Athabasca Glacier

Participants: Sarah, McLean, Patrick Latter
Time: 2 hours
Weather: -15.0 °C 

Directions

From Lake Louise, take the Icefields Parkway 1 hour north, to the Athabasca Glacier.

Gear

  • Snowshoes
  • Food
  • Water
  • Warm ski jacket
  • Warm fleece
  • Warm socks (or 2 layers of socks)
  • Toque
  • Thermal underwear
  • Snow-pants or gaiters
  • Gloves

Story

The Athabasca Glacier is one of the six principal ‘toes’ of the Columbia Icefields. It is currently receding at a rate of roughly 2-3 meters per year. In the last 125 years it has receded more than 1.5km and has lost over half of its volume. Due to hidden crevasses it is extremely unsafe to venture past the leading edge without the proper equipment/training.

There are some fantastic views of glaciers along the Icefields Parkway.

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Not far from the car, there was some VERY large ravens that were hoping for some food from us.

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After a short 1.5km of snowshoeing, we had reached the face of the glacier.

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The surface was surprisingly smooth, almost glass like.

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By | 2017-06-07T12:57:27+00:00 January 16th, 2013|Day Hikes|0 Comments

No Comments

  1. Pierre Cenerelli January 16, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Not only for the birds?.

  2. beautifulcourageousyou January 16, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Stunning – thank youx

  3. Shackled and Crowned January 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Incredible!

  4. Manda Luisa January 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    gorgeous!

  5. mistymidnite January 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Oh your work is so amazing and beautiful. I hold my breath everytime I see your places and photo’s.

  6. Jeff | Planet Bell January 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    I love the picture of Sarah looking up at the Glacier. That is such an impossible shade of blue. It almost makes me want to be somewhere cold. Almost.

  7. John January 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    I love glaciers, these are beautiful. The colors and abstract designs they create – beautiful. Great photos again!

  8. lylekrahn January 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    That is an amazing place and you made it look even better. I especially link the tint of the ice.

  9. mamacormier January 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    Very Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  10. cythereandreams January 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Amazing. Love the one of Sarah looking up at the glacier.

  11. Leisa January 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    Stunning…such beautiful colours, intense! Love the Ravens!!!

  12. knittingwithheart January 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    Your lens makes winter look so pretty 🙂

  13. Athabasca Glacier « The Rag Tree January 16, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    […] Athabasca Glacier. […]

  14. daretoshineteo January 16, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful LIFE…and such a brilliant skill to capture the radiance in pictures…worth infinite words! 🙂

  15. Anyes - Far Away in the Sunshine January 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    Brrr…

  16. Ke Event Designs January 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    That is gorgeous!

  17. The Guat January 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    These are just amazing shots. Really great post….cold and smooth like glass 🙂

  18. proactiveoutside1 January 16, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photos. Absolutely incredible.

  19. ohhhoney January 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    these images are just breath-taking. It’s like I am there right now. 🙂 would love to visit this place sometime!

  20. angela January 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    beautiful.love to follow your adventures and hikes.. 🙂

  21. BubliBeauty January 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    Ah-mazinggggggg 🙂

  22. Kodiak My Little Grizzly January 16, 2013 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    These photos are so awesome!

  23. bulldogsturf January 17, 2013 at 12:02 am - Reply

    Wow this is something special… to be able to get to the leading edge and to take such magnificent photos… God you are lucky, do you realise that.?? Wonderful post that makes me really want to see it with my own eyes…. the last photo almost looks like the ice has a soapy bubble trapped within it…. marvelous share this absolutely marvelous….

  24. smell the flowers January 17, 2013 at 12:24 am - Reply

    This is amazing

  25. Phyllis January 17, 2013 at 12:24 am - Reply

    Awesome photos! My son, an amateur photographer, and I both love the pics of the ravens.

  26. chipomaps January 17, 2013 at 12:33 am - Reply

    I am from southern Africa and the closest I have been to such scenes is experiencing a few days of flurry snow during 2 years of study in the UK. Its always great to see such pictures. They remind me of how varied and awesome our world is.

  27. SummerSolsticeGirl January 17, 2013 at 12:34 am - Reply

    I live vicariously through your blog!

  28. evelyn January 17, 2013 at 1:20 am - Reply

    truly impressive!!

  29. sethsnap January 17, 2013 at 1:50 am - Reply

    Beautiful shots as usual.

  30. terrypetersen January 17, 2013 at 2:55 am - Reply

    I have been there. It is a beautiful place!

  31. vinterny January 17, 2013 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Breathtaking images as per usual! Been loving your updates and photographs since my first accidental visit to your blog while searching for pictures from Canada and I simply must ask you – ever thought of entering this: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/index.jsp ? You certainly live in the right environment and as stated previously your photograpic skills and eye for details are simply amazing.

  32. John Welch January 17, 2013 at 3:46 am - Reply

    I visited the Athabasca Glacier on a trip to Canada in the early ’90s, a wonderful experience even though it was summer. Do they still do those trips in 6-wheel drive vehicles out onto the glacier?

  33. holdtheanchoviesplease January 17, 2013 at 4:07 am - Reply

    Love reading these posts – the images are simply stunning – even with a little snow on the way to London I’ll never get to recreate these – beautiful.

  34. Sonu Duggal January 17, 2013 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Beautiful .

  35. wonkywizard January 17, 2013 at 4:40 am - Reply

    Enchangting Lake Louise. Have never seen a glacier at that height. Thanks for sharing.

  36. noblethemes January 17, 2013 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Stunning … and beautiful, as always!

  37. Laurie Buchwald January 17, 2013 at 5:27 am - Reply

    Can a bird have a facial expression? ‘Cause that second one sure makes it seem so!! 🙂

  38. Jontacular January 17, 2013 at 6:12 am - Reply

    Beautiful. Glacier ice is properly awe-inspiring, there’s such a mysterious depth to it.

  39. Rory January 17, 2013 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Beautiful

  40. beckyfields January 17, 2013 at 6:36 am - Reply

    Your photos consistently amaze me. LOVE the ravens. And, how is that glacier so stunningly blue? Mmmm! glorious

  41. MrsBoardwell January 17, 2013 at 6:44 am - Reply

    wowzers! -15C???!!! We’re in North Wales (UK) with a forecast of -5C and 15cm snow for tomorrow. Sounds ridiculous compared to yours ^_^ cool shots!

  42. Rotten Ray January 17, 2013 at 6:48 am - Reply

    We visited this a few summer’s back – an amazing place. I can’t imagine it in the winter. Probably, fantastic.

  43. Mae Clair January 17, 2013 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Absolutely stunning. Your camera brings everything to such vivid life and clarity. I could feel the cold, and appreciate the beauty!

  44. Ray January 17, 2013 at 6:53 am - Reply

    Very beautiful and awe inspiring. I LOVE the blue against the snow with the contrast of the trees. Love that Raven too- all that black over white. Thanks for posting!

  45. Grandma Nancy January 17, 2013 at 6:55 am - Reply

    You make the snow and cold look beautiful to this lover of summer…..I love your work and always look forward to your posts.

  46. this is lemonade January 17, 2013 at 7:04 am - Reply

    Ahhhh blue ice… And the snow is pristine! Gorgeous! We have frost today, thankfully no snow. Snow here quickly turns to slush, I’ve much rather enjoy your photos – I’m shivering enough, I think I’ve earned it 😛 Thanks as always for sharing the awesomeness 🙂

  47. sophiebowns January 17, 2013 at 7:23 am - Reply

    http://sophiebowns.wordpress.com/

    It makes me feel rather chilly by just looking at your pictures! They looks so beautiful though !

  48. prettyeasylife January 17, 2013 at 7:23 am - Reply

    so Canadian and so pretty, thanks for sharing!

  49. DJ Stone Crazy January 17, 2013 at 7:37 am - Reply

    I always enjoy your work.

  50. Sean J January 17, 2013 at 7:39 am - Reply

    That last image is one of the coolest (no pun intended) I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing!

  51. aaremo January 17, 2013 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Stunning, I just look snow/icy/mountain pics.

  52. Ruth Rainwater January 17, 2013 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Those glaciers are beautiful – but not quite enough to make me want to go there. Too cold! 🙂

  53. fatimasaysell January 17, 2013 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Beautiful pictures. I love the raven and the glacier.

  54. nailart19 January 17, 2013 at 8:07 am - Reply

    It’s so amazing *.*

  55. susielindau January 17, 2013 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Amazing block of ice, but what is really amazing is your shots of the crow. I can never get them to still long enough to snap a picture! 🙂

  56. Heather January 17, 2013 at 8:27 am - Reply

    the glacier photos are absolutely stunning…I’m not a fan of the cold/winter, even though I live in Ontario, but I would suffer to see this in person!

  57. Anita C. Miller January 17, 2013 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Was here maybe 10-15 years ago… I had forgotten the color blue that you so expertly photographed. Thanks!

  58. Carlene January 17, 2013 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Wow, it’s gorgeous! We were just on a glacier in New Zealand. They’re pretty amazing up close! Thanks for sharing.

  59. ideflex January 17, 2013 at 9:31 am - Reply

    This is why I love Canada – ice, snow, blue skies, larger than life vistas and a superb Raven shot!

  60. The Wyatt Family January 17, 2013 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Truly amazing!

  61. colormusing January 17, 2013 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Gorgeous! P.S. Brrrr!

  62. Ashley Christine January 17, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Breathtaking!

  63. kelihasablog January 17, 2013 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Stunning photos! Love the Ravens as well… You guys are amazing! 😀

  64. Hari Qhuang January 17, 2013 at 11:41 am - Reply

    The raven looked straight into the camera! Fierce! 😀

  65. photographyartplus January 17, 2013 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Spectacular pictures! woow! So beutiful! 🙂

  66. The Kaleidoscope January 17, 2013 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Patrick, how did you manage to photograph the bird? You once took a photo of a deer which I found absolutely astonishing. Do you use a special lens? The problem with animals is they run away very fast when they recognize a human wants to photograph them.

    Your photos are so incredibly beautiful… .

  67. vintagique January 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    THAT BLUE ICE IS SOOO GORGEOUS! AND LOVE THE RAVEN LOOKING AT YOU, TOO CUTE!

  68. David January 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Amazing, amazing shots.

  69. AYearOfTravel January 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    The blue colour of the glacier is unreal!

  70. naomimgruer January 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Love these photos! Did you hear about the WWII plane that was just discovered encased in a glacier off the coast of Greenland?

  71. jamesroom964x January 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    Wow great shots man. The raven close-ups are a little creepy, haha. The color in the glacier is great, I must say, there’s something very otherworldly about it that really captures my imagination.

  72. myinnermystic January 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    woah. that picture of the girl looking up at the wall of ice almost looks animated. the colors are so vivid and alive.

  73. jimmorrisondreamdiaries January 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    These photos are so life-like and the last one could inspire a song called ‘Blue Glass’ as it is soooo like glass as you say. People like me who have only been to few countries and have never seen this kind of snow or ice will be enlightened and educated in the wonders of our precious yet crazy world,.. Lovely! Blue Glass Mountains?

  74. flynthings January 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Beautiful!

  75. Cynthia Reavis January 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Breathtaking….and the blue is so “aqua marine blue”
    . Its lovely.

  76. Micah January 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Super! You’ve captured the raven’s character wonderfully.

  77. Vishvesh January 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Brilliant 🙂

  78. bighair63 January 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Love the raven pics!

  79. Lesley January 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Okay, the glacier is amazing – truly – but I am now in LOVE with that raven. I have never seen one up close and am in awe of how beautiful they are. Amazing shots…as always! You lead an amazing journey here.

  80. greenmackenzie January 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    I especially love the slightly plump second crow 🙂 and the shot of Sarah looking up at the immense blue glacier face. I now want to go and visit 🙂

  81. mindinterrupted January 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    My favorite of your photos so far

  82. sapphospeaks January 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Breathtaking!

  83. sukiesoriginal January 18, 2013 at 2:37 am - Reply

    Beautiful- the ice is an amazing colour, It was 41C here yesterday, so thanks for the chill factor!

  84. streetpixels January 18, 2013 at 3:02 am - Reply

    Beautiful shots 🙂 But to be honest I like the raven’s portrait even more than the wonderful glacier shots 🙂

  85. Dr James Stratford January 18, 2013 at 3:56 am - Reply

    so many great photos on this and your other posts, the gig, lights in the snow etc.. Fantastic stuff. Very inspiring.

  86. elizabeththomasphotographyofcapecod January 18, 2013 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Excellent photos! Love the second crow shot!

  87. brookehsmith January 18, 2013 at 8:06 am - Reply

    stunning photos – love the ravens.

  88. nakaphotography January 18, 2013 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Brilliant!

  89. hopesquires January 18, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

    These photos are especially lovely. Thank you for capturing this glacier before it shrinks even more.

  90. paperstew January 18, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Nice! It’s been about 30 years since I visited the Athabasca glacier. It looks much better during winter than summer! Love the ravens.

  91. FarAwayPeachGarden January 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Beautiful!

  92. marymtf January 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    What an amazing life you must lead, Patrick.

  93. Sid Dunnebacke January 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    That raven is magnificent, Patrick. Did he get what he wanted? 🙂

  94. Earl the Pearl January 19, 2013 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Exciting work!

  95. laurenmarierobb January 19, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Hey there! I think your blog is pretty awesome, so I’ve nominated you for The Versatile Blogger award. Check it out at: http://laurenmarierobb.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/the-versitile-blogger-award/

  96. Dejeunersurherbe January 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Dejeunersurherbe and commented:
    Landscape, Ice material

  97. DaydreamsinWonderland January 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Breathtaking! I am in love with that one of the little raven. 🙂

  98. littlenutthings January 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Stunning and breath taking, even in 2-D. Thank you so much for sharing, it’s likely I’ll never see this in person.

  99. Author Charmaine Gordon January 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    YIKES, Patrick. I’m scared just looking at the photos. So beautiful yet scary. Lovely, brave companion you have there and I’m not referring to the birds.

  100. crzydjm January 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Wow. I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said. Gorgeous pictures.

  101. mossstonelove January 21, 2013 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Amazing! Thanks to you I am seeing places I have never seen before (and maybe never will). Thank you!

  102. jdtphotography.co.uk January 21, 2013 at 3:19 am - Reply

    Stunning shots of what appears to be a really awesome place

  103. Kasper January 21, 2013 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Absolutely fabulous landscape and great photos! Made me miss Finland at this time of year, especially since I’ve been residing in England for a while now, and this country went totally crazy when they had about two centimeters of snow…. funny.

  104. Jim Brennan January 21, 2013 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Never a let down, fabulous photos

  105. sheokhanda January 21, 2013 at 10:47 am - Reply

    each and every pic is just stunning and amazing.

  106. chrisb-jwordsandimages January 21, 2013 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Lovely photos, and I like the raven.

  107. Scarlett Light January 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Beautiful! Adorable bird 😉

  108. Mary Strong-Spaid January 21, 2013 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Beautiful blue ice. Absolutely stunning photography!
    .

  109. briteideasstudio January 22, 2013 at 9:46 am - Reply

    i love the shots of the ravens in particular!

  110. eatpraybake January 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    incredible photos and journey!

  111. lexyleksono January 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Amazingly beautiful pictures..!!

  112. nkimagecollection January 22, 2013 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just saw some of your pictures and they are simply gorgeous!!!!!

  113. Jane Risdon January 23, 2013 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Stunning photos and place and wonderful captions, thanks for sharing. Fab experience.

  114. desabrat January 23, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Breathtaking! Your blog has rendered me speechless!! Thanks for dropping by my blog!

  115. alicedy January 23, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Amazing!!

  116. Ruth January 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photos! Your blog makes me homesick.

  117. gregorypaquin January 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Wow! Great pictures! You can tell a great story with just images.

  118. stuaato January 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    I particularly like the last photo in this post. The blue and the bubbles and cracks are brilliant.

  119. shovonc January 24, 2013 at 1:26 am - Reply

    I live in Delhi. That’s like a different planet. Thanks for the trip.

  120. mflahertyphoto January 24, 2013 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Glassy glacier snout = rapidly ablating glacier. Nice shots Patrick.

  121. chillitastepot January 24, 2013 at 7:23 am - Reply

    OMG ! your pictures are just breathtaking ! Are you on Instagram ? I’d love to follow you!

  122. chillitastepot January 24, 2013 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on chillitastepot.

  123. chillitastepot January 24, 2013 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on chillitastepot.

  124. orisphoto January 24, 2013 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Love the colors of the ice! Deep blue! 🙂

  125. Uncle Bert January 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Breathaking photos. I love the ravens. Thank you for sharing them.

  126. stormyslayersharon January 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Absolutely Awesome!!! I love good photography and you rank at the top of my list!

  127. jourdorae January 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on jourdorae and commented:
    Okay, these photos blow me away! They get better as time goes on and there is never a dull moment when going through this blog! Go check it out and show some love.

  128. foodsnob86 January 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    These are so amazing! Makes me wish I was there in the quite. 🙂

  129. sojournwithstacey January 25, 2013 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Stunning! I had so much trouble capturing the beauty of the blues on a glacier when I was in Alaska!

  130. lincolnstoller January 25, 2013 at 10:47 am - Reply

    You liked my post at mindstrengthbalance so I had to pay you a visit. I was told I was the first person to climb this icefall up onto the Columbia Icefields. Or maybe it was one of the many other icefalls. We climbed from the valley on the north side onto the icefields by night. It was beautiful. There were two of us, Peter Metcalf and I, and we did it unroped so that we could move fast. That was long ago but it was a magical night I fondly remember. The ice climbing was great. It wasn’t a big deal at the time, it was just a better way out of the valley than hiking three more days to the north. _ lincoln

  131. Coco O January 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    That blue is a wow–especially the close-up so its crystaline structure is almost visible. The more pix of these receding glaciers the better, to make us pay attention to how fast they are disappearing.

  132. keagiles January 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Wow. The picture of Sarah (?) in front of the glacier is impressive. Nature is impressive.

  133. debcorreia January 25, 2013 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    There are no words….beautiful, breathtaking, amazing …. all seem to fall short. I cannot imagine what this was like in person. Nice!

  134. timothywpawiro January 26, 2013 at 10:32 am - Reply

    These pictures of mountain reminds me of Game of Thrones TV series haha!
    Great photos, Pat! 🙂

  135. Heartafire January 26, 2013 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    These photo’s blew me away…excellent and awesome!

  136. D. Raymond-Wryhte January 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    I especially like the colors and textures of the second photo from the top.

  137. autumnshire January 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Absolutely stunning…

  138. littledoglaughed January 31, 2013 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Stunning photos-the ice looks like huge pieces of crystal-and I love the ol’ fat bird. Wonderful work!
    Thank you too for visiting my blog-I really appreciate it-

  139. MyBlissPoint January 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on MyBlissPoint and commented:
    I live in Minnesota, so I spend a lot of time in wintery wonderland. If my winter wonderland looked like this I might not mind so much. Amazing photographs and a great blog to check out.

  140. organarchygear February 1, 2013 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Beautiful photography! It makes me want to get some good cold weather and go explore my own back yard…the Rocky Mountains!

    • organarchygear February 1, 2013 at 5:06 am - Reply

      Sorry…good cold weather “gear” was what I meant to say.

  141. elainedianetaylor~ February 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the follow. Your photographs are gorgeous! 🙂

  142. veer520 February 11, 2013 at 6:27 am - Reply

    Thanks for following my blog, i appreciate it. You have some interesting work here..,

  143. wugeekelly February 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Books and Aquariums and commented:
    I couldn’t resist putting this one on, even though my blog isn’t really about this kind of thing. I visited the Athabasca glaciers myself, and it was stunningly beautiful. The ice was a such a deep blue, and it was snowing lightly. Too bad that global warming is melting the ice caps and glaciers.

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