Burden of hope

Ice, extending behind us as far as we could see, crunched under our crampon laden feet. It had been a long day — 12 km across the glacier – but now the edge was in sight, and just beyond that a boat bobbed in the ocean awaiting our return.

We stripped the crampons off, stowed our ice axes and walked across the dirty glacial edge to the pier, then down to the boat. The wind picked up on the water but we couldn’t tear our eyes from the massive 20m cliff of ice to head belowdecks.

Our guide had disappeared, leaving us to meditate the sight, but soon reappeared bearing a small tray with glasses. Handing one to each of us, he explained: “Argentine Whiskey, the best in the world. That ice – it is 300 years old and taken from the center of the glacer we just crossed.”

As we sipped, Stefanie’s eyes met mine with the same thought: it couldn’t get better than this. The next two weeks would prove us wrong.

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