The Changing Alps: The Impact of Climate Change on Mountaineering
In the heart of the majestic mountains of the Alps, nature is transforming at a staggering pace. The glaciers, symbols of the wild beauty of these peaks, are in imminent danger due to climate change. In this report for France3, Xavier Cailhol, aspiring mountain guide and doctoral student in geography, takes us into the worrying reality of Alpine glaciers and the impact of these changes on the practice of mountaineering. At Lagoped, as lovers of nature, adventure and sustainability, we believe that it is crucial to understand these issues to better face them.
The Disappearance of Glaciers
The melting of Alpine glaciers is an alarming phenomenon. According to experts, some glaciers could disappear by the middle of the century. The Glacier des glaciers, perched at an altitude of 2,500 meters, retreats year after year, sometimes suddenly as shown by all the figures for loss of thickness and mass of French glaciers. The Mer de Glace, the largest French glacier, lost 16 meters in height in a single year. Over the past decades, the cumulative loss has reached nearly 30 meters. These figures are a worrying reflection of climate change in action.
Warming in the Alps is occurring twice as quickly as elsewhere, directly impacting mountaineering. The snow cover on glaciers is melting earlier and earlier in the season, creating impassable crevasses. This forces climbers to adapt and better anticipate risks. This is a reflection that is being carried out within the National Union of Mountain Guides (SNGM) of which Lagoped is a partner. Refuge keepers, guides and amateur mountaineers must coordinate their efforts to maintain the safety and tradition of mountaineering.
We are proud to support the mountaineering community and contribute to raising awareness of developments that are changing mountain practices. Together we can preserve the beauty and adventure of the Alps while fighting for a more sustainable future.
Placing the human, the exchange, at the heart of the practice. Join us in this mission to make the Alps a preserved and loved place for future generations.