The Fee Gletscher

The Fee Gletscher (Fee Glacier) is a massive Glacier that flows down from most of the peaks that form the horseshoe-shaped backdrop to the village of Saas Fee.

Do please click on the following images for a better quality view, WordPress does not scale images well. Clicking on an image will display it as it is meant to be seen – and a great deal sharper too.
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The terminal tongue of the Fee Glacier as seen on the walk up to Langfluh

Langfluh (also spelt Langflue) is a superb viewpoint that sits atop a major spur of land that divides the glacier into a northern half and a southern half. Langfluh is normally accessible by cable car from Saas Fee but this summer the top section above Spielboden is out of action pending improvements – although I have to say that when I walked up to Langfluh today there was absolutely no evidence of work having started. The place was deserted. Worrying, as in winter this is a vital hub for uplifts to the glacier skiing area above Saas Fee.

The view across the glacier to Felskinn. The Britannia Hut is beyond the lowest point on the far skyline

The view across the glacier to Felskinn. The Britannia Hut is beyond the lowest point on the far skyline

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A closer view

We tend to think of Glaciers, romantically, as blindingly white and slashed by an unseen knife-wielding maniac creating crevasses that add interest. This may be the case where snow cover is permanent and where the glacier flows in an orderly fashion. But the majority in the Alps shed their surface snow in summer and are then termed ‘dry’. To the climber this is a huge benefit as hidden crevasses become visible. But with the loss of snow, the underlying ice is revealed in its weathered and often chaotic state. The glacier is a travelator that has ground its way down the mountain over many years accruing dust, dirt, grit and boulders. Where its downward path is subject to sudden changes in gradient and particularly near its terminal tongue, the glacier becomes contorted and chaotic as it breaks up.

_DS77133_edited-1The Fee Glacier is typical of this type of glacier and its termination is a few hundred feet below the site of Langflue.

_DS77134_edited-1Today’s images will I hope give you some appreciation of this chaos. There remain small patches of overlying snow that add character and contrast.

_DS77154_edited-1Finally just above Langfluh, an area of the glacier is covered with white fabric (to reflect sunlight) in an attempt to reduce glacial retreat. Those of you who saw my Post about the Britannia Hut noted a small area of white fabric close to the hut. The area covered with Langfluh is on a vast scale.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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15 Responses to The Fee Gletscher

  1. oneowner says:

    Great photos of an interesting place, Andy. There is a hint of color mixed with the white ice including a touch of pink. Is that from the soil that tints the ice?

    • LensScaper says:

      To be honest I hadn’t spotted any ‘pink’. there is often a trace of blue or green in glacier ice. But… this glacier has been moving down over many years and has been skied on for many years when it was higher up and they often use blue or red dyes for marking out Pistes – so that could be the explanation.

    • ehpem says:

      Hi Andy, and Ken. I love these shots of gritty glaciers – I have seen them like this too and it is so different than the more distant views of unblemished white. As to pink on glaciers, the one I have spent quite a bit of time on has a pink algae that grows in the snow and decomposing ice surface and can be quite prominent. There is some kind of worm that feed on it too, so it creates a little and rather cold ecosystem. In my work I have found the carcasses of birds, shrews, voles and many insects melting from the ice. Even a moose once! Some are just blown in, but others are actively living or foraging across the ice, or just passing over it to get to the other side. It is far from a sterile environment, despite appearances.

      In the bottom photo I was interpreting the pink tinge to be areas covered in cloth, but maybe I am wrong. It seems like a lost cause, but if it slows melt for a few years I guess it is worth trying.

      • LensScaper says:

        Just catching up with a few comments. The fabric covering has been used now for several summers here – I guess it must be achieving something for them to continue using it. Sometimes red dust gets blown up to the Alps from North Africa. If you are lucky enough to see a snow slope cut open, you will see some extraordinary striations – like the annual rings in a tree trunk – in the exposed snow layers.

  2. vastlycurious.com says:

    I am so enjoying your Blog!

  3. I especially like the close-up abstractions—not the usual glacier photographs. I also appreciate the primer on glaciers.

  4. Len says:

    Love the details in these terrific images Andy. The sad thing about the glaciers is that future generations will probably not be able to see them given how they are shrinking too quickly.

  5. What an amazing experience!! Standing on a glacier is one of my dreams!! Lovely photos!

    • LensScaper says:

      Hi Janaline. Welcome to my blog and thanks for the comment and the ‘follow’. Glaciers as you can see are not always pretty, but they are always extraordinary features.

  6. Andy, I missed this when you posted it, and just now saw it on Toad Hollow’s list. These are just incredible images that illustrate perfectly how much power and chaos glaciers have.

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