Yes, I walked on a Glacier. A humbling experience that was awe inspiring. This moving river of compacted snow/ice is more than just a pretty picture, it signifies millions of years of our history. Scientists believe the Columbia Icefield predates the existence of man and when you see it, you can’t help but feel a sense of your own smallness. The glacial area extends between the summits of Mount Columbia (3,747 metres]) on the west and Mount Athabasca (3,491 metres) on the east. The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains. It covers some 230 sq km to a depth of 365 m and is 28 km long. The glacier receives an average of 7 metres of new snowfall per year. Not all of that snow can melt in the short summers so it accumulates, turning to ice.
We arrived at the Columbia Icefields glacier discovery centre and had a look around the gift shop which I thought had some great gifts and clothing items. We did not have to wait long before our shuttle was ready to take us to the giant ice explorer. I found that all the staff were really helpful.
Our tour guide, from Perth Australia was confident, full of knowledge and lots of fun and told us so much about the massive Ice Explorer that we were on and also about the glaciers, the local ecosystem, and environmental changes.
With the steepness of one of the roads that we drove down I was a little uneasy but he assured us that we were very safe and in fact I felt comfortable.
It was much easier to walk on the glacier than I expected but I was still very careful as to where I put my feet. There were many little “rivulets” of streams. We spent quite some time up on the glacier. There were many international flags that many of us used in our dozen of photos. I drank the crisp, clear, cold water and filled my water bottle with what is known as the purest water on earth.
This visit to the Columbia glacier was one of the highlights of my trip to the Rockies and despite the high cost I recommend it. It is such a unique experience that I cannot really compare to anything I have ever done. It was definitely a very moving experience that I cherished every moment of.