14th August 2018
Where are we? Mauranger, Norway
Work starts early on the mountain top. I’m not sure how early but we were woken up by the work going on, there is a summer ski resort on the glacier and there is some building going on so between all the vehicles arriving and the banging on the worksite our sleep was disrupted. On the plus side, it looked like it was going to be a glorious day for a glacier walk. Because of the early start we had plenty of time to get sorted for our walk which was just as well because we had to get about 3 layers of clothes on each to keep warm and eat an energy supplying breakfast and get our lunch made to take with us on the walk. Once all this was done we headed over to the meeting place only to find that our guides had not made it up the mountain yet. Once they did arrive we had to get fully kitted out, and since there were about 30 or 40 of us doing the hike this took a while. We had harnesses, mountain shoes, crampons, helmets and ice picks to sort out and then we had to be arranged into ‘ropes’ where our group of 8 were all tied together to our guide to keep us safe, it was a bit like a string of camels going across the desert. Then it was time to set off and what with malfunctioning crampons, dodging skiers and various other stops and starts it felt like it took us a long time to really get anywhere. But we made it up a fairly steep slope, zigzagging our way and concentrating on walking in crampons and keeping our ropes tight and we were all doing well, even if we had been a little nervous to start with. At one point we heard and felt a little ‘whoomp’ noise and our guide explained that this was the sound of a glacier moving and that this was quite a rare thing to experience while on a walk, he had only experienced this once before in his 4 years as a guide. We made it a bit further on and stopped for some lunch which was a quick pitstop really, we couldn’t sit anywhere so just ate where we stood all tied together. Then we started off again and walked past a few crevices and streams of ice water running down the glacier and just enjoyed this amazing landscape, something that is obviously pretty rare so we are lucky that we could do it but also something that is disappearing from our planet so we are doubly lucky because given the way the glaciers are receding who knows for how much longer they will be around. After a while we got to what would be our highest point for the day so we stopped and took photos and appreciated everything around us as the guide talked us through a bit of glacier history and glacier future and just as all the cameras had been put away and we set off on our trek back down there was another ‘WHOOOMP’, this one louder and stronger than before, even causing our guide to drop the f-bomb. I have to admit that the sound and feeling of this glacial movement was so sudden and unnerving that I almost had a glacial movement myself, and I don’t think I was alone. Then followed a quick geological lesson from our guide who reassured us all that it was a long way below us and there was no way a glacier could split in the middle so we all relaxed a bit and enjoyed the walk down, seeing more waterfalls and wells as we went. It had been an awesome experience although sometimes I think our girls can be a bit blasé about some of the things we do. Don’t get me wrong, they get into it and enjoy it but maybe don’t realise that not everybody gets to have such experiences. A nice hot chocolate was enjoyed and a bit of a rest before we had to make our way back down the mountain and I am happy to say that the anticipation of how frightening the drive would be was much worse than the reality as once again Jess drove us safely down to sea level. We found another place to free park, this time next to a fjord and realised just how worn out we all were.
What have we learned? We were incredibly lucky that we were in the right place at the right time twice and heard and felt a glacier move. Awesome!