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Abstract

The Athabasca Glacier, a major tourist attraction in the Canadian Rockies, lies close to Alberta 93 (the Icefields Park-way) in Jasper National Park, 100 mi (160 km) northwest of Banff and 60 mi (95 km) southeast of Jasper. The Icefields Chalet and Parks Canada Information Center (Fig. 1) are accessible by bus from Banff and Jasper. Interpretive exhibits are on display at the center. From the highway a paved road leads to a parking lot within 0.3 mi (0.5 km) of the glacier terminus (Stop 1, Fig. 1). The preglacial area is easily explored on foot, and the ice-front sometimes can be traversed with ordinary boots. However, steep slopes, crevasses (sometimes hidden by snow), and meltwater pools occur in the terminal area; extended travel without partners, rope, crampons, and ice axe is not recommended. A less-steep, less-dissected part of the glacier surface is accessible via the snowmobile track that descends the lateral moraine on the southeast side of the glacier (Stop 2, Fig. 1); the head of this road can be reached by shuttle bus from the Information Center. Foot travel is generally safe on the track itself but may not be off the track.

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