The Defile

Upper Taylor Panorama

Looking up the Taylor Glacier from the Nussbaum Riegel. Moving west, the Suess, LaCroix and Matterhorn Glaciers on right. Marr (multiple tongues) Soldas, Hughes and Calkin (a patch) on left.

Today was our day off, and we walked about 12 km in a loop over the Nussbaum Riegel which rises about 800 meters above Lake Hoare.  One attraction of this hike are the ventifacts.   Here is me in front of a big one.

Me in front of a big ventifact.

Me in front of a big ventifact.

From the west end of the Nussbaum we could see up the Taylor Glacier to the ice plateau.  This is the route that Scott took when he discovered the Taylor Valley on December 17, 1903.  (Does this date sound familiar? It’s the date on which the Wright Brothers made the first controlled flight of an airplane.)

Looking up the Taylor Glacier. The plateau ice is just visible on the skyline, more than 20 miles away.   Scott came down the Taylor.

Looking up the Taylor Glacier. The plateau ice is just visible on the skyline, more than 20 miles away. Scott came down the Taylor.

From where I took the previous photo, we turned right about 120 degrees and descended back into the Taylor Valley.  We returned through the Defile, formed by where the tongue of the Suess Glacier reaches nearly to the opposite side of the Taylor Valley.  Nearly, but not quite–there is a gap of about 5 meters at the narrowest:

The defile.  Note the rocks embedded in the glacier face.

The defile. Note the rocks embedded in the glacier face.

I envision those rocks moving within the glacier for 1,000 years or so.

The last leg of our trip took us over Lake Chad and Lake Hoare.  When I was down last in 2003, the two lakes were separate, but Lake Hoare has risen enough to flood Lake Chad, so now there is only one body of water.   Lake Chad still has some of the most beautiful ice I have seen in the Valley.  These lakes freeze to the bottom along the edges, and in some places you can see the bottom a few meters down.

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