White Glacier is a valley glacier occupying 38 square kilometres and is located at longitude 79°30'N / 90°50'W. The elevation is from 56m to 1782m above sea level. Detailed mass balance measurements on the glacier began in 1960 and have been continued to this day (2008). Photos on this page are from visits in 1976, 1977 and 2008 and are roughly organized from the tongue upwards to the accumultion area. Photos of Between Lake, dammed by Thompson and White Glaciers, are on a different page.
Aerial view over the tongue of White Glacier, along its entire length up to the accumulation area on the far upper left (July 2th, 2008). In 1977 the glacier tongue had reached about the lower edge of the photo.
Aerial view of the tongue and terminal moraine of White Glacier (left and centre; July 2th, 2008) and Thompson Glacier (behind and on the right). Note deeply incised meltwater channel (below centre) from Between Lake.
Close-up view of the deep meltwater channel at the terminus of White Glacier through which the water of Between Lake drains (July 8th, 2008).
Tongues of White Glacier (foreground) and Thompson Glacier as seen from White Glacier Hill on July 8th, 2008. Contrary to Thompson, White Glacier carries little debris on its surface, hence it's name.
Small amounts of basal debris are dredged up along shear planes and then lie on the very lowest part of White Glacier's tongue. Note also intensive folding in the ice, visible along the bottom margin (July 8th, 2008).
Midnight view of White Glacier from White Glacier Hill in August 1977. The low sun makes the glacier surface appear much rougher than in the next photo, taken at local noon.
White Glacier from White Glacier Hill around noon on July 8th, 2008. On the far side of the glacier a lateral moraine clearly indicates marked surface lowering of the ice when compared with the previous photo from 1977.
Panorama photo (very wide, may require scrolling to the right) of White and Thompson Glacier from White Glacier Hill, July 8th, 2008. Typically annual ablation on the tongue of White Glacier is between 2 and 4 metres water equivalent, but can exceed 5m in excptionally warm summers.
Hot water drilling on White Glacier in 1976. Temperature measurements from boreholes indicate that the glacier is not frozen to the ground in the lower parts, except along its margin.
Meltwater ponds on the tongue of White Glacier (July 8th, 2008).
Surveying stakes on White Glacier from Tibetan Montain (688,7m; 1976 photo). Note major meltwater pond to the right of Konrad Steffen's back.
Panorama photo of White Glacier from Moraine Mountain at 1366m.a.s.l. (1977). Outlet glaciers from the Steacy Icecap can be glimpsed in the far distance.
Small ice-dammed lake on White Glacier, below Yellowhead Mountain. Note how lake ice from the previous winter is compressed and folded by the two converging glaciers. Wolf Mountain is in the right background.
View from Moraine Mountain towards the beautiful ice apron on Peak 1477m (above centre, best ski descent the author ever had on Axel...) and White Triplets Range (peaks in the right background; 1977).
Measuring accumulation in the upper reaches of White Glacier in spring 1976. Note Sastrugi (ridges formed by strong winds) on the snow surface.
Aerial view of the upermost part of White Glacier's accumulation area on July 2nd, 2008. As there was very little snowfall during the previous winter many crevasses are open, even at this high altitude (1600m in the foreground).
|Photos Jürg Alean|