Tag Archives: Athabasca Glacier

Back from the Rockies

I’ve been back a day and am getting my photos sorted. The Rockies, like the Grand Canyon, are hard to capture in photos. Add to that hazy skies from forest fires in British Columbia and Alberta, rain, and shooting from moving vehicles, and most of my pictures are mental.

Rockies in haze

We did wonder if we would get any views.  Of course the real concern was containing the forest fires. Rain the first night settled things a bit, and there were views on the Banff Gondola ride.

Gondola up Sulfur Mountain

Here is the route of the gondola up Sulphur Mountain, lifting us to about 8,000 feet.

Gondola machinery

The gondola looked sturdy enough to trust for that uphill ride. Each held four people, and the view was stunning. It was possible to walk yet higher after we got off–I thought I was high enough. Here is one view from the stopping point.

View from gondola drop offAnother participatory event was riding the Ice Explorer on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. (The hardy people could hike up to it.) Athabasca combines with five other glaciers that feed from the Columbia Ice Field. Unlike the Continental Divide that feeds two oceans, the Columbia Ice Field feeds three: Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic. Our guide said this was the only proven one, though there are one or two others assumed, one in Siberia.

Ice Explorer

We were told that the glacier was as deep as the Eiffel Tower is high. And that it retreats 10 feet a year (gaining 15 in the winter and losing 25 in the summer). Here is an article about retreat with slightly different figures.

Melt run off

Watching the rushing melt run off was quite dramatic, as was watching the rushing river at Natural Bridge. You’ll have to imagine the sound of the rushing water.

Natural Bridge, side view

Natural Bridge frong It was mentioned that the water was so high that it was flowing over instead of under natural bridge.

I’ll sort some more photos and be back in a day or two.



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