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Photos of a Heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand

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Every adventure known to mankind can be experienced in New Zealand. This particular webpage focuses on a heli-hike to the Franz Josef Glacier. Like glaciers everywhere, this one has beautiful blue ice and deep crevasses. With crampons and ice pick in hand, the helicopter landed on the glacier and a half-dozen of us hopped out atop the stunning glacier, then carefully walked along the edge of some of those crevasses that show blue deep into the depths of darkness. Franz Josef Glacier is located on the west coast of the South Island.

Although the glacier once continued all the way to the sea, it now advances to a mere 300 meters above sea level near lush, green, rainforest. The glacier is currently advancing and has been since the mid-1980's. According to Wikipedia, the ice flow of the Franz Josef glacier is ten times greater than the average glacier. Several easy hikes lead to the base of the glacier, but approaching too closely is dangerous. People are not infrequently hurt by falling ice from its terminal face. Larger version of these photos of the Franz Josef Glacier can be viewed by using a mouse rollover, clicking an image, or using the Slideshow below.


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New Zealand Maori Art Scenery Tongariro Crossing

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photo from the air as we approached 



Franz Josef Glacier
Approaching the Glacier
This is the view of the glacier from air as we approached in a helicopter.

photo of the surface of Franz Josef



Glacier
Franz Josef by Air
This is the imposing surface of Franz Josef.

photo of the helicopter that dropped us 



onto the Franz Josef Glacier
Chopper Landing
It is absolutely thrilling to touch down on a glacier in a helicopter.

photo looking down into a crevasse
Looking Down Into a Crevasse
Looking down into a crevasse of a glacier, old blue ice disappears into the depth of darkness.

photo of a person next to a glacial crevasse
Near a Crevasse
Crampons and ice pick give confidence and stability as one edges along a deep crevasse.

photo of a crevasse on Franz Josef Glacier
Blue Ice of a Crevasse
This crevasse exposed clean, blue ice.

photo of me in a glacial ice cave
Me in Ice Cave
Ice caves come and go fairly rapidly with the constant but unending movement of the glacier. Experiencing this one was a treat.

photo of the helicopter leaving
Helicopter Takeoff
After dropping us off on the glacier for a few hours of exploration, the helicopter departs, leaving us on our own.

photo of a sign showing where the glacier 



extended to in the 1700's
Glacier Sign
It's seemingly impossible these days to discuss glaciers without mentioning how they've shrunk due to climate change. But is it from human activity or natural cycles or both?

walking along a crevasse
Approaching a Crevasse
The crevasses on Franz Josef Glacier are deep and blue.

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All photographs are the property of Robert Stephens and TheWorldinLight Photographic Gallery. Unauthorized reproduction or use is prohibited by US copyright law.
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