Reported by Gao Pan
SEE THE PICTURES ON TOP TO TOP PICASA ALBUM
Today is the first day for our expedition in Berner oberland, Jungfrau region which is known as a holiday paradise.
After warm, dry and soundly sleeping in Tiffany’s nice chalet, everyone got recovered well, thank you so much, Tiffany.
The plan for today is to hike from Pfingstegg to Baregg, look Unterer Grindelwald Glacier from far away. Along the path the connection between climate change and natural hazards can be observed clearly, means the area is already beyond normal beautiful scene spot but a place where the people can get direct and strong impression of the negative impaction derived from the global warming. Due to this, the Bern University developed Climate Guide Iphone system which can be rented in Tourist Center. With the help of the Climate Guide Iphone, the visitors can get more aware of the climate change happening in this region with passing days. This is also nice reminder for you who are reading the article, don’t forget take the Climate Guide Iphone before your hiking here.
After a short riding of cable car, we started our hiking around 10:00 from Pfingstegg in the rain. Looking down from the middle mountain, the village – Grindelwald is so quiet and beautiful. The need to co-exist with nature – both with its beauty and with its dangers – has shaped the life of the people living in this valley, but now days, they have to face and handle more frequent natural hazards due to the climate changes.
In 1900’s, when the visitors first step in this area starting the tour, the Unterer Grindelwald glacier was just located beside the village.
Since 1850, the Upper Grindelwald glacier has lost about 1.2 km in length, and the Unterer Grindelwald glacier more than 1.8km. Due to the global warming, the natural disaster happened more frequently and the locals got more threatened during last 150 years.
From the picture, you can see the moraine of melted glacier falls from the steep mountain. Without the glacier, stones lost the strong anchor inside the ice which means they can be carried easily by flood down resulted as mountain collapse.
The worst land sliding / mountain collapse disaster happened in Mt Huascaran in Peru in 1970 which killed around 40000 people in Jungay city. One particularly spectacular event, which was clearly connected with climate change, also occurred in 2005, above Grindelwald. The small restaurant (mountain hut) in the picture found itself virtually overnight standing on the edge of an abyss. One main reason for the landslide was melting of the Unterer Grindelwald glacier, which until then had supported the terrain because normally, the glacier can form only with snow covering on it all times for several years, if weather gets warm and the snow cannot exit so long, the glacier will not be stable anymore and get easily to melt and fall down. Actually during our hiking, we heard 3 times loud sound of rock fall or glacier collapse.
By the way, definitely there are a lot of safe accommodations or restaurants on the mountains for the visitors, please check link , and click for the summer activities and winter activities
Apart from the mountain collapse, another big risk is the huge rock glacier dammed lake which could collapse at anytime. In 2006, as a result of glacier’s rapid retreat, a gigantic rock detached itself from the mountain, in a series collapse, the rock fell onto the glacier and combined with glacier ice to form a natural damn behind which is a glacier lake. For avoiding the flood disaster, the local government had to build tunnel to drainage the blocked lake water, the project costs totally 12 million CHF.
During the hiking, we also met some small friends called Salamander, one kind of black lizard which is already very rare and very seldom to see
At the restaurant, the solar power is used for outdoor lamps, it’s friendly to the environment though its energy consumption is very limited. The important is the idea of using renewable energy should be deeply rooted in human beings’ mind, no matter it’s small or big issue.