So, since I was talking about the glacier just outside the town of Fjærland in the last post, I thought the next natural thing on my list of Norwegian tourist attractions/places to visit, would be another glacier. (In case you haven’t read the other posts – I am in Norway on holidays and while I’m here I am posting about Norway. I’ll get back to Spain in not too long!)
There are two glacier arms that are easily reached as they end at just about 300 meters above sea level. One is the one at Fjærland and the other one is Nigardsbreen, another glacier arm of the big Jostedalsbreen, the biggest glacier on continental Europe. This glacier has about 50 arms here and there... It’s big you see, and to try to put it into perspective, Jostedalsbreen covers 487 square kilometers, it is 600 meters at the thickest and the total length is more than 60 km.
Nigardsbreen is considered one of the best places to go on guided glacier-walks as it’s so easy accessable. It's not like many other glaciers where you actually need to hike for hours to even reach it. In summer there are different tours arranged several times a day and you can choose between different difficulty and tour lengths. The guides show you how to use the equipment (included in the price) such as crampons and ice axes and the groups are maximum 16 persons per guide.
The glacier is maintained by the snowfall in the region, not the cold temperatures. I don’t remember exactly the number of years the guide told us, but I think the snowfall this year predicts how the glaciar will retract or move forward in 20 years time. That was a cool fact I wasn’t aware of.
The snow that does not melt in summer, slowly becomes compact shiny blue ice from increasing pressure and inner flow. That blue colour is one of the prettiest colours I have ever seen in nature! (And the black shadows you can see is not pollution but different forms of debris. If you want to read more about why most glaciers become grey/black, have a look at this article.
- During the 18th century Nigardsbreen expanded due to very cold weather and lots of snow
- Between 1700 and 1748, the glacier moved forward about 4 km and completely covered and crushed the Nigard Farm (thereby the name, Nigardsbreen= Nigard Glacier)
- In 1930 the glacier started retracting again
|The views over Jostedal Valley and Nigard Glacier Lake, seen from the glacier|
- A glacier is always moving
- It's dangerous walking on a glacier without a guide unless you are super familiar with glaciers, as there are always cracks and they can be quite deep. In other words, if you fall down one of those and are on your own, you pretty much finished your life.
- The cracks are normally not more than 50 meters deep (but I think 50 meters is plenty- imagine falling down one of them...)
- There are normally more cracks where the movement is bigger
- The most dangerous cracks are those hidden under recent snowfalls and thus are hard to see
- In summer, when the glacier melts, tunnels and little lakes can be created in the lower altitudes
To get to the glacier, you have to drive to the Glacer Visitor Centre, 11 km. south of Jostedalen. Then you get on a boat taking you across the lake of Nigardsbrevatnet (Nigard Glacier Lake) to access the glacier.
I went on the ”Blue Ice Trip” with 3 hours on the ice and a total duration of 4,5 hours.
Ever done a glacier walk?
|The Jostedal Valley seen from the bottom of the glacier. The water in the river and lake is from the glacier.|
I have also posted about
in case you are interested!