Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers--March 31-April 1, 20
 

Fox Glacier

I stopped by Fox Glacier on my was north toward Franz Josef Glacier. As you may remember, Fox Glacier was the glacier I landed on top on the helicopter ride a couple of weeks ago. That day I approached the glacier from the east side at Mt. Cook. This time I came upon the glacier from the west side and saw it in its full glory from the bottom. These glaciers really look out of place since the scenery around them is green and the temperature is around 61 Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) at the bottom.

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Franz Josef

The next day I did an all day climb up Franz Josef Glacier. Here is my first view as we were walking toward the glacier.

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Climbing the glacier

No experience needed to climb the glacier. The tour company provides boots with crampons to attach to them, rain coats and pants as needed. From the base we start walking up the glacier. If you look in the top right of this picture you will see a red dot. This is one of the tour company workers who is making sure it is safe to walk on. From here you can see the scale and size of the glacier that I am about to climb.

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More of the glacier

The first part of the day was spent mostly climbing pretty steep areas that had steps carved out already. The rest of the day we spent climbing around areas that had not been climbed recently. The guide chose the route and cut steps as he went to ensure our safety.

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Here I am on the glacier

It is quite a bit colder up on the glacier as you can see I am bundled up pretty well. These glaciers are 2 of only 4 in the world that are in what is considered a temperate climate.

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Ice formations

We saw some amazing ice formations when up there with beautiful blue ice. There was water running everywhere as the glacier melts and this along with the wind causes different formations to occur.

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More formations

There were also holes created in the ice. Some of them are big enough to crawl through.

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Punakaiki--Pancake Rocks

As I left the glaciers I traveled north along the coast on my way toward Nelson. I stopped at a place known as Punakaiki. This area on the beach has rock formations that look like pancakes. The weather on this day was the worst I had seen in NZ and I guess it was a good thing I was driving and not really out to see the sights. I ducked into this National Park quickly before getting soaked and continuing on my journey.

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