La Plume Noire Photography

Athabasca Glacier: Journey to the Top

Far up in the mountains,
is this land of rock and snow.
A land where dreams are made of,
a place where legends grow.
Bernard Howe 

Canada itself is famous for the Rockies. There’s no doubt about it, you will visit at least one mountain, and see a dozen more whilst you’re out there. My next adventure takes us up high on the Athabasca Glacier. I can now check this off my bucket list. Indeed, I have walked on moving ice that was formed more than 400 years ago.

There are up to eight major glaciers in the Canadian Rockies. These eight glaciers make up the Columbia Icefields, which feeds into three different oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Ocean. Chris Yorath once stated that “a mountaineer can pollute all three oceans with a single act.” The Athabasca Glacier is without a doubt a popular attraction, measuring approximately 3.75 miles long and between 90 to 300 metres thick.

At this point, you’ll be asking yourself, how did I get all the way up there? Simple! I rode on these enormous, beastly trucks. Given name: The Ice Explorer. Imagine looking at a child’s facial expression when he or she encounters one of these trucks. Likewise, I was going through the exact same situation. I was in total awe! Even the tyres were bigger than me. Imagine owning one of these in your backyard. I don’t even want to know the price of one.

The journey to the top was bumpy, fun and interesting. You could truly see the vast size of the glacier. It was massive! In fact I spotted five miniature beings in the far distance, hiking across the glacier. If I come back, I will definitely try walking all the way down.

Near the top of the glacier, we had the chance to step off the truck and explore on foot on the actual glacier. It was a beautiful sunny day and the air was crisp and pure. I was literally walking on thick, hard ice. It was incredible to feel how hard the ice really was. You could also see a flow of crystal blue water running across the edge. I can confirm to you now, that the water is definitely cold.

If you ever have the chance to drive through Banff to Jasper, I would definitely recommend you stop for a visit to the Columbia Icefields. You will never know how much longer the glacier will last for.



  1. So beautiful! For our 10th wedding anniversary in a couple years, my husband and I are planning on going to Banff. It is my dream to vacation in a place like that, and your pictures cemented it for me.

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