Pure ice: it’s never-ending. You can see for kilometers into the distance, with mountains as high as 4,000m on either side.
Walking on the Aletsch Glacier, you take 10 steps but you never see yourself advancing. Everything is on such a massive scale it’s hard to gauge your progress.
The Great Aletsch is among Europe's biggest glaciers, coiling 23 km through the Swiss Alps. Despite its size and majesty, this mighty river of ice could almost vanish in the lifetimes of people born today because of climate change.
The glacier is 900 metres thick at one point. But it’s retreated about 3 km since 1870 and that pace is quickening, as with many other glaciers around the globe. The melting ice is feeding more water into the oceans and raising world sea levels.
Andreas Vieli, a professor who heads the University of Zurich's group of glaciology experts, said the Aletsch may lose 90 percent of its ice volume by 2100, with the lower reaches melting away.
"My kids are going to see a very different scenery in the Alps," he said.
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