Saturday, 25 July 2009

Switzerland: Aletsch Glacier

Aletsch Glacier Edge near Gletscherstube
Aletsch Glacier Edge near Gletsherstube
A great day spent walking the rocky path above the edge of the glacier, starting from Bettmergrat cable car station (2647m).

The way can be narrow and undulates to negotiate rockfall, but it steadily makes its descent to Marjelesee, where it is possible to access the glacier. Diane took the opportunity to all but crawl under the mass of ice for a few photos, which was slightly unnerving.

Under the Glacier
Under the Glacier

If the scale of the largest glacier in the Alps wasn't apparent enough, getting so close to the towering ice certainly hits it home.

At the edge of the glacier
At the edge of the glacier
Glacier Edge
Glacier edge

Diane cast an envious eye on two hikers donning crampons and venturing up onto the glacier from this point. This is a popular starting place for glacial hikes and the most accessible point.

Glacier Hikers
Glacier hikers

We lunched at Marjelesee (2300m) and the alpine hut known as Gletscherstube. Whilst we were there we also got to see an Air Zermatt mountain rescue, a walker having fallen down the rocky slopes. The granite here is smooth, thanks to the ice, and when it gets wet, it is treacherous!

From the glacier, it was a straightforward walk through the tunnel back to Fiescheralp (2212m), and wonderful views of the Rhone Valley.

Obers Talli
Obers Talli