Sunday, April 24, 2011

sunday scans: Glacier


In the summer of year 2000, we went to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Fox was a bigger glacier, but nearer to the road. Everyone went but as Sam was three, I didn't go too near to the terminus.

The next morning, D and Sam decided to stay in the car while we went to Franz Josef Glacier. It seemed like walking miles and miles in the rain and narrow rocky path. We saw tiny icebergs flowing down the stream. We saw waterfalls. We got very wet.

When we reached the terminus, I was all geared up and I became a dare devil. Both Gand I went to have a photo shoot of touching the glacier. Later I told this to my girl friends and my Australia friend told me off. This, she said could be the very time when the ice breaks.

I was very lucky I was saved by the skin of my teeth. So I have deleted the photo. Here are some taken at Fox and Franz Josef. Yesterdays news gave me a close warning. It could have been me and the heading, "Mum and teen aged daughter......"

Brothers crushed by ice named, glacier search postponed
Updated 9:40AM Friday Jan 09, 2009

He said people visiting areas like the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers needed to respect safety barriers and notices.

Both the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers were advancing and had vertical, or in places overhanging, terminal faces.

These were extremely dangerous places to be and were continually subjected to unpredictable rock and ice falls, he said.

Mr Jewell said the glacier's face was an unstable and unsafe place to be at the best of times.

It had frequent collapses which sent large blocks of ice flowing downstream.

Recent warm weather had made the glacier even more unstable.

"The present condition of the terminal face is quite steep," he said.

"We have got warm temperatures ... and obviously we have got frequent ice collapses, but we have had a good sized one [yesterday]."

His company was operating guided tours on the ice throughout yesterday, but none near the glacier face when the accident occurred.

DoC procedures

DoC area manager Jo Macpherson said a lot of people were in the valley yesterday, and it was a member of the public who raised the alarm about the ice collapse.

Conservation Minister Tim Groser said it was a "tragedy of almost unimaginable proportions (for the parents) to lose both sons in one tragedy".

Mr Groser was at Fox Glacier but was staying out of the way of the operational staff conducting the search.

"There are extensive safety procedures in place, these are reviewed annually, there's also been independent assessment of these procedures.

"We're dealing with a situation that is a highly dangerous and dynamic natural environment involving rock, ice and rivers."

The procedures were last reviewed in August last year.

He said the facts of the latest incident would be reviewed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), police and probably the coroner.

There will always be risk, but also "some responsibility on the part of these individuals who go into these areas".

Tourist injured in 2007

The last glacier incident involving injury to a tourist occurred in February 2007, when a man standing beside an ice cave at the face of the Franz Josef Glacier, also on the West Coast, was struck by falling debris when the roof collapsed.

DoC said that year that almost one third of the 600,000 visitors to the West Coast glaciers ignored warning signs and entered danger zones.

In October 2000, a 30-year-old Thai tourist was severely injured when she crossed a safety barrier and was crushed by an icefall.

Asked yesterday if people were continuing to flout the rules, Mr Jewell said: "Unfortunately, yes.

"People don't seem to realise the risk they are putting themselves in.

"They are inexperienced people and they are on holiday and maybe their guard is down. They just don't understand the potential for something to happen. A lot of people just like to touch the ice, which is a pretty crazy thing to do."


Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh, I don't think people should be allowed anywhere near this!!! Don't go back!

Al said...

That is amazing - I'd love to see a real glacier like that. I'd really want to go up to the face, but the warnings are pretty serious and I think I'd heed them.

The verification word on this comment seems remarkably appropriate - "bloging"!

The JR said...

neat place

my hubby would say, NO we can't take the rocks home

Beth Niquette said...

Oh, my word! That first photo is amazing. Your story is wonderful.

I'm so glad to see you here on Sunday Scans! Hope to see you back.

Clytie said...

Wow, what an amazing story - and wonderful pictures. You are so lucky to have escaped injury!

I found your post through "Sunday Scans" - isn't it fun going through old photos and revisiting wonderful memories? :=}