Falling Ice

glacier ice can be dangerous

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!

Ice on the Move

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. Do not attempt to climb on the ice unless you have technical climbing skills and proper equipment. It is more dangerous than it looks!

The Dangers of Tidewater Glaciers

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.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

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