Grosser Aletschgletscher

Ice caves 2010

In summer and autumn 2010 a number of small ice caves were discovered below the location locally known as Chatzulecher, along the ture left margin of Grosser Aletschglestcher. The following photos were all taken on October 13th, 2010. In addition to these photos two videoclips give an impression of the sights and sounds within one of the ice caves.

Ice caves 2010
Entrance to one of the ice caves; despite holes in the cave roof this one seemed stable and safe enough to enter... (fisheye lens).
Ice caves 2010
Lower end of cave, looking downglacier. The rock embedded in the ice, in front of the person, is also shown in the next photo (fisheye lens).
Ice caves 2010
Rocks embedded in the very clear basal ice. The big rock is also visible in the next photo, on the left.
Ice caves 2010
Looking upglacier, against the direction of ice flow. The ice is overflowing an obstable. Glacial erosion is generating a roche muotonee (compare next photo).
Ice caves 2010
Close-up of the leeward side of the roche moutonee. Note how fine sediment is dragged from the rock surface towards the left.
Ice caves 2010
Central part of the ice cave, near the entrance, looking downglacier. More rocks, some of considerable size can be seen within the ice.
Ice caves 2010
Meltwater is entering the cave via a small moulin, causing a pretty waterfall.
Ice caves 2010
The same waterfall seen from a different perspective.
Ice caves 2010
Upper part of cave, looking upglacier. Note the elliptical cavities visible within the bluish glacier ice.
Ice caves 2010
Close-up of one of the many cavities within the ice. Its diamaeter is in the order of 30 centiemetres.
Ice caves 2010
Another ice cave was found further upglacier but deemed too unstable and thus too dangerous to enter.
Ice caves 2010
Looking into the same ice cave as seen in the previous photo, standing in a glacial meltwater channel.
Photos Jürg Alean