PABLO BURBANO’S MOOD IS AS STEADY as his gait — unless you get him talk- ing about Argentina’s glaciers.
“Pachamama (Mother Earth) will be ;ne,”
he said. “Humans, however, will not be ;ne.
We depend on glaciers for fresh water.”
Along with the polar bear, the glacier has
become a de facto poster child for climate
change. Story a;er story has come out encour-
aging prospective travelers to head to glacial
lands — before it’s too late.
And there are a few reasons to choose
Los Glaciares National Park in Argentinean
Patagonia for glacier gazing besides getting to
learn from Burbano, a guide for Fitz Roy Expe-
diciones. Most of the glaciers at the 80-year-old
park are fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice
Field, one of the world’s largest masses of ice
and sources of fresh water. And, last year, the
park celebrated its 80th anniversary, along with
36 years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
;e park’s marquee glacier — Perito
Moreno — is one of the area’s few
stable glaciers and is a quick visit
from El Calafate, the gateway to
the park. Tours there o;en include ice trekking
atop the glacier, followed by a celebratory toast
of whisky spiked with glacial ice.
But, for you alarmists in the audience,
most of the 47 glaciers in the park are, in fact,
receding — some moving at a pace that’s not
For example, ice trekking was o;ered at
Viedma Glacier during the start of the 2017
summer season in December. By February,
Viedma became o;-limits to ice trekkers.
“It’s not due to government prohibi-
tion,” said Luciana Alvarez, sales for Fitz Roy
Expediciones, a sister company of
Patagonia Aventura, which operates
excursions at Viedma. “We stopped,
During my visit to “catastrophically
calving” Viedma, I witnessed how the glacier
violently shed large chunks of itself, adding
even more icebergs to waters already stud-
ded with them. Burbano reminisced about
the glacier’s former glory, but the day was still
One of the area’s popular hikes stops
at iceberg-dotted Laguna Torre.
ACTIVE AND ECO
Moving at a Glacial Pace
Glacier hopping in Argentinean Patagonia proves to be
an enlightening adventure
by MINDY PODER