Byron Glacier Ice Caves, Alaska, USA by Craig Bill

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Being on a glacier is very tactile experience, even though you are completely wrapped, layered and zipped up with protective clothing. Just walking on the changing character of frozen water - from super dry powdery snow, then another step onto wavy slick ice and then onto mega-ton compressed blue ice blocks - the feel and sound is magnificent.

But ice environments such as glaciers can be very dangerous. After fighting a quick forming blizzard with all my gear, I scraped the snow pack off my body that formed during my hike into Byron Glacier in Alaska. Faintly, I was able to sight the edge of some ice caves though the windy snow. Not only was I of course delighted to explore the icy glacier underbelly for photography, but also to take refuge inside and away from the tormenting snowfall. And this should have been relatively easy, however, a meandering network of icy streams had to be traversed. These shallow waterways remained liquid only because of its constant motion - and crossing them was ominously discouraging as the snowstorm attacked.

By the time I reached the weather carved ice caves, I was exhausted, but its silent protective beauty was divine. Of course, I remained alert and attentive as these ice caves collapse without warning. And since Ice landscapes are not my usual or indigenous environment, I was relentlessly apprehensive.


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