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Friday, 03 February 2012

Crevasses and Ice Caves, Franz Josef Glacier Hike - Page 2

Written by Abigail Latham
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 “Come on, you can get through there....... you’re as skinny as!”  Iain shouted, using the New Zealand slang.
 I edged my way further into the tunnel. Then breathed in and slowly, inch by inch, squeezed myself through the narrow gap. My rucksack scrapped against the wall, my bum bag was flattened against my stomach. At lunch time I found that my banana was squashed all over my camera.
As we traversed the ice, Iain told us a Maori legend about the glacier. “The Maori name for the glacier is Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere” he said, enthusiastically waving his arms in the air.
 “It means the tears of Hinehukatere. Hinehukatere was a local girl who loved to climb in the mountains.  One day she persuaded her lover Wawe to climb with her. However, Wawe wasn’t a very experienced climber.”
He paused for effect.
“Wawe happily accompanied her, until an avalanche dramatically swept him from the peaks to his death! Hinehukatere was so broken-hearted that she sat on the mountain top and cried for days. Her tears flowed down the mountain side and froze to form the glacier.”
Iain swung his pick axe, in an arc above his head and expertly cut steps into the ice. Having ascended the icy steps, we had to shuffle down a wall of ice. By taking tiny baby steps and hanging onto the knotted rope which dandled from the ice face, I was able to make it to the bottom in one piece. We were then faced with another challenge- an ice tunnel. It was Just over a meter long; but was barely wide enough to lie down in. A rope was passed through the tunnel, and one at a time we inched our bodies into the dark hole below.  I clutched the rope, regretting wearing fingerless mittens; the ends of my fingers had started to go blue with cold. Steadily Iain yanked at the rope. I began to slide, claustrophobically, the ice above just inches from my nose. As I slid, my jacket rose up at the back, exposing my skin to the freezing ice. I held my breath, my hands began to get rope burn; after what seemed like ages I was pulled free. Everyone cheered as I whizzed down the slope laughing.

(c)Abigail Latham
(Page 2 of 2)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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