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Tony Nerds Out At The Perito Moreno Glacier

by Tony · 12 comments

Where in the world am I headed?

Would you let this guy into your country?

With no plan and no agenda, I often find myself surprised (sometimes painfully, but mainly pleasantly) at the places I am in.

And so it was with El Calafate, Argentina.

While in Torres del Paine (in Chile), backpackers would tell us of the beauty of Southern Argentina and that it was “not to be missed” since we had already made our way so far south.

Only needing a few words of encouragement to try anything once (somehow I survived college), I convinced Meg of El Calafate’s epicness and we were heading across the Chilean border.

So what is in El Calafate, Argentina you ask? You might regret asking me that…

El Calafate – The Perito Moreno Glacier


The Perito Merino Glacier - El Calafate, Argentina

Please bare with me while I nerd-out. Just remember that when you do not even begin to understand what I am about to write… you were duly warned.

Fellow nerds: I have finally laid eyes on the only thing that stands between us and the wildlings who live beyond… THE WALL! (you were warned)

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come. – Oath of the Night’s Watch

El Calafate, what could be the launching point to one of the greatest mythical locations ever created in modern literature (and now represented Sunday’s on HBO as a TV series)…

TheWall that protects the North from what lies beyond!

Also known to a few a Argentinians as the Perito Moreno Glacier (we can all agree, for my nerd-sanity, to call it The Wall going forward, right?).

Honestly, I don’t even know what else El Calafate has to offer besides this monstrosity of ice, snow, and raw natural power. But why would I?

It is the real life incarnation of the Wall from freaking Game of Thrones!!! (Game Of Thrones… the series of novels written by America’s J.R.R. Tokien, George R.R. Martin)

S0me Quick Facts About The Wall

The Wall from Game of Thrones

  1. Rises 800 feet from ground to top.
  2. Often said to have a will of its own as the constant melting and freezing cause large pieces to fall unexpectedly, often when attacked.
  3. Has claimed numerous victims who have ventured to close.
  4. Protects the kingdom from the Wildlings and White Walkers from beyond the Wall.

Some Quick Facts About The Perito Moreno Glacier

Ice Falling off of the Perito Merino Glacier

  1. Rises an average of 240 feet above the surface of Argentine Lake with an ice depth below the surface of 558 feet. In other words, it has a total height of, you guessed it… just over 800 feet.
  2. Thousands of visitors come each day to witness the Glacier groan and crack as the suns rays melt weak spots until giant pieces of compressed snow and ice crash into the water.
  3. Parts of the viewpoint have been blocked off due to the numerous deaths that have occurred from visitors getting to close…The dangers of the Perito Merino Wall of Ice
  4. It protects Argentina from the ravenous Chileans just on the other side (OK… that’s a stretch. Chileans seem to be super nice and the geography is all wrong. But still…)

Maybe this is just one nerd who should not have been reading A Dance With Dragons (5th book of the soon to be 7 part Game Of Thrones masterpiece) on the bus ride to Argentina… or maybe I just really have discovered The Wall.

Either way, for nerds…
Nerd to the max at Perito Merino Glacier

In the middle of Nerd-vana.

the spouses who are stuck with them…

Patient Wife at Perito Merino Glacier

Do you think Meg regrets saying yes to a nerd?

and everyone else… the Perito Moreno Glacier really is a must-see if you happen to be anywhere near Patagonia.

Some More Interesting (but not totally relevant for the nerdy point I’m trying to make) Facts:

Perito Merino Glacier

Look how tiny the people are at the bottom of the pic!

  1. The glacier is one of 48 glaciers in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which is the WORLD’s 3rd largest reserve of fresh water.
  2. The glacier is only one of 3 glaciers in the ice field that is not shrinking year over year, but only shrinking and growing statically with the seasons.
  3. Every 4-5 years, the glacier grows to a point where it blocks the L-shaped Argentine Lake and the water pressure builds to the point that the dam part of the glacier explodes (last happened in 2008).

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

Charlie Rossetti February 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

I love it! I’m 2/3rds of the way through A Clash of Kings (Book 3) and can completely appreciate your nerd obsession with The Wall. Glad you two are getting the chance to see Argentina!

Tony February 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

I’m having trouble getting through 4 and 5… seems to be a lot slower than the first 3. Still great though! Glad somebody commented on my nerding out… would have felt quite awkward if I ended up solo on my obsession.

Mike February 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Read the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series by Stephen R. Donaldson – he created the Bloodguard – the sleepless, long living race that lives to serve…. predated the Night’s watch by at least a decade (but both are good).

Tony February 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Done! I need as many good books as I can for all of these long bus rides coming up… 7 hrs to Mendoza and then 12 hrs to BA coming up next week! I love being able to buy books straight from my Kindle! Thanks for the rec.

Magz February 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I cannot believe you saw the wall… my inner nerd is so jealous right now. Was Jon there?!??? These are the details I wanna know about….

Tony February 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Please… I was Jon Snow! Meg was much more attractive than Sam though… but just as smart. I have a much better P-I-C.

Magz February 5, 2012 at 2:06 am

awwwww what an answer – although I feel like you’re just trying to win points back with Meg after she let you totally Nerd out on this post…

Jr February 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Wow, great post. Loved the pics also. I have not read the books but obviously they made the impact on the way you viewed the perito merino glacier. Now I need to start reading. You have made me want to go see this part of the world. Keep writing.

random stranger March 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

“Rises an average of 240 feet above the surface of Argentine Lake with an ice depth below the surface of 558 feet. In other words, it has a total height of, you guessed it… just over 800 feet.”

you got your maths wrong. 240 + 558 = 798

798 is less than 800 feet

Tony March 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

No! Foiled by math again! Let’s just put it down to being confused by all of the metric conversions I have had to do these last two months…

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