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Patagonia’s Laguna Torre and Glaciar Grande – A Seven Image Gallery

Wrapping up this three-post series on a pair of day hikes from El Chalten, Argentina, is this mini-gallery of the Glaciar Grande and the lake it overlooks, Laguna Torre.

Even shrouded in clouds the scene does an admirable job advertising this corner of Los Glaciares National Park as the hiker attraction that it is. It’s also, like the majority of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field (wiki|map) that it sits in, a “kind of poster child for rapidly changing glacier systems”.

That’s according to “Ice loss from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, South America, between 2000 and 2012”, a late 2012 study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Laguna Torre 6

From an abstract on DailyClimate.org:

Ice fields in southern South America are rapidly losing volume and in most cases thinning at even the highest elevations, contributing to sea-level rise at “substantially higher” rates than observed from the 1970s through the 1990s

and

The rapid melting, based on satellite observations, suggests the ice field’s contribution to global sea-level rise has increased by half since the end of the 20th century, jumping from 0.04 millimeters per year to about .07 mm, and accounting for 2 percent of annual sea-level rise since 1998.

and

Warming air temperatures contributed to the thinning throughout the mountain range, [the report ] noted. And the warmer temperatures increased the chances that rain – as opposed to snow – would fall on and around the glaciers. That double threat increases the amount of water under the glaciers, decreasing friction and moving more ice to the oceans.

This ice field, along with its northern neighbor, comprise the largest mass of ice in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica.

According to the study, which compared satellite imagery over a 12-year period beginning in 2000, found that glaciers in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field thinned by an average of six feet per year.

I left this rocky lake shore with the same contentedly queasy feeling I had after leaving other glaciers, before and since, behind: happy that I made the opportunity to see them while they were still around.

Laguna Torre 9 Laguna Torre 8 Laguna Torre 7 Laguna Torre 2 Laguna Torre 4

Here’s a 45-second timelapse of the lake I shot over the span of about 25 minutes with my GoPro. The cool soundtrack is Broken Music Boxes by Ilya Monosov. I chose it because the description for his album Vinyl Document #1 –a record that focuses on sounds derived from broken or otherwise mistreated machines– fits well. Please check out more of his excellent work.

For posterity’s sake, here’s the GoPro at work and below that me, who is always at work. :)

Laguna Torre 5

On the way to Laguna Torre.

On the way to Laguna Torre.

Check out the previous two posts from this series:
~ Hiking Patagonia’s Fitz Roy Trail: El Chalten Day Hike 1
~ Patagonia’s Laguna Torre Trail – El Chalten Day Hike 2

And finally, this post is linked up with Travel Photo Monday #34 on Travel Photo Discovery. The direct link is here. Check it out!

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14 Comments

  1. March 3, 2014 at 6:10 am — Reply

    Gorgeous photos – I’m always fascinated by glaciers but it’s sad and crazy how fast they are melting and changing.

    • March 3, 2014 at 11:17 am — Reply

      Indeed – I want to see as many as I can before they disappear. Many will be gone in our lifetimes.

  2. March 3, 2014 at 6:37 am — Reply

    Great photos :)

  3. March 3, 2014 at 8:04 am — Reply

    WOW! Spectacular photos! Although im sure like most images, it doesn’t capture what it is really like to be there or how big it really is.
    I have always been fascinated my glacier, im hoping to go over to NZ next year and go walking one on of the glaciers there!
    Thanks for Sharing

    • March 3, 2014 at 11:22 am — Reply

      Thanks! The glacier itself is fairly large, although nothing like it used to be.

  4. March 3, 2014 at 8:02 pm — Reply

    Wow, i would also love to visit this place while it is still around…I saw a film on the disappearing glaciers of the world and the producer did a time lapse segment of years on this particular glacier, it was stunning and sad at the same time to see….The movie is called Chasing Ice

    • March 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm — Reply

      I saw it too, Noel. Yes, an EXCELLENT film.

  5. March 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    Amazing photos! This is the closest I’ve ever been to a glacier, thank you for the tour!:-)

  6. March 4, 2014 at 6:17 pm — Reply

    I’ve always wanted to go here. Love these shots!

    • March 4, 2014 at 11:22 pm — Reply

      Thanks, glad you like!

  7. March 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm — Reply

    We’ve never been to Patagonia but it’s high on our list!
    Lovely photos, Bob! We would be honoured if you participated in our weekly Travel Photography competition. Every week we publish 3 winning shots on our website and write a nice bio with a link to the photographers’ websites/FB/Flickr pages.
    Find more details here: http://hitchhikershandbook.com/your-contributions/travel-photography/
    Have a nice weekend!

    • March 8, 2014 at 11:49 pm — Reply

      Thanks for stopping by and letting me know about the contest. I’ll definitely check it out.

  8. Angela Travels
    April 11, 2014 at 3:00 am — Reply

    I am sad that this series is coming to an end. I just loved your photos of El Chalten.

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