Narsarsuaq Glacier hike – South Greenland

The weather in Greenland can be a little like the weather in Melbourne.   When I set out on the Narsarsuaq Glacier hike (green trail in the below map) at 8:30am it was very overcast and started to spit with rain.  By the time I started the return journey at 11:30am, it was bright sunshine and hardly a cloud in the sky.  By the time I got back at 1:30pm, it was overcast again.   You have to be prepared for all weather!

Narsarsuaq hikes - South Greenland

The first several kms of this hike, I have to admit, are pretty boring.  You simply follow the flat, bitumen road out of town through the Hospital Valley.  There’s not that much to see – a big hill on the right, a smaller hill (where the Ridge Hike goes) and a small lake on the left, and eventually, a chimney which, I can only assume, used to be part of a hospital.

Hospital Valley - Narsarsuaq - South Greenland

I guess the chimney is all that is left of the hospital?

When the bitumen ends, well, you can probably guess what follows if you’ve been following all my posts from South Greenland

Narsarsuaq Glacier hike - Narsarsuaq - South Greenland

Bloody pebbly roads!

Another pebbly gravel road! 🙁   Actually, this one wasn’t too bad because the pebbles were larger and it was actually possible to walk beside the road for a lot of it.   

This went over a small pass, at the bottom of which was the Flower Valley

Flower Valley - Narsarsuaq - South Greenland

Looking back at the pass to Narsarsuaq from Flower Valley

After some more nice, flat walking with the occasional stream jump thrown in for good measure, you arrive at a waterfall and the almost vertical path (with ropes!) to take you up to the viewpoint over the glacier.

The ascent to the Narsarsuaq Glacier viewpoint - South Greenland

Yes, it is steep!

I think I mentioned this in a previous blog post somewhere – I actually prefer this type of hiking (where you end up using your hands and your feet to climb) as opposed to just an uphill slog – and in this case, it was only about a 250m vertical climb.    Lots more flowers similar to yesterday’s hike, and some pretty spectacular views back towards Narsarsuaq!

View back towards Narsarsuaq on the way up to the viewpoint - South Greenland

View back towards Narsarsuaq from about 2/3 of the way up to the viewpoint

At the top, there is a very picturesque lake which, unfortunately, the mosquitoes also find to be quite a good place to hang out.  It turns out that my 50 cent insect repellent from Iran does work quite well, and again, thank you head net!  😊 

Lakes on the way to the Narsarsuaq Glacier viewpoint - South Greenland

Then a little further along – the viewpoint of the Narsarsuaq Glacier.

Narsarsuaq Glacier viewpoint - South Greenland

I love glaciers!

It is a gorgeous place, and really, you can never marvel at too many glaciers!    

I decided not to do the hike down to the Glacier itself.  The ice looked pretty dirty and I’d been up close and very personal with the Viedma Glacier in Argentina a few years ago when I went ice climbing there (sorry – before I started blogging 🙁 ).  My recommendation: if you really want to explore a glacier – go ice climbing (not ice hiking) – you have to hike on the ice to get out to the crevasses anyway!  

So, admired the view from the top for quite a while, then headed back to relax in the amazing Narsarsuaq Hostel (seriously – all the hostels in South Greenland are incredible!) and read some more of my book, and watch another couple of episodes of Game of Thrones Season 6 😊  Yes, I am a year behind…

And just for fun – look who was there to greet me when I got back!   Yes, even the dogs wear head nets in Greenland to save them from the insects 🙂

Head net on a dog - Narsarsuaq - South Greenland

 

Distance: ~14km

Time: ~5 hours (I didn’t hike down to the glacier, only to the viewpoint)

Notes:  If you are at all unsteady on your feet, this is not the hike for you.   The up-and-over the waterfall to the viewpoint is very steep (there are ropes to help you) so if you don’t like using your hands as well as your feet while you hike, best do the Ridge Hike instead.

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