Posts tagged “icefall

Ice Climbing the Franz

Ice Climbing Franz Josef Glacier - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier is hugely popular to all kinds of visitors. And that’s no wonder, when one realizes the facets this stunning piece of Mother Nature’s work has on offer.
Besides its pure, mesmerizing blue, translucent beauty hitting us from every direction, Franz Josef Glacier has also its rough face, challenging many people with its ice climbing opportunities.

The characteristics of this icy beast, combined with comfortable access, make this very easily possible. The steep and narrow valley works as a funnel into which Franz Josef slides from almost 3.000m above sea level. Once the body of ice gets into lower, steep and uneven valley floor, massive waves of ice are formed. These waves can be as high as 15-20 m and just scream to be climbed…and there is always plenty of those who can hear the call!

Types of Glaciers 1

Fox Glacier under highest peaks in New Zealand - Mt. Tasman 3,497m and Mt Cook 3,754m

Fox Glacier under highest peaks in New Zealand - Mt. Tasman 3,497m and Mt Cook 3,754m

When do we call a chunk of ice a glacier? Usually, the ice mass has to be at least 100m x 100m in size and needs to show some signs of a present or past movement.
Generally, glaciers are divided into two main groups – Ice Sheets and Valley Glaciers, each with several sub-types.
Ice Sheets or Continental Glaciers are the largest masses of ice on Earth spreading over 50,000 square kilometres with the depth of ice sometimes more than 4,200m. They are only found in Antarctica and Greenland. Ice Shelves are floating extensions (more…)

Glacial Valleys

Franz Josef Glacier

Beautiful pastel colours of the sunset above Franz Josef Glacier photographed from Centennial Hut toward the Tasman Sea visible on a horizon. Tusk Rocks in a foreground, Chamberlin Snowfield right, Agassiz Glacier left - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

The most destructive and powerful hand of Mother Nature lies, arguably, in the cryosphere. We may not see it doing much immediate damage, but by observing the landscape we can see enormous changes in our environment caused by glaciers. One of the very typical and most visible footprints glaciers leave behind are our, often ice free, valleys. Entire mountainsides were remodeled by


Ice Flow

The ice flow of a glacier is divided into two types, internal deformation and basal sliding. Internal deformation is movement of parts of the glacier relative to itself. Throughout the descent of the glacier, the ice at the sides and bottom side of the glacier are subject to more friction from the valley floor and walls, and therefore forced to move at a slower rate than the ice in the centre of the glacier. As a result (more…)