Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Columbia Icefield

Columbia Icefield 1

We took a day trip yesterday two hours north to the Columbia Icefield. It's a remarkable place. A huge shelf of ice set among mountain peaks feeds six large glaciers. The center is the world's only triple continental divide - the glacier runoff drains into the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans. One of them, the Athabasca Glacier, ends not too far from the highway, although it is receding at 3 to 6 meters a year.

You take a behemoth ice bus from near the bottom right up in the middle of the thing, where you can get out and walk around. Below, Mrs. C makes sure everyone know where she's been. 

Note the bottom photo. There are markers for the end of the ice in years past. I was using a telephoto and the edge of the ice is a lot farther away than it looks. This glacier system provides much of the water for western Canada. If it shrinks much more there will be trouble.                

Columbia Icefield 2

Columbia Icefield 3

Columbia Icefield 8

Columbia Icefield 5

Columbia Icefield 9

Columbia Icefield 7


Olivier said...

impressionnant comment le glacier a fondu depuis fait peur. superbes paysages said...

The receding glaciers are indeed a problem. We cannot measure global warming in Costa Rica by receding glaciers. But rare species of tropical plants, frogs and butterflies are found only at higher elevations

cieldequimper said...

Good to see there is still a bit of ice on earth. Are those tourist activities helping?

Birdman said...

Going, going gone???????

Wonderful photographs captured here, I bet.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

That last photo really shows the sad state of affairs we are in.

Ryley said...

How wonderful to see that you took a holiday in the neck of the woods I lived last before arriving in St. Louis. I've yet to live anywhere better.

90kmph (or less) is the customary speed limit in all of Canada's National Parks. Nature first!

Nathalie Beaumes said...

Your photos will soon be history and it's a chilling thought.

(pun was unintentional)

William Kendall said...

Beautiful shots, Bob. It takes me back, seeing those mountains and that glacier.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Would have been amazing standing there surrounded by ice, but this does seem to prove the global warming theory, I believe there are still a few people who think its a load of bunkum!

Stefan Jansson said...

Interesting place. The global warming will effect us all for a very long time.