Viedma Glacier is named after Spanish explorer Antonio de Viedma, the first European to discover it (late 18th century). It flows into Lake Viedma from the west, being the lake’s main source of water. The glacier is about 2km / 1.25 mile wide at the point where it enters the lake.
• The glacier is part of Southern Patagonian Ice Field and is located at the Argentina / Chile border. The Argentinian side of the Ice Field, as well as the lake, are part of Los Glaciares National Park and a designated World Heritage Site.
• One can get to the Glacier by water from a boat station at the North tip of Lake Viedma, near El Chaltén. The best way to do it is to join a group tour (ask in El Chaltén visitor information center).
• It takes about an hour or more for the boat to sail along the west end of the lake to the glacier.
• The glacial water in the lake has an ever changing color varying from turquoise to gray. Another thing to watch for is the sky – I’ve never seen to many lentil clouds as in Patagonia.
• As the boat gets closer to the glacier it has to make its way among small icebergs. This one is about the size of the boat:
• Finally the boat finds its docking point in a small cove next to the place where the glacier hits the lake.
• The greenish color of the water in that cove makes a nice contrast with the reddish rocks that surround it.
• If you want to walk on the glacier you want to put on the cramp-ons. This is the first thing we do after disembarking.
• At this moment we’re distracted by a loud roar and splash – a chunk of ice size of a multi-storey building split away from the glacier and fell into the lake.
• The group starts climbing the slope of the glacier, gradually getting used to the unfamiliar way of walking.
• One should be careful not to end up falling into one of these crevasses.
• The wind is blowing up the dust over the surface of the ice field. Who would think one could encounter a sandstorm on a glacier?
• At the end of the walk our guides surprise us by pulling out a few bottles of Bailey’s from their backpacks along with plastic cups, and treat us to the drinks with ice – yes, with the ice from the glacier. Then we turn around and head back towards the lake where the boat is waiting.
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Related photo galleries: Lake Viedma, Viedma Glacier, Estancia Helsingfors, Patagonia