For those who are seeking a late summer mountain adventure, here are 5 outstanding alpine glaciers and the right outfit to enjoy them.
Today there are only a few and small glaciers compared to the glaciation period when huge ice stretches covered the most famous Italian mountains.
Because of global warming, most of them have been fragmented into many tiny glaciers, so we can say that their number has increased, but this has drastically decreased their surface.
The most striking glaciers in Europe are located in the Alps, in particular on the northern side, the part of the mountain range that is less exposed to the sun and with less steep slopes.
In Italy, the Alpine glaciers are concentrated in the Valle d’Aosta mountainous groups, among the Gran Paradiso massif, Monte Bianco, and Monte Rosa. In the central Alps, the largest glaciers are found on the mountain ranges of Bernina, Ortles, and Adamello which, in some parts, overflow the French and Swiss territories, while in the eastern Alps the only important to mention is the Marmolada’s glacier.
Many of them can be reached by cable cars but, for adventure lovers, there are also itineraries and footpaths to walk through where you can enjoy the breathtaking panorama in every season.
Still, the ideal period to visit the glaciers is Summer. In these months you can appreciate the scenery that, once arrived in the proximity of them, that ice land that stretches placidly between the mountain rocks can offer
The Aletsch’s glacier in Switzerland
This is the largest glacier in the Alps, with a length of 23.6 km, and it’s located in the Cantone del Vallese. The Jungfrau Massif, which delimits it to the North, offers one of the most beautiful views of the Alps. This is a dream for many mountaineers, who find their meeting point in one of the historic Swiss Shelters: The Konkordiahütte.
Mer de Glace, France
The name is self-explanatory: the “sea of ice” lies on the north (French) side of the Mont Blanc massif. Its peculiarity is to be composed by three smaller glaciers, the Tacul, the Leschaux and the Talèfre. With its 7 km of length, after that of Aletsch is the largest glacier in the Alps.
The Morteratsch, the glacier of legends
A typical valley glacier, the Morteratsch is located on the Bernina massif in Switzerland, on Diavolezza Mount.
This glacier is easy to reach thanks to the Bernina Red Train, which starts its route from Tirano and arrives in St. Moritz, giving the thrill of Alpine views between Italy and Switzerland.
The legend of the glacier’s name was born from a troubled and unfortunate love story between Teresa and the shepherd Eratsch, who died on the glacier. Mount Diavolezza, on the other hand, owes its name to the legend that a red-haired fairy lived in its crevices, a fairy who “bewitched” hunters and hikers with her beauty not allowing them to come back home.
The Marmolada and its tongue of ice
The largest glacier of the Dolomites, the Marmolada finds its bed on the northern slope of the highest mountain of the entire Dolomitic massive, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With more than 3000 meters above the sea level, the glacier is easily reachable through the ski lifts, and it offers a wonderful summer landscape. In winter, however, ski enthusiasts can devote themselves to exciting downhills on the slopes of the most impressive mountains in Europe.
The Hintertux glacier
The Hintertux glacier lays in the Austrian Tyrol, with an altitude of 3,250 meters above the sea level. This guarantees the presence of snow during all seasons of the year and makes it the ideal destination for practicing the most beautiful alpine sport. The ski slopes stretch for 225 km, with 62 ski lifts.
Here you can also visit the town of Tux, located at the foot of the glacier, where the Alpine landscape and the classic mountain village will have even the most skeptical sea lovers fall in love with the panorama.
The ideal outfit for hiking on the glacier
Visiting glaciers as the Morteratsch may have you unprepared for the high-altitude climate changeability. Don’t let the memory of the suffered warm weather in the plain fool you: at high altitudes the temperatures may drop to zero in just a few minutes.
In order to not get caught off the mountain, it’s always better to wear trekking shoes suitable for walking on rocky trails, but also waterproof and breathable so you can cross streams or face walks in the snow keeping your feet dry.
You can find them from various brands in the Decathlon stores or choose the mountain brand for excellence: Salomon.
Even though there may be a clear day, remember to carry a high protection sunscreen (30/50 SPF) in the backpack, a pair of long comfortable pants and a lightweight hooded duvet for not being caught unprepared by some clouds that carry icy winds and frozen rain.
Regarding sunglasses, it’s advisable to use lenses suitable for strong lighting (Cat. 4), possibly mirrored, to better reflect the sun’s rays.
A good web site to find the perfect outfit for visiting a glacier is http://www.trekkin.com/. From clothing to accessories, here you’ll find many brands to have a flawless look even in extreme climatic conditions.