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This winter the township of Franz Josef transformed into a winter wonderland when snowfall blanketed everything in a layer of white. Franz Josef Township sits at 200 metres above sea level and is only about 10 kilometres from the coast. So, a dumping of snow like this is not a common occurrence and most locals say it’s been about eight years since they’ve seen snowfall like this.
Travel five kilometres down the road and you will reach the viewing point for the Franz Josef Glacier. Cast your eye 11 kilometres up the steep trunk of the glacier and you will see the neve of Franz Josef Glacier capturing all that glorious snowfall. Feeding it full of the cold white stuff, which many years later, will make its way down the glacial channel as hard compacted, blue glacial ice.
A heavy snowfall like this means its time for the guides at Franz Josef Glacier Guides to check on survival equipment planted on the glacier. The company’s safety procedures ensure they always have survival equipment on the glacier, should an emergency situation occur.
Following the snowfall, the guiding team got up on the glacier to access parts of the glacier that aren’t part of normal guiding operations to check on the gear and to check out the effect the snowfall has had on the glacier. A photographer accompanied the team and has brought back incredible images of the hidden secrets of the glacier.
A glacier is an ever-changing beast and these images capture a moment in time for the Franz Josef Glacier. High up on the glacier, the team trek ogives, the ice waves that occur below ice falls, one per year and represent the different flow rates of the glacier.
Further down the glacier, exploring an ice cave beneath the glacier, the Franz Josef guides witness the stunning colours and formations of a cave that in a short period of time may be gone - as the glacier makes its unstoppable journey down the side of the mountain.
Have a look through these beautiful images of Franz Josef Glacier – after the snow.