© Ron Niebrugge—www.wildnatureimages.com
Falling ice from glaciers can kill! Stay away from steep walls of ice, overhangs, or areas with visible cracks and or pieces of broken ice lying on the ground. Never enter an ice cave!
By definition, a glacier is ‘ice on the move.’ Forward momentum causes ice to crack and rock-hard chunks ranging from softball to Volkswagen size break off without warning. Seeing an active glacier up close is an unforgettable experience, but it is extremely dangerous to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you must approach the edge of a glacier, pick a place where the ice slopes gently to the ground. Obey all warning signs, but also keep an eye out for dangers that may not be signed. Since the glacier’s movement can cause rapid changes, rangers may not have had a chance to post new warning signs. Do not attempt to climb on the ice unless you have technical climbing skills and proper equipment. It is more dangerous than it looks!
Avoid landing on beaches within two miles of a tidewater glacier. Sudden waves from calving ice can slam the shore with surprising power, sweeping away kayaks and gear stored well above the apparent high tide line.
When choosing a landing/camping site, use clues such as driftwood accumulation, beach steepness and cobble size to judge what the wave action is likely to be in storm conditions. Make sure you will be able to launch from the beach in the morning if the wind or weather changes overnight.
Did You Know?
With 570,374 square miles, Alaska is twice the size of Texas and 1/5 the size of the rest of the United States. It stretches 2,400 miles east-to-west and 1,420 miles north-to-south. Its 6,640-mile coastline is 50 percent longer than the combined east and west coasts of the United States.