Hiking up Franz Joseph

After a bad nights sleep due to some people snoring and some clown banging about at 6am I managed to drag myself out of bed at half 8. I got up and started getting ready for my hike which started at 9. I know… i left it a little late, but i was tired. As i was getting ready i could hear the familiar sound of rain thudding against windows. I peered outside and it was absolutely pouring it down. Great…. I was supposed to be spending the day hiking up a glacier and its pouring down.

Anyway, i gathered my things and headed down to base, i was then given my waterproof jacket, pants, boots & crampons. All geared up and ready we jumped on the bus which took us as near to the glacier as possible.

As we started advancing towards the glacier the rain began to get harder and harder and before long we were all soaked and the waterproofs had virtually ceased being waterproof. But seeing as how we were moving at a fairly quick pace i didn’t get cold at all. We got to the bottom of the glacier and looking up all you could see was thick black cloud, we put on our crampons and began our ascent up the glacier. The inital bit was quite steep and extremely slippy, but because that the first part of the glacier is walked on more often by the softies who opt for the half day hikes it had pre -cut ice steps and ropes up the side of the glacier walls to help you along.

Once we got a bit further up it was a bit more like unchartered territory. Our guide, Kane, asked us if we wanted to go the usual route or if we wanted to make our own. Needless to say we all decided we’d rather go our own way and avoid the other group. The further up we headed the more spectacular the glacier looked and also the more snarly the terrain got. The walking itself i didn’t think was that hard going although some members of our group got rather tired quite quickly. After hours of hiking up the glacier in the pouring rain, it began to ease off just long enough for us to quickly stop and have lunch before advancing further up. No need to tell you that as soon as we started walking it started pouring again. haha. I ended up walking along with these three crazy dutch girls who started singing 100 green bottles of beer… so that passed the time. Finally we reached the point where we had to stop, and we all stood amazed looking back at what we had just hiked, over, through and in some cases under! When you look back at it it looks impossible to walk on.

With the rain finally begining to ease and the sun starting to come through the clouds we slowly began to head down the glacier back to base. When i asked Kane what the time was he looked at his watch said “oh Sh*t, we should have been back an hour ago.” we had only just started to go down at this point and were a good 2 hours from the bottom. He didn’t care though and most of the group who was walking didn’t care either and so on the way down we took it easy had a laugh and a joke and stopped to take some photos along the way.

Finally reaching the bottom of the glacier we were told we could take of the crampons, thank god. Although they weren’t uncomfortable, it was certainly nice to get them off. We then took the 45 min walk back to the bus and then got driven back to base.

After 9 hours of hiking i still feel full of energy, i think there must be something in the air out here! I bet that in a few hours it will hit me though and i will no doubt sleep well tonight.

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