Ice Capades

Perito Moreno Glacier

The Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

PeritoMorenoglacier slimpaley.comSo. It’s bloody freezing everywhere, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m usually loathe to touch on the subject of global warming-not even vaguely my area of expertise (still actively searching for that) but who knew “warming” would translate to the coldest winter ever?!  My older son lives in NY, so I worry. He’s thin. Well, truth be told, my younger son lives in California and I worry. He’s tall. I’m my mother’s daughter.That’s my job.

Meanwhile, I’m finally, semi-partially-settled back into normalcy since returning from our family’s South American holiday. It was a wild ride. From 92 degrees with 110% humidity in Buenos Aires to strapping on crampons and glacier hiking in Patagonia, I felt like a contestant in “The Amazing Race”. Without all the histrionics and ‘detours’

OK, there was the slight to medium-sized hissy fit I threw when my iPhone slid out of my pocket and down a deep crevasse on the glacier…

the glacier that ate my iPhone

But who could blame me?! It was brand new…wa wa. I hadn’t bought a new phone in a really long time (I’m one of those “but what if a new one comes out right after I buy the new one?”) I didn’t get insurance because I never lose my phone. wa wa.

Let’s just say it took me several minutes (1/2 the day) to recover.

Perito Moreno glacier, Patagonia

But back to Perito Moreno.

The Eolo hotel, El Calafate, Argentina

We stayed at a most charming hotel, “The Eolo” located on a 10,000 acre ranch aprox. 25 minutes outside of the small town of El Calafate. From there, we drove to Los Glaciares National Park and boarded a small ferry to a cove left of the glacier.

Glaciares National Park

There are a few small structures where you may picnic sheltered from the wind and watch ice move…which it does at a rate I’m forgetting, but a lot faster than you’d think. Especially by my standards. Just in the short space of time we were there, we saw a major caving off the front of the glacier, a mighty cracking noise followed by a tremendous boom and then startling silence.

Perito Moreno Glacier,

The Perito Moreno Glacier is over 19 miles long and almost a 100 sq. miles in total. The average height above water is 270 ft, with depths reaching 550 ft. Part of an ice field that is the 3rd largest source of the world’s fresh water, it’s also one of only 3 Patagonian glaciers that is actually growing. Experts aren’t quite sure why. I have a couple of theories.  I know it’s the width of one new iPhone wider, but we’re walking…walking away from that…

Perito Moreno glacier,


Hiking to the glacier is a startling reminder of how even the wreckage of Mother Nature can be starkly beautiful

Do you see those tiny black dots on the glacier? It’s the group of hikers ahead of us.

As the photos attest, it wasn’t the most ideal of weather conditions, but we did get lucky in that it wasn’t windy.


This was the last stop, where the guides helped you put on your crampons before climbing onto the glacier. There was also a bin full of soaking wet gloves in case you didn’t bring any. They didn’t mention the gloves were “left” & “right”   Just saying :-(  Hand co-ordination-wise I’ve had better days.

And off we went…

cramponing glacier

Our fellow Amazing Race contestants

hiking the glacier

Some people just know how to pack.


glacier hiking

It really wasn’t that scary, but once and awhile you had to jump over stuff like this and imagine what it might be like if you slipped.glacier crevasse,

This is the crevasse I passed through just before “The…INCIDENT” as my family likes to refer to it.


As the entire trip had been planned by my husband, I hadn’t any preconceived notions of what to expect. I just let the entire experience roll over me and I must say it was exhilarating.

Especially when towards the end, we crested this peak and what to my iPhone-less eyes did appear…

Glacier Bar


Ice Bar ,

Whiskey…with plenty of  very fresh ice

whiskey on the rocks

Our guides divvying  up our rewards

Whiskey on ice ,

Seriously-I don’t even drink whiskey but Mama was so happy to have her nice brown drink.

I removed my mouldy second left glove, toasted Ernest Shackleton and all the courageous Antarctic explorers who had gone before me…

and thanked my lucky stars I was getting back onto a warm boat and not crawling into a dank seal-skin sleeping bag in a wind torn tent for the next year and a half.

Phone schmone.

And you know…whiskey isn’t really that bad


Stay warm, cozy and open to adventure.

xx SP

For an icy blast from the past, click here



  1. Woohoo!!! Hi Slim, bedding down here on the East Coast and ding, up pops your post. I am probably to excited but who cares, right??? I haven’t even read it and I know it’s going to be awesome! Well excuse me a bit but I have to go now and get some education on Patagonia and region, not to mention the AMAZING pictures

  2. Oh my my…. I know the hotel in the middle of the lake at the top of your blog….. I stayed there in the 80’s on way to Antarctica….tho it was January and “summer” we were there for a rare mid-summer blizzard and it was a great experience and so totally different from one day to the next. I’m so envious of your adventure! Happy New Year!

  3. O.M.G. One of your very best. i know I do say that, but you keep amazing. Fantastic, I will be the second to buy your book. xo

  4. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. What an awesome trip–Sorry about the phone! I had my own iphone-heart stopping incident this Christmas when our 8 year old guest got ahold of my phone and put a passcode on it, and then would not fess up. There were some very unhappy people (namely– me) in my home for while, but we got it all sorted out and I did not lose everything. My husband and I made a vow not to have guests in our house next year for Christmas. This was the fourth year in a row with guests for us–time for a break.

  5. Another beautiful set of photos with inspiration for us to get out there and experience everything. Thank you for sharing. I will get the Shackelton book and add this to my to do list. And I think you should have an aquamarine. A big, too big, vintage, cocktail ring with an old stone that is a bit on the greenish/blue-ish side, to remember these glaciers. That is my wish for you. Hope your shoulder is doing well.

  6. I do so enjoy and look forward to your news letters and just love the way you tell a good story. Blessings to you for giving so much joy to others. Happy weekend!

    Ashly xx

    Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2014 05:23:30 +0000 To:

  7. Slim. Have I told you how cool you are? (and I mean cool, not cold). Okay, so my friend Elizabeth and I were having lunch the other day. She was in Patagonia the same time you were! Then she got on an Abercrombie & Kent boat and went down to Antartica. She said the icebergs were amazing! I’m going to send her your blog. We also decided that it was kind of cool that you dropped your phone. In thousands of years someone will find it and hack in to all of your information. You will be famous :) Wait! I think you already are!!!

  8. oh wow! WOW! you’re quite the adventurer you are…from the great deserts of North Afrique to the glaciers of the south of the Americas. how grand you are. and funny! happy new year! x janelle

  9. Those are gorgeous photos, Slim. I wish I could afford such a vacation, but I cannot! :( But, once again, sorry about your iPhone.

  10. Thank you for sharing your trip…all the wonderful photos and an adventure of a life time…then back to beautiful Southern California…another nice place in the road.

  11. So that explains why you haven’t been answering your phone!!!! ha ha ha
    Looks like an amazing adventure you guys had…love the varying shades of blue in the glaciers!

  12. Oh! This was winter splendor in the ice! I laughed (the way you portrayed it…not the loss of) till tears rolled and then did it all again when I had my hubbie come look at the photos. Just loved it!! franki

  13. Actually, you mentioning the extreme cold and global warming together – there IS a relationship. I wasn’t sure if you were kidding or not. But, the world is warming, most glaciers are melting, and that puts LOTS more moisture into the air. It’s disrupting the usual weather patterns, and that’s why we’re having more intense storms and snow. Cold arctic air is dipping down lower than before, and it’s REALLY cold. I’m sure you know about the extreme rain and flooding in England too. I watch EPL football games, and nearly every game lately has been played in heavy rain. There are unhappy consequences to burning fossil fuels.

  14. I love your travel posts, always such amazing photos and educational, but best of all, you have me laughing all the way through:)

    Your “last stop” photo is so cool!

  15. What a lovely adventure – especially since you didn’t have to plan, but only enjoy. I’m not a cold weather person, but you managed to make hiking on glaciers look inviting! One more for the list…

  16. What an adventure! — especially losing the iPhone. I know a little about those hissy fits. I was reduced to tears (can’t believe I’m saying this) when my iPhone fell into the Missouri River this summer while watching my husband kayak race. Not good.

    Love your posts, as always.

  17. Fantastic post, Slim! I now have a new destination to add to my bucket list. I loved your comments about your sons, too. 😉 Welcome home and happy new year.

  18. Slim,
    I’ve always been fascinated by frozen places like this. I’ve read a couple of books on Everest climbs…still, I’m such a chicken, and just seeing you guys having to leap over the little break in the ice you shared freaked me out. I’m so happy you share these travels, saves me from having to. :) I guess I’m not all that open to real adventure, who knew.

  19. You … Ice and snow??? You …. cold cold cold??? Trying to picture it. You … a shot of liquor ? Now that I CAN picture !! To say nothing of time spent with your beloved boys – all 3 of them!! Happy New Year. Great post. Great pics. Nice memorial for that long lost Iphone :-) xoL

  20. I recently subscribed to your blog after seeing your name in Santa Barbara magazine. I love it! You never fail to make me smile (and sometimes laugh out loud) with your writing. Thank you for blessing us with your wonderful stories, insights and pictures. I look forward to each new post. Have a fabulous weekend!

  21. No matter where in the world you are – your writing lifts my spirits, gives me such visual excitement, and always, always
    makes me smile. You are one savvy, beautiful woman who seems to keep her feet on the ground through all that life throws at her. Congratulations to your husband – for the choice he made for the Christmas Holidaze …and his life partner!
    Continued Inspiration On Your Journey….I’m with you,.

  22. Funny! What strikes me as being the best part of the trip is to have someone else (aka a husband) plan something for a change! That is exhilarating however it can be stressful if you try to understand their choices compared to what other options were available. It’s hard letting go when you are used to micromanaging every little piece of everything, isn’t it? I speak to myself as my dear husband planned a getaway to your California desert based on what I used to like when I lived in la Jolla a hundred years. I got so troubled by his choices I started looking for other options and the whole idea fell apart so my hat is off to you for looking soooooo cute in the Anarctic and enjoying the ride! My crazy friends just did an arctic plunge down there on their two year long honeymoon!!!! Drake’s passage sound familiar?? Anyway, you’re not the only one that would perseverate about a loss so significant as the new iPhone! I’d be right there with you…did you ever think that perhaps your husband phoned ahead to get that bar set up just for you???

  23. You’re so trustworthy. If I allowed my partner to organise a trip, he’d have us on some smelly bus doing a beer tour of old breweries, with a side trip to a motorbike convention and an add-on at that place in the desert where the girls all dance topless on the bars if you slip a twenty their way.

    I think you’re very brave. But he came up trumps, didn’t he?! What a magnificent New Year. Wonder what he’ll conceive next year? You could go the other direction… Have you see the Northern Lights yet?

    • ha ha. Guessing (hoping) your partner doesn’t read Slim Paley Janelle!
      Never seen the Northern Lights but my friend is going to see them next month. Apparently this is THE time and YEAR to see them-they won’t be as good again for a long time.

  24. So when you told your hubby that you needed “cold therapy” for your shoulder to recover, he did this???!!!! What a freakin’ SAINT, I say!! Why on earth didn’t he go get your cell phone, duh? Wait…I do NOT see those 10 extra pounds you were whining about, and you are wearing “winter wear”! I was enjoying your photo visual ride and when you brought me to the climax of the ” WHISKEY BAR” on the icy, blue, frigid glacier, I had to light a cigarette, thank you, it’s been awhile 😉

  25. I. Want. To. Go.
    I will bring your phone back! hehehe Oops. Sorry.
    But I can’t feel too terribly sorry for you when you are seeing such amazing beauty!! You have a fantastic life–thank you so much for sharing it!!!
    Happy 2014 Wonder Slim,

  26. Wow what an adventure. You are amazing that you did after the whole shoulder thing! I am curious, were you guys roped at all? My husband says that you usually are in case someone does fall down a crevice like your phone did. So sorry about that -I finally got the new one too after a long time and I’d be bummed as well. Love the photo with your whisky! Slim, you know how to live!
    Wonderful photos too.

    x Kim

  27. I loved everything about this post except the phrase “deep crevasse”. : ) {Shudder}. This was your best post ever. {But then I always say that!} You know, visiting my favorite blog is like opening up Forrest’s famous box o’ chocolates ~ you never know what you’re going to get. And that’s why I/we all loooove Slim Paley. It’s always something awesome ~ a far-flung geography lesson / a literature tip / home design magic / a fab fashion fix / or an incredible adventure….with FUN always thrown in. So long live Queen of blogs {meaning, for the sake of your readers ~ and your mother ~ please stay far, far away from deep crevasses!}

  28. you are my eyes to the wonders of this world, I actually cant believe such a gorgeous fashionista can do that trip, so overwhelming but beautiful and amazing, you probably have travel insurance on your credit card, we all pay so much extra we never use, i found out I even have health insurance on my card, never claimed for it cos I didn’t know!!

  29. I’m a very anti-cold person, but I found your description of the glaciers very intriguing. I might like to enjoy a picnic and watch it roll by. However the crevice-jumping is something I could do without. 😉

  30. I just found your site. Mesmerizing. I cancelled my appointment and cannot get unstuck from my PC. You are one amazing personality with a stunning sense of style. Thank you for all the visual treasures!

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