Glaciers of the Alps

Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher

Location Walliser Alpen, summary data for Allalingletscher: length (1973): 6.50km, length (2006): 5.98km, aspect: NE, surface area (1973): 9.87km2, surface area (1998/99): 9.30km2.

Allalingletscher caused at least two dozen glacier outburst floods from the 17th until the early 20th century. Since the 20th century several large ice avalanches have occurred, one of them causing the catastrophe of Mattmark on August 30th, 1965, when 88 workers on a dam construction site were killed. Downloadable text in German [PDF 396 KB].

Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
Allalingletscher from Klein Allalin (3070m; near Britannia hut, SAC). Centre: Small ice avalanches recently descended from the glacier front. Lower left: Mattmark dam. August 2005.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
At the beginning of the lowest steep section of the glacier many crevasses and séracs are formed due to longitudinal strain in the ice. August 2005.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
View from point 2941m on the moraine between Hohlaub- and Allalingletscher over the tongue of Allalingletscher towards Mattmark dam (note people on dam). August 2005.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
Panorama photo (very wide, probably needs scrolling to the right) from Klein Allalin; from left to right: Stellihorn (3436m), Mattmark dam and lake, Allalingletscher, Fluchthorn (3795m), Strahlhorn (4190m, appears to be the highest peak), Rimpfischhorn (4198.9m, rocky summit ridge). On the lower right is Hohlaubgletscher with fresh ice avalanches at the front. August 2005.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
Panorama photo from point 2941m on the moraine between Hohlaub- and Allalingletscher. Lower left dam, above the dam Stellihorn (3436m), then Allalingletscher. Note how more and more crevasses are formed as the glacier becomes steeper flowing from right to left. Variegated blocks can be seen on the moraine in the foreground. August 2005.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
Meltwater stream emerging from the orographic right margin of Hohlaubgletscher. A remnant snowpatch from the previous winter can be seen in a small depression on the left. Prominent glacier striae are in the centre of the photo. The meltwater is turbid due to suspended fine glacial sediments. August 2005.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
In the forefield of Hohlaubgletscher, far left Stellihorn. During a cold spell in summer 2005 this meltwater pond froze over, but is now melting again.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
Tongue of Allalingletscher from the road to Mattmark, in 1985 (left) and 2004 (right) after massive recession. The steep glacier tongue was based on rock slabs sloping downvalley, which helped cause large ice avalanches in the past.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
Tongue of Allalingletscher in the summer of 1982 as seen from the opposite side of the valley. The ice avalanche of August 30th, 1965 originated exactly in the centre of the photo. Hohlaubgletscher is on the upper right.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
The lake dammed by Allalingletscher and its lateral moraine in 1915 which repeatedly caused catastrophic glacier outburst in the Saas valley. From Zryd, A. (2001) Les Glaciers, Editions Pillet, S. 205.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
View across Mattmark lake towards the outflow and Saas valley in 1867. From Zryd, A. (2001) Les Glaciers, Editions Pillet, S. 206.
Allalin- and Hohlaubgletscher
Map (section) from Lüschg, 1926 showing maximum lake levels in 1834 (all the way to the left), 1868 (to left of centre) and 1916. From Zryd, A. (2001) Les Glaciers, Editions Pillet, S. 204.
Photos in rows 1-3: Jürg Alean.