Trekking the Athabasca Glacier on our Rocky Mountain Adventure Drive

It was sad to see our Chevy Equinox Rocky Mountain Adventure end.  We really enjoyed ourselves with the gang from General Motors and the other bloggers and writers in the group.

But it was our last day driving the Chevy Equinox in Alberta and it was time to head out for our final adventure.  We were going to walk on the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Ice Fields.

Deb and our 2010 Chevy Equinox

Deb and our 2010 Chevy Equinox

Trekking the Athabasca Glacier on Our Rocky Mountain Adventure Drive

The day started early at Num Ti Jah Lodge. we heard footseps from above at 4:00 am. It was abandoned in the upper levels so we joked that it was the ghost of founder Jimmy Simpson wandering the halls.  Or even worse, the ghosts of the trophy's hanging on the walls of the dining room and lounge.

Dave was up at the crack of dawn to capture the beautiful sunrise over Bow Lake.  It was stunning and we were the only people outside walking along the path on the lake.

Sunrise at Bow Lake, Alberta Canada

Sunrise at Bow Lake

If you are going to Banff or Lake Louise, I highly reccommend staying at this lodge. It is far away from the touristy town of Lake Louise and you feel like you have your own little paradise all to yourself.

Starting the Trek

It was a cold morning in Alberta. -2 Celcius according to our thermastat in the truck and it was going to get colder as we climbed into the mountains towards Jasper National Park.

Couple at Columbia Ice Fields Alberta, Canada

About to Climb the Athatbasca Glacier

Today we were all taking part in the same adventure so we left in a convoy on yet another beautiful scenic drive.  We listened to our satellite radio and couldn't understand why people actually pay for this.

Commercial free was nice, but it is not like their playlists were perfect and some stations were just down right cheesy.

I drove this day and just had to take advantage of the camera in the rearview mirror that I used for backing up.  All of these gadgets take a little getting used to, but like everything once you let go of the past it is easy to embrace the future.

Ok, time for our glacier adventure.

Climbing to the Athabasca Glacier

Climbing to the Glacier

Glacier Adventure

We met our guide Rebecca from New Zealand. Yes contrary to popular belief, New Zealand is filled with glaciers.

Guide standing on Columbia Ice Field, Canada

Rebecca our Kiwi Guide

We all got our crampons and had a quick lesson on how to put them on and then we were off.  Man, I am out of shape.  Sitting around and blogging for months on end can take its toll on the old cardiovascular system. 

When I asked her what elevation we were at, she replied that it was just under 2000 meters.  Damn, not high enough to blame the altitude!

Black and white photo of Athabasca Glacier

The Mighty Athabasca Glacier

But we kept an easy pace and after a few photo stops we arrived at the glacier.

Staying Safe on Glaciers

Glaciers are very dangerous and not to be traveled on without a guide. One false move and you are falling into a crevass, tumbling hundreds of feet into oblivion only to land in a river and be swept under the ice.  Stupidly, many people go off of the public path each year to walk on the ice by themselves. Not a smart move.

checking ice of athabasca glacier

Rebecca Checking the Ice

We were instructed to walk in single file.  Rebecca said that she wouldn't be walking into any big hole, so just follow along and we would be safe too.

It was pretty easy walking. The Athabasca Glacier is not steep and the spikes helped grip the ice.  We even felt pretty warm as the sun was shining bright.

The highlight of the walk was being able to look into an icy blue hole. We took turns as Rebecca held our arms and coats to look over into the aquamarine spiral downwards. 

It was a little scary to think that one false move and we would be swept to our death.  But Rebecca didn't take any precautions and made sure that our foot was planted far enough back giving us just enough room to peak over the edge.

Cave in Athabasca Glacier

Carefully Peering into the Abyss of Athabasca Glacier

We took some group photos, but we could only use one camera. Leslie if you read this we are looking forward to seeing how it turned out!

History of the Glacier

One of the most fascinating things to see at the glacier is how much it has receded over the years.  Since the 1850's it has lost half of its volume and retreated 1500 metres. 

There are signs posted as you go and the most disturbing was how much it had retreated since 1992.  It looks like most of the damage has been done in the past 20 years!

Athabasca Glacier Retreat since 1992

Glacier Retreat since 1992

It was really an amazing thing to experience the Athabasca Glacier.  It is the most visited glacier in North America and I can see why. It is impressive.  Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Adventure, we were able to check off a very big item on the life list.


Up Close and Personal with the Glacier

We had a very rushed drive back to the airport to make our flights.  We were 4 hours away from Calgary and we flew at 4:00.  Luckily we all made it in time and our excellent Rocky Mountain Adventure had come to a quick end. 

We were all in such a hurry that there was little time for good-byes. But hopefully it will only be until we meet again, because this was such an inspiring and fun group of people to travel with.

woman at Athabasca Glacier of Jasper National Park

One of Many Photo Opportunities

Everyone lives such exciting adventurous lives and everyone enjoyed having a good time around the dinner table in the evening.

Thanks again to Jennifer Wright for getting in touch with us to come out and join The Chevy Equinox Rocky Mountain Adventure. General Motors is definitely on the cutting edge embracing new markets and harnessing the power of social media and internet marketing.  We loved seeing a young face at GM that knows what the next generation is looking for in a company.

The Chevy Equinox in Action driving in Banff Alberta

The Chevy Equinox in Action

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