We took the travel agent's advice that the best way to see the Perito Moreno Glaciar was to hike it, and we were not disappointed.
One of the few glaciers in the world that is not receding, the Perito Moreno is 5km wide in places, and it's front wall is 70m high. Technically speaking that means it is chuffing massive. It is named after the explorer and environmental campaigner Francisco Pascasio Moreno, who is credited with discovering and naming much of Argentinian Patagonia and in the process helping Argentina settle territorial disputes with neighbouring Chile based on the geological history of the region.
On our visit we took a catamaran across to the South side of the glacier where you then hike 2km up the valley hugging the glacier's southern edge. The front wall of the is full of deep crevasses and is very unstable, so not even the pros attempt this area on foot (well that's what they told us for the benefit of our egos).
Once fitted with crampons and emergency harnesses we made the first tentative steps out onto the ice. The sunshine and low wind conditions meant the top layer of ice became soft and grippy so progress is fast. We got into a group with some great people which made it all the better. In that area of the glacier the ice moves at a variety of speeds and directions, all the time reacting to the bedrock below.
Like a river, the fastest flow is towards the centre where the channel is deepest and there is less friction (they drilled to 500m deep this year). The edges are shallower so you get a bit more action there. More volatility again where the different areas of the glacier meet, so never a dull moment.
The day that we visited, many crevasses had opened, but some had not cracked deep down and drained which is a sign of their relative youth and stability. The water in these unbroken crevasses had a bright azure colour due to light refracting or some such wizardry.
Basically, it was awesome and worth every penny, the highlight of the trip so far. The day was finished with scotch on glacier ice, a memorable day to say the least.