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08:30

We’ve lucked out with the weather again. After an entertaining morning having breakfast at the backpackers and people-watching (more of which later) we’re packing the car in the rain.

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Low cloud surrounds the mountains at the moment and the forecast isn’t great – so we’re just going to have to play it by ear today. Our plan was to walk to the base of the glacier (well, as close to the base as you’re allowed nowadays) before heading off towards Fox glacier and some of the lakes. We’ll have to see..

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Here’s how the glacier looked yesterday…

11:56

Our luck held! The shower passed so by the time we got out to walk to the base of the glacier the clouds had cleared and the glacier was bathed in sunshine. As we walked up the path to get to the base if the glacier I was shocked by how much it had retreated since I heli-hiked on it in 1999. Here’s a rather sobering example. This selfie with the glacier in the background? In 1999 we’d have been buried at least 50m BELOW the glacier that you can now see high up the mountain behind us.

Here’s another view from yesterday. On my last visit the glacier extended as far as the rubble wall across the bottom of the valley.

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Here’s how it looked on my last visit in February, 1999. To give you an impression of scale, you can see a group of people stood on the glacier on the top right of this picture.

t8966. franz joseph glacier base and climbers. new zaealand 1999.crop

So, next time some idiot tells you that Man-made climate change is a fiction and the earth’s cooling really, kick ’em where it hurts. This is the reality of what we’re doing to our planet…

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