under such extreme pressure. Apparently Franz Josef, Fox (which is also in NZ) and a place in Chile have the only glaciers of this type. Thoroughly knackered but so pleased we did it, we headed back.
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