A walk through Qaleraliq, southern Greenland glacier


While I had already walked with snowshoes in ourtravel in Antarctica, it hadn't been until Ymerbukta in Svalbard when you first experience an ice crampon hike. Today the glacier fronts and an excursion on the icy mass has taken us to one of the most spectacular pictures of the trip, a walk through Qaleraliq, southern Greenland glacier.

Possibly global warming has also had a lot to tell us although I am not sure I know how to explain the magnitude of the problem we face.

Qaleraliq, one of the largest in southern Greenland

I closed the story yesterday trying to describe my feeling of isolation, wild state, authenticity ... and even magic that Fletanes gives off, the Polar Lands camp in Qaleraliq. When many times being at home my nostalgic vein enters and it is privileges like this, far from mass tourism, which I long for. Only you are missing, Paula, to make a route similar to this ...

To dawn in this enclave is to feel one of the most autorealized people in the world. The sounds of the nearby languages ​​have been playing all night and now we can see the result in the cold waters nearby (no, I do not get back as I did in the Tasiusaq Arctic Bath)

In our dome we slept the 4 Spaniards and Rita and Alberto that we already told you days ago that are a couple's charm, in the surrounding area the rest of the French group, where it is possibly with Eve with whom better "crumbs" have made. The truth is that I admire the capacity and energy that has even with the knee something damaged since the excursion of the Valley of the Thousand Flowers. You are ready for breakfast after a small toilet in the nearby creek.

And in Fletanes there is no energy, no hot water. It's so wild and authentic, we have to dispense with a series of amenities for a few days, although with the good weather that the experience is giving us, the shower has become a nearby river, the bathroom a small "closet" a few meters from the main base and the fridge a small bucket that we load all the 2000-year ice evenings to cool the beers.

After a pleasant breakfast with my adventure companions, comes one of the strengths of the day and adventure. Never before had I faced a glacier front from such a short distance as we are going to do now. Just 100 meters from a 2.5 km long front and with 60-70 meters high !!

I will never be sufficiently aware of how privileged I am to reach corners that I have been able to access in one way or another. Can you imagine, as you read this, furrowing in a zodiac between giant chunks of ice of different shades of blue cleared from some nearby iceberg, getting closer and closer to the origin of the "ice bucket"?

And discover that this "ice bucket" is an ice front cracking and emitting thunderous "moans" and waves of considerable size around us?

It is a show of the different states that water can create! One where there are no tickets, no queues, no resale and we could intuit last night when we heard those "tears" in the distance.

Ice walls taken from "Game of Thrones", vertical walls of enormous size, beautiful icebergs of continuous formation. Even The silence of the group denotes a certain state of tension, fear? Awe? before the intensity with which seracs (huge blocks of ice) fall on the water.

Walking on one of the oldest icy masses in the world

We said in our introduction that One of the most exclusive and special excursions in Greenland is to be able to walk on the ice masses with crampons as we did only once before. It is an unusual privilege in an Arctic enclave, only disturbed by crazy adventurers the equivalent of a few milliseconds in a formation with millions of years of life

10 km long currently divided into three languages, but where we will not walk just 5 km round trip


Total tour time: 4 hours
Difficulty: EASY
Status as necessary: NORMAL. No special conditions
Distance: 5 kilometers
Accumulated drop:200 meters
Maximum level:50 meters
Type of terrain:Ice
Mosquito level: None. The ice repels them

Qaleraliq is a glacier that has been receding throughout the 20th century ... The effect of global warming! That we saw before in the rise of the waters ofKiribati in the middle of Micronesia, the glacier's retreat itselfYmerbutka in the Norwegian Arctic or the sinking of Maldives atolls that we visited in 2011 and that augurs the end of the ice in less than a century (the image is not mine, but I can't find its author)

The evident effect of the growth of vegetation where before there was only ice and snow makes the studies of scientists already expose a critical threshold that will affect Inuit fauna and people, adapted their lifestyle for hundreds of years to live in this cold climate of the Arctic. Time to put the crampons!

Equipped and with the excellent explanations of Jorge (a true expert guide but that is also a piece of "good people", always worried and attentive to all) accompanied by Daniel and Eva, we begin a walk with crampons (suitable for all audiences) through the inlandis entrance door. The inlandis or indlandis is nothing more than the enormous glacier mass that corresponds to the polar ice caps of both Antarctica and Greenland and that seems to exert such force that causes a sinking of the earth's surface up to !! 3.5 km !!

What is of extraordinary beauty is that labyrinthine appearance of wells, caves, cracks, sinks and other icy formations that the picture of the glacier leaves in its ascent.

Contrary to what we saw last year in Svalbard, Qaleraliq seems to be made by a sculptor who devoted much of his time to placing every last detail. Ice mountains in the form of "appetizing ice cream" make the backdrop.

Jorge allows us to climb more, but he is waiting for each step and giving us advice. Do not step on the snow, be careful with the cracks, be careful with the caves. Any bad step could be lethal.

Always in perfect "Indian row" and flanked by Daniel and Eva who are assisting us, we continue the ascent through the icy mountain, always at a very smooth pace for everyone.

What attracts most attention are the huge sinks where they travel true freshwater springs (without mineralization, better to drink from the canteen) and that they will surely go through some evacuation system from the glacier directly to the fjord.

Everything surprises me. There are no mosquitoes, it is seen that the "sea of ​​ice" is not an ideal ecosystem. Rivers from the thaw, that we already saw on the climb between the rocks to reach the tongue and that we also found above the white layer itself.

And where do you eat here? It looks like we are not going to find a picnic area with some tables so when we reach the highest point we can reach, any place is good. What better glacier picnic than watching the infinite white desert of the inlandis with the intense blue of the fjord on the other side?

The weather remains extraordinary since our arrival and the sun continues without abandoning us. That allows the descent to be also very scenic

Although if we thought we had seen everything, a huge crack that separates the glacier front which has all the "predisposition" to detach itself sooner rather than later, makes us the last activity before undertaking the return to the boat.

Better not to fall, right Jose Carlos, Ida and Antonio?

If these days the sunscreen and lipstick became almost essential ... today you can forget the water, but never these!

A walk through the walls of the glacier front

Although at first we thought that the moment of more adrenaline was over, we were very wrong. Already without crampons and back in the semi-rigid, our "Inuit" driver was going to give us a very very magical and special walk.

Are the Vertical walls of one of the most impressive glacier fronts in South Greenland, Qaleraliq, a privilege that only a few hundred people can do every year.

Walls that mix blues of different shades, with huge cracks, amorphous walls and heterogeneous falls to the sea, and all accompanied by the many icebergs fallen last night

Be careful, there are areas that seem delicate, prone to further falls due to the warming effect.

The fall of a large block of ice could cause a tsunami capable of overturning the boat, although perhaps with this beautiful panorama that we are enjoying right now, we will not become aware.

Today I'm not going to tell you much about the return. There is no shortage of our beers (5 EUR), our dinner (today I played rice, which I have repeated up to 3 times -Jorge, you are an artist in the kitchen too-) and I have hardly had the strength to pass the photos to the computer.

THE SERIES "TRAVEL TO GREENLAND" NOW IN YOUTUBEA trip like this deserved the best AUDIOVISUAL EXPERIENCE in ourYoutube channel. You can see here the COMPLETE SERIES and then the chapter of this day without leaving the article you are reading (and our experience with crampons for ice)…

I am SOLD OUT, more than ever. I don't know if the sun's effect or that the days, trekkings and efforts begin to weigh on my punished body. The fact is that today the sunset will not be part of my night plan.

Our "cabin" 8 bunk dome already has enough darkness to sleep (although a mask is not a bad idea for luggage at this time of year). They say that Qaleraliq, for its perfect latitude, It is the best place on the planet to observe northern lights. It is an experience that we still have to check and begin in mid-August, so you will have to wait on our adventures. What I am convinced is that Qaleraliq is ESE corner of the planet where I found the spirit of exploration that I had been looking for ...

Isaac, from Qaleraliq (Greenland)