Location: Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Address: Columbia Icefields Discovery Centre, Icefields Parkway
Date: June 2005
The Columbia Icefield was once part of a giant sheet of ice that helped form the Rocky Mountains. The icefield still covers hundreds of square kilometres today. One of its toes is the Athabasca Glacier. This glacier can reach depths of up to 1000 feet. We visited the Athabasca Glacier when we were in Alberta back in 2005.
To travel out onto the glacier we went in an Ice Explorer. These are large all-terrain, giant wheeled vehicles. The wheels are taller than some people.
There was an old snowmobile that looked more like a tank. This would have been the Ice Explorer used many years ago.
First our Ice Explorer crept down a steep incline and then we travelled along a road that had been worn into the glacial ice.
Then we parked right on top of the glacier. Now we could enjoy more of the mountain view around us. Despite being June, there was a cold crispness to the air.
We stepped down onto the ice between the mountains and did some exploring of our own.
We looked up at some of the mountain peaks.. These very mountains were formed by long gone glacial ice much like what we were currently standing on.
We went higher up and could see the glacier continue on beyond the mountain. The Athabasca Glacier is just one small part of the Columbia Icefield that extends beyond that point.
The glacier can be a dangerous place. Blue pylons warned us not to venture out into unsafe territory.
Each year the Athabasca Glacier is slowly receeding. This marker in the photo above shows roughly where the glacial ice would have reached back at the end of the 1960s. Today the ice has receeded even further. The ice water that melts out of the glacier could be snow that fell almost 150 years ago. The glacier gave us a glimpse of what this part of Canada looked like tens of thousands of years ago. We enjoyed our walk on the ice and we also cannot stop admiring the mountains that it left behind.
Map of Our World
Colombia Icefield Discovery Centre
Post # 219