Morteratsch

Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010

On 31. May and 1. June the tongue of Morteratsch was visited during a filming campaing (documentry by BBC). Ablation during the previous summer had destroyed most of the ice caves found during the winter 2008/09. However, small parts still remained and were easily accessed, thus posing a potential danger to tourists who occasionally enter them, or walk over their roofs, and are unaware of the possibility of roof collapse.

Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
A presenter and cameraman are lowered into a crevasse for filming. Looking downvalley over the rapidly receding glacier tongue.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Descending into the crevasse, using a pulley system and crampons. The whole climbing excercise is supervised by two Alpine guides.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
The presenter has reached the bottom of the crevasse. Tight space and meltwater are the main problems the cameraman has to deal with.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Some of the takes within the crevasse involved using a crane which allows the camera to move and reach otherwise inaccessible positions.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Looking towards the tongue and the largest remnant of the ice caves. Early in the melt season some snowpatches remain even at the terminus.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Entrance into the ice cave; it is facing upglacier, thus the stream flows from the photographer towards and into the cave.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Inside the ice cave during overcast weather. The ice forming the roof is thin, and roof collapse is a potential hazard.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Within the ice cave during sunny weather: The waterfall from the roof is stronger due to increased ablation (compare previous photo).
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Deeper in the ice cave; note foliation structures in the ice on the right.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Melting snow within a crevasse a few hundred meters upglacier from the terminus.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Foliation showing thrusting, faulting and folding on a crevasse wall.
Crevasse filming and ice cave 2010
Springtime on Vadret da Morteratsch (partially snow-filled moulin in the foreground).
Photos Jürg Alean