A Glimpse of Martial Glacier

How often do you go off-trail with your hikes?

We found a reasonably dry day while staying in Ushuaia to check out the resident glacier: Martial Glacier. While we could have hiked directly from town, we didn’t see the need to add the extra miles, especially since they were all uphill. Instead, we took the relatively cheap taxi to the official trailhead.

Martial Glacier trailhead

The trail starts on a broad ski run and keeps at a very steady incline for the first mile or so. It then breaks off to follow a glacial stream on something that looks much more like an official hiking trail.

Rickety bridge over the creek

The path crosses the stream a couple of times on very questionable bridges before making its way up an open scree field. The views behind us continued to improve as we neared the trail’s end and its namesake glacier.

Trail winding up the hillside

At the top, we were greeted with a sign that declared the end of the trail. However, the worn path clearly continued.. and so did we.

Up another hundred yards or so, we found a huge chunk of ice that made for a perfect posing spot. We also saw someone slide down the chilly slope. Defiant after being refused admittance to Perito Moreno Glacier, my dad insisted on standing upon this hunk of ice to prove he’s not too old.

Travel kitties sitting on the giant slab of ice

But that still wasn’t quite good enough. Despite a second sign warning visitors to not go any farther, my dad wanted to climb the rocks at touch the glacier, proper. And I was not the sort to be left behind.

Dad standing on the rocks trying to get to the glacier

We climbed the rocks, sure the ice face lay just beyond the next one. Instead, it only grew steeper and more slick from glacial runoff. We finally reached a point where we could likely climb safely, but we weren’t as assured in our ability to get back down.

We cut our losses and made our way back down, only to see more hikers futilely attempting the climb.

View from the base of the glacier

We didn’t quite make it to the main glacier, but I think the giant chunk of ice that my dad stood on totally counts!


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