Argentina - Glacier Park

In 1981, full-fledged, the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites, as one of the most representative in terms of nature and landscape views of the world.
The Park covers an area of 600,000 hectares, embracing the whole area around the Argentino and Viedma lakes and including a wide range of Patagonian Continental Hielo Sur (Southern Patagonian Ice Field), remnant of the Pleistocene surface, for a length of 440 km and a width varying between 50 and 90 kilometers. Fueling the Hielo Patagonico Continental are the big storms present all year on the Cordillera which cause a steady accumulation of new layers of snow, which, with their weight, transform those beneath on ice; thus arises a gigantic mass that slowly slips, a few meters per year, digging deep valleys and giving them the typical U-shaped with wide, flat bottom and steep sides, that, contrary to what happens with a river, it exercises long the entire contact section between the ice and the underlying rock.

At present, almost all the glaciers are now in a phase of regression, as the bands devoid of vegetation that line the terminals languages, because of the average temperature of the last years.
One exception is the Perito Moreno Glacier, located between two branches of Lake Argentino, which stretches for five kilometers with a height of over 60 meters above the water level. From his front break off huge chunks of ice that plunge into the lake raising huge waves with a deafening noise that looks like a cannonball.
The Perito Moreno is one of the few glaciers in the world constantly advancing and regularly obstructs the Canal de los Témpanos, bisecting the lake with the consequent increase in the level of the lake arm called Brazo Rico and this until the pressure of the water column it reaches a force that can literally blow up the ice dam anchored to the earth.
This phenomenon is repeated with a frequency of three / four years, the unexpected spectacle (you never know when it will happen exactly) that leaves a lasting impression in tourists present at that time. Lately this phenomenon cycle is lengthening.
The Mirador in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier and easy to reach and consists of a wide walkway on steel catwalks placed on different levels and at different heights. The show is extraordinary: the immense white wall seems to come out of the lake and get lost in the ice of the Hielo Continental, which in turn give the impression to fade in the distance in the sky, a spectacle of nature. One aspect that leaves a bit 'of concern is the clatter of the ice moves. This is clearly perceptible and is manifested by intense "crunches" generated by the tremendous pressure faced by the states of the outer ice, those on the front of the lake. blocks of ice as big as a building come off quite frequently falling on the lake with a significant roar.

Another giant of the park is the Uppsala Glacier, one of the greatest of all the Southern Andes: in fact extends to about thirty kilometers from Mount Don Bosco until the Lago Argentino, fed on the north by gigantic Viedma Glacier, whose large front five kilometers it melts in the lake of the same name.
From El Calafate, start the must-lake hiking through the Argentino Lake to the Glacier Uppsala and Spegazzini Glacier. These excursions can be done by hiring small boats or you can choose a more economical solution based on large boats (catamarans) capable of carrying hundreds of tourists. For all, the point of embarkation is Porto Bandera. The boats are close enough (not too much for security) to the fronts of these glaciers, an incredible view, the boats seem to mice in comparison to the giant ice.

While navigating meet small and large icebergs drifting which give the landscape a polar appearance and also offering their indescribable emotions, boats linger and are close to those larger and characteristic allowing close contact with these elements has sometimes take on special forms, sometimes twisted sometimes geometric, as if a skilled hand he had carved, one difficult spectacle to behold.

Inside the park area there are also the legendary, at least for mountaineers, mountain Fitz Roy (3,375 m) and Cerro Torre (3128 m above sea level) two giants that have marked the lives of many fans. The starting point to make a trip on these mountains is the town of El Chalten not far from El Calefate. It is a small country that has developed on tourism linked to these two mountains, hotels, restaurants, bars, shops sector, agencies for excursions but there are school, medical clinic, police station, etc.
Cerro Torre Argentina
The interest of fans to these two famous peaks is mainly due to the fact that few have managed to scale them and many are those who have given their lives to do so. To make it difficult and dangerous to climb these mountains very vertical, the technical difficulties are added the particularly adverse weather conditions, which arise from the clash of large air masses coming from the Atlantic and the Pacific, which in the trigger zone unforeseen and violent storms.
For lovers of trekking in El Chalten exists the possibility to make wonderful excursions in the park, also reaching the base camps used by mountaineering expeditions.

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