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The ABCs of Glaciers

'Moraines.' 'Tarns.' 'Dirt Cones.' These are just a few of the glacial features I witnessed in Alaska.

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To avoid falling in a crevasse (above), it’s helpful to know what one is.

Luckily, that was a lesson I didn’t have to learn the hard way. The word “crevasse” has become decidedly mainstream, at least when you work at BACKPACKER.

But I’d never witnessed a dirt cone or an actual glacial moraine until I traveled to Alaska this past August with Steve Howe. I had only a shallow understanding of what a tarn is or an icefield.

Steve is an encyclopedia of a guy. He knows the species of every bird (not to mention their dietary habits), the genus of every plant, and the ABCs (through z) of glaciers.

So I listened and took a lot of pictures and tried to absorb a little bit of Steve. And the result is this photo slideshow with enough glacial terminology to make any science teacher proud.

–Katie Herrell