Peering into a New Zealand glacier

Glacier Hiking

Hiking on a glacier is not an activity that typically appears on "adventure travel" lists. A full week on a glacier would be too much for most of us. But a glacier hike offers an exhilarating glimpse into a surreal world. We feel it's a sufficiently unusual experience to merit a page of its own.

Glaciers are commonly defined as "rivers of ice." They form along the sides of mountains, or in mountain valleys. Snow accumulates at the top, and gradually compresses into ice. The increasing weight at the top of the glacier pushes the entire thing downward. Eventually, the ice reaches a low enough elevation to melt.

As it shifts, this enormous mass of ice cracks, opening deep crevasses. Sun-warmed water accumulates on the surface and at the bottom of crevasses, then burrows tunnels, caves, and even lakes, both on the surface, and in the interior.

A day on a glacier offers a fascinating glimpse into this ever-changing world. Some glaciers can be safely explored by a good hiker with no special skills. The majority, particularly glaciers with a snow cover that could hide a crevasse, should only be hiked with an experienced glacier guide.

Alyson Adventures, sponsor of this site, offers trips around the globe, several of which include an opportunity for glacier hikes. Please see below for details.


More on this site:

On related sites:

  • Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers (shown above, left), where we stop on our New Zealand trip, offer some of the best routes accessible to hikers without previous ice experience.
  • Our hiking site tells more about glaciers and glacier formation.

Back to gay adventure travel home page

Request our full gay adventure travel catalog