Guest post by Agness and Cez of eTramping
The world’s three poles: North, south and somewhere in between
The Arctic, the Antarctic, and Tibet. The three areas of the world with the most frozen water in the form of glaciers. Whilst Glaciers are incredibly important to the world’s eco system, reports in recent years have shown that they are slowly starting to disappear. So, now is a better time than any to take a trip to one of these three locations and check them out.
Of course, heading to the Arctic, Antarctic, or even Tibet, is not the easiest of tasks. The areas are fairly remote and hard to access. On top of that, finding the right places to see these incredible ice sheets can be complicated, and where to stay, baffling.
Well, Agness and Cez have gotten together to create a short guide to the best Glaciers to catch in these three great locations, and how to get there. Keep reading to find out more about these unbelievable and vital sources of water.
Head to the world’s most northern parts and you’ll find yourself in the Arctic. Here is a land of polar bears, ice sheets, and a few occasional outposts. This is an area where nature has unequaled power to control the environment. Whilst some people do live on its fringes, heading into the barrens of the north is truly an expedition unlike any other. Unique, unforgettable, and filled with a whole lot of ice.
The Arctic ice sheet itself lies on top of a land mass, so viewing truly impressive arctic glaciers means heading just a little bit south and into Greenland (or rather around it).
Greenland ice sheet
The Greenland ice sheet can be visited pretty easily by heading on a Greenland Expedition or cruise. It’s almost 2,400 kilometres long, which means you’re probably only going to see a part of it, unless you’re really invested in seeing the whole thing. It’s easily accessed by heading to Greenland through the Kangerlussuaq Airport and then heading out on either a ship or all-terrain vehicles.
Did you know that 99% of the world’s fresh water is located in glaciers? If the glaciers located in the Antarctic and Greenland were to melt, sea levels across the world would rise by 70 meters. The importance of Antarctica’s ice sheets cannot be underestimated, which is why they’re a brilliant place to continue your look at the world’s glaciers. Moreover, the Antarctic is packed with penguin watching opportunities, and the chance the see a huge host of other wildlife you won’t find anywhere else.
The Antarctic Ice sheet itself covers about 98% of the continent, and is the single largest piece of ice on the planet. In the east of Antarctica, the ice sheet rests on top of land, but in the west, it can go down to 2,500 meters below sea level.
West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Heading to western Antarctica offers a view of some of the most incredible ice sheets and natural glaciers. The sheet itself has recently felt some damage from environmental problems, but it’s still there and it looks as magnificent as ever. Despite summer temperatures being as high as 40 degrees in this part of the world, the ice cap remains.
Getting here is most easily done by ship. Jumping on an Antarctic cruise is probably your best bet, although you can also hire a yacht to take you down here if you have enough money (this is more easily done if you’re heading to the Arctic though). Most Journeys take place by travelling through the Argentinian straights, which are rough and can be a little hard for those who suffer from motion sickness.
Most ships will make a short stop at Palmer station and travel through other places in Antarctica. This offers some good viewing opportunities of both the local wildlife and some other glacier locations.
Tibet is a once in a lifetime travel destination. On average, it is the highest land (autonomous area) on the planet, and is home to a huge amount of mystery and incredible views. Head to this destination only if you want to see the best which nature has to offer; mountains, lakes, rivers, prairies, and – most importantly – glaciers.
Known as one of the most beautiful Glaciers in China, this Tibetan natural wonder lies 6800 meters above sea level. It is the product of two ice waterfalls coming together around a lush, green forested area. The view from its base is fantastic, with the standard Tibetan backdrop of rolling mountains and blue sky.
Heading to this glacier is easily done as it’s located next to the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. This makes transport incredibly easy, despite the height and the (average) temperature. Many different population centres are located nearby. Head to the nearby Midui village, located between the Ranwu Town and Bomi County. Nearby Yupu town also offers a great place to stay the night at some of its youth hostels.
Remember, just like any expedition which will take you this high, don’t fall prey to altitude sickness. You’ll need to make sure you take the right medication before you travel this high. Try to adjust altitude slowly, working your way through Tibet on your way up. This also gives you a great opportunity to see some other interesting things in Tibet; like these monks.
Located in the Chamdo prefecture, the Lhegu Glacier isn’t as easily accessed at the Midui Glacier, it’s worth the extra effort though. In Tibetan, Lhegu means “a hidden village of idyllic beauty”, and right next to this awesome glacier, you’ll find Lhegu’s village.
Nearby, you’ll also find Rawok Lake, one of the area’s most beautiful lakes. A pristine body of water surrounded by ice capped mountains. It’s the type of place whose picture will stun many of your friends back home.