Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier in US accessible by car. So we just got in one of these American "small" cars and went to explore!
Glacier step by step
Matanuska Glacier is around 2,5 hours by car from Anchorage where we live. We found a group of co-workers also desiring for adventure. And luckily (very luckily) one of them owns Hummer – a perfect car for more people and a glacier road!
Close to Armageddon
When we arrived in the very last possible parking place, it looked more like an after-battle place. The clouds were very low, the sky was grey and there was mud and rocks all around us.
Our way was marked by bright red cones. We were supposed to follow them for another half a mile. Slightly approaching the white mass but still lost in this inhospitable landscape.
During jumping over muddy puddles we met also one or two „beautiful“ view points…
Getting closer, getting colder
But when we actually reached the glacier, all these unpleasant thoughts about the world end were gone. This is it. Now we are standing on a glacier. On a real glacier. Ice and nothing else.
Very important things if you decide to walk on a glacier – CRAMPONS! If you are planning a trip to Matanuska Glacier, don’t underestimate the preparation. Especially if you want to get closer. We went in a group of five and just two of us rented the crampons. Other two people didn’t need them so much, they kept their distance and walked just around. However, one our friend decided to follow us in the middle, where was nothing but the ice, and she even climbed with us to one of those peaks. But the way back down? Impossible.
Ice is slippery, really
Apart from the fact that the ice really was slippery (suprisingly for someone) it started raining, which made it even worse. We were fine, crampons were long and sharp and it got deep into the ice with our every step and didn’t move. But she was wearing just casual city trainers. And those did move. And very fast. So we had to hold her hands and while we were walking down, she was sliding from one our shoe to another. Otherwise she wouldn’t stop.
But we all survived! We managed to keep going like this to the bottom of the glacier and there was the river around which the ice was little melted so she could walk by herself. It was a good lesson for her, we felt like heroes and…she owes us a bar of chocolate at least!