I did the Heli-Hike and I thought it was perfect. A lot of my friends did the full day and thought after a while, “Hey look.. more ice” it got old after a while for them. You spend more time on the ice doing the full day, but most of it is hiking to where the heli-hike drops you off anyhow. So you spend the same amount of time in the cool areas anyhow.
I have done both the Heli-Hike and the Ice Climbing. They are very different activities and subsequently have different advantages. The Heli-Hike is great for ‘viewing’ the glacier. That is, you can see deep down into wide crevices and view the highest parts of the glacier. It also provides a snow experience above the glacier, whereas Ice Climbing is very glacier ice-centric.
Simply put, the Heli-Hike is ‘hands-off’. Ice Climbing, on the other hand, is very ‘hands-on’. You get to wear crampons and use ice climbing gear. You start at the face of the glacier and ascend up it, experiencing the crevices close-up, and the texture of the ice underfoot.
Your desired level of involvement in the activity, and preferred length of your experience will affect what you choose… or you could do both, like me! :)
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