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Ventisquero Colgante Falls

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 44.4371 S 72.5061 W
No:277        (list of all attractions)
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:South America, Chile, XI Aisén, Queulat National Park.
Name in Spanish:Cascada de Ventisquero Colgante (Cascade of the Hanging Glacier)
Height:> 350 m
Tallest single drop:> 350 m
Width:30 - 45 m
Average annual flow:14 m3/s
Stream:Rio Ventisquero
Ventisquero Colgante Falls, Chile
Ventisquero Colgante Falls / betoscopio, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Some of the most impressive falls in South America are the comparatively little known Ventisquero Colgante Falls. Falls start from the base of Ventisquero Colgante - the Hanging Glacier and fall down from a hanging valley, shaped by this same glacier. The blue wall of this ancient glacier is towering high above the waterfall, but few hundred metres from the ice is growing lush rainforest. Unbelievable!

Ventisquero Colgante Falls, Chile
Ventisquero Colgante Falls in summer / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Late discovery

Ventisquero Colgante glacier was discovered only in 1875, during the hydrographical research led by Captain Enrique Simpson Baeza. Captain reported that the snow of the glacier is just 100 m from the bank of channel. It is not entirely clear whether he saw the waterfall and whether this waterfall was visible at all - but it is clear that the glacier has retreated since then and now the ice is 8 km from the edge of channel.

Queulat National Park

The native Chono people (now extinct) named this area "Queolat" - "the sound of waterfalls". This is a land of rare beauty, with deep fiords, rainforest and glaciers. The area indeed has numerous waterfalls - most of them seasonal.

In 1982 this area was reached by one the most beautiful roads in the world - Carretera Austral. Soon - on October 13, 1983 - here was established Queulat National Park (154 093 ha).

This huge natural area remains pristine up to this day. Many interesting tourist paths have been built here but many parts of the national park remain unexplored.

Ventisquero Colgante Falls from 15 km distance, Chile
Ventisquero Colgante Falls seen from Canal de Puyuhuapi, 15 km distance / Mamutti, / CC BY 2.0


The hanging valley of Ventisquero Colgante has been shaped by ice. As the climate became warmer, this 50,000 years old glacier retreated and a cliff wall of incredible proportions opened.

The ablation process is on-going and a powerful stream of meltwater flows from the base of the glacier and immediately falls down from the giant wall.

The number and location of falls changes according to the weather conditions and the position of glacier. Sometimes there is seen one lower fall, sometimes two mighty streams - one taller and a lower one. There are times when only the taller waterfall flows. There are several more, even taller seasonal falls nearby.

Additional effect is created by the frequent crash of ice. The quake of the soil is felt some kilometres far.

Ventisquero Colgante Falls are flowing throughout the year. In summer the sight becomes more impressive - there is more water and less ice at the base of falls.

At the lower part of falls has formed a cone of ice and talus. In winter it becomes higher, covering up to half of the falls, in summer it melts down. The stream disappears under this cone for a short distance.

As the stream (Rio Ventisquero) leaves this underground section, it forms a small lake - Laguna Témpanos - and then after some 6 km enters the Canal de Puyuhuapi.

Height of falls

The estimates of the height of these falls are very diverse, from 130 m ( to 600 m (World Waterfall Database)

The truth is somewhere in between - but, when looking at the seemingly slow fall of water in video, it becomes clear the these falls are very high, above 350 m.


See Ventisquero Colgante Falls on the map of Chile!


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