The Harding Icefield

April 08, 2020

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April  2020 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Gabrielle Tepp 
Summary Author: Gabrielle Tepp 

Most commonly, we view glaciers from the bottom near the terminus or toe. But what do they look like at the top? The Harding Icefield, pictured at top, is the source of around 40 glaciers in south-central Alaska, including the alpine Exit Glacier, featured on the bottom photo. It's rapidly retreating toe is shown at bottom-center. Exposed mountain peaks called nunataks can be seen poking through the icefield on the right. A keen observer may also spot the person enjoying the view (at far right), showing the huge scale of the icefield.

Exit Glacier is one of the most easily accessible glaciers in Alaska. Getting to the icefield, however, is more difficult, but the spectacular views are worth the 8.5-mile round-trip hike. On this warm July day in 2018, we spent a couple of hours at the top having lunch and napping in the sunshine. Just beware of bears, though we, fortunately, didn’t cross paths with any on this trip. This composite of 8 photos was taken on July 21, 2018.