As the days got and closer, though, the weather forecast looked less than ideal; Heavy rain was projected for both days across much of Alaska. Many alternative hikes were considered, but the weather looked worse everywhere else across the state. We decided if we were going hiking in the rain, it may as well be on glaciers - so we loaded up the canoe and started the drive first thing the morning of the 7th. Sure enough, the rain came in early that morning, and only intensified as we drove toward the Worthington.
|Worthington Glacier from the road - taken later in the day when the weather calmed down enough to see the glacier|
|Lizzie considers the best option to access the glacier.|
|Waterfall over the broken bedrock, carved out by the glacier. Also shows just how steep the lower glacier is.|
|Looking up to the firn line and icefall of the upper glacier|
The glacier had other plans, though, and sent us back the way we came after we struggled to find a way through the broken crevasses in near-hypothermia-inducing weather. Before we turned back, the clouds lifted just high enough that we could see the flanks of surrounding peaks, nearly all of them containing glaciers that spilled down to join the Worthington. I desperately wanted to explore every channel and peak, but the ice caves of the Valdez Glacier were waiting. The upper Worthington would have to wait for another time. On the way down, we passed close to the edge of the ice, broken against the rock and full of cool features and waterfalls.
|A cold, wet Lizzie hiking down|
In the crevassed and broken ice, we also found an old cable. We later learned that there is a research station higher up on the glacier, likely the origin of such artifacts. The cable we found was partially melted out, nearly 200 feet worth of it, with each end still frozen into the ice for unknown lengths.
|Left: the cable disappears into the ice in the top left corner; Right: close up of said cable|
Further on down, we met up with the trail, and decided to walk around to the viewpoint. A fantastic display of a waterfall and river filled ice cave awaited us: a perfect photo op to end the day!
|Toe of the Worthington Glacier|
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Worthington Glacier Stats:
My First Time on the Glacier: 07 August 2016
Type: Valley Glacier
Location: Thompson Pass near Valdez, Alaska
Source: Chugach Mountains
Length: 3.8 mi (6.1 km)
Width: about 1 mi (1.6 km) near the top.
Flow: up to 30 m/yr (research from 1960's)
Access: Pangaea Guides offers tours, don't miss the view from the Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site in Thompson Pass