Helen and Doug's Round the World Trip travel blog

The terminal face, Franz Josef Glacier

The view from the top

Our guide, Kevin, cutting the steps

Ready for the pub now

Helen trudged on


Sadly the weather was not on our side on Wednesday and our heli-hiking trip was cancelled. Fortunately we could still go on the half-day walk so at 1pm we were kitted out with more clothes and equipment than you would need for skiing and bussed to the glacier car park.

We had a 2.5km walk to the ice face to do first, and of course by this point it had started to rain quite hard. This was just the easy bit though, and was followed by a twenty minute scramble up a steep rocky slope at the side of the glacier. Sometimes it is possible to walk straight up the face but because it is currently advancing this is too steep, not to mention dangerous, which was proven by a huge block of ice and rock tumbling to the ground while we looked on in awe!

On arrival at the actual ice we had to put on icetalonz, spikes which attach to your boots, to be able to walk on it safely. We then started our single-file, physically exhausting, walk up and around the glacier. The route is carved out every morning by the guides using ice picks, and is constantly changing. We had to walk up numerous ice steps about a foot in height and alongside several crevasses. It was quite scary in some ways, but the scenery was spectacular. The ice itself was an amazing blue colour, and some of the formations were beautiful. Sadly we didn't see any ice caves, but just being on the glacier was amazing.

After several hours of constant rain we were very happy to be heading back off the ice and onto terra firma. Feeling pretty exhausted from the long march across the ice and stone, the 2.5km walk back to the car park was a bit of a slog and I've never been happier to see a pub in my life! Helen says it is the hardest thing she's ever done!

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