The longest glacier in the Alps

Great Aletsch Glacier

The Great Aletsch Glacier is an impressive natural wonder and one of the longest glaciers in the Alps. With a length of 23 kilometres and an area of over 78 square kilometres, it is a true natural wonder. Weighing in at around 10 billion tonnes, it weighs heavily on the landscape.

The origin of the Great Aletsch Glacier lies in the breathtaking Jungfrau region, at an altitude of around 4000 metres. It forms the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. The confluence of three mighty firn fields - the Grosse Aletschfirn, the Jungfraufirn and the Ewigschneefeld - and the much smaller Grüneckfirn at Konkordiaplatz leads to the formation of the Grosse Aletschgletscher. At this six square kilometre Konkordiaplatz, the ice reaches an impressive thickness of around 800 metres! At a speed of up to 200 metres per year, the glacier flows on from there via the Massa Gorge towards the Rhone Valley.


UNESCO World Heritage

Imposing mountain ranges, rustic valleys and the largest contiguous glaciated area in the Alps. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch is one of the most spectacular high mountain landscapes in the world and represents the heart of the Alps with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau as well as the great Aletsch Glacier on 824 km2. The region combines the most diverse habitats from glacier to steppe and impressively demonstrates the effects of climate change. The landscape has played a correspondingly important role in European literature, art, mountaineering and Alpine tourism. Few other places on this planet can offer a comparable variety of contrasts and treasures.

Climate change leaves huge traces

Climate change is also affecting the mighty Arctic Ocean. Global warming has taken on a worrying intensity at the Great Aletsch Glacier. The ice stream is losing up to 50 metres in length every year.

Facts and figures of the Great Aletsch Glacier

With its 23 km length and 11 billion tonnes, it is the longest glacier in the Alps. Due to the confluence of the Grosser Aletschfirn, Jungfraufirn, Ewigschneefeldfirn and Grüneggfirn, it has a total surface area of 86 km2.

Did you know?

It takes around 400 years for a snowflake that has fallen from the sky in the nutrient area of the Jungfrau or Aletsch firn to undercut and drip from the glacier tongue.

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