Journey into the Centre of the Highest Glacier Palace

13 Mar

In Klein Matterhorn, after we had made enough fools of ourselves in the snow (Read – A Tryst with the Matterhorn in Zermatt), Tanya took us all for a tour inside an actual glacier. I am not a mountaineer and hence not even in my wildest dreams had I ever  imagined that I could someday walk on / in a glacier. That too via an easy short cut i.e. cable cars and lifts 🙂

Glacier Palace

Glacier Palace

From the ski lift station of Matterhorn Glacier Paradise there is a lift that took us right into the heart of the highest glacier palace in the world. This tunnel is almost 15 metres under the surface of the glacier and on first impressions seems like a large mystical ice cave or tunnel with a clearly defined path leading into a mysterious abyss. And we ventured forth to discover its mysteries.

Walking in the Glacier

Walking in the Glacier

The first thing that we noticed were the walls and ceilings, that had unique shapes and patterns made by ice all around – some circular, some conical and some completely random yet beautiful.

Ice Walls

Ice Walls

Ice Walls with dramatic colors

Ice Walls with dramatic colors

Loved the shapes made by natural ice :)

Loved the shapes made by natural ice 🙂

We then saw the beautiful snow sculptures that have been placed in small nooks and corners and lit in multiple colors.  These sculptures ranged from the Matterhorn to local houses and animals. And I understand that these sculptures are also renewed pretty regularly.

Cow in a Ice House

Cow in an Ice House

Ice Sculpture of the Matterhorn

Ice Sculpture of the Matterhorn

A beautiful ice sculpture of a house and a carriage in green

A beautiful ice sculpture of a house and a carriage in green

And now in violet

And now in violet

But what really amazed me was the crevasse. A crevasse is a deep vertical or near vertical crack in an ice sheet or glacier formed as a result of movement and resulting stress associated with the shear stress generated when two semi-rigid pieces above a plastic substrate have different rates of movement. These get lethal for people walking on snow, as they become invisible when covered by a snow bridge made of the previous years’ accumulation and snow drifts. We however saw them from the bottom and I was amazed with its height and the sheer drop possible (should someone accidentally fall through one of them). Though adventurers and daredevils can actually return up by walking through a glacier crevasse here, we didn’t attempt any such thing.

A Crevasse

A Crevasse

I also loved the entire ambience created here with discreet multi colored lighting and soft music that transports you into Ali Baba’s cave with treasures all around you. Tanya also told us that each year the glacier keeps moving and hence they make the passages accordingly. And I felt that this entire Palace has been carefully planned and designed and even provides information about the creation of the glacier palace and glaciology.

Some walls here were also covered by plastic sheets as ice keeps melting due to all the lights and warmth. This in turn reminded me about the threats these glaciers face due to global warming and the care that we need to take to protect the environment from such a disasters. I guess such visits could be made more educational too.

Anyways, overall I felt its a unique experience and a cheat’s way of crossing off “walking on a glacier” from your “Travel To Do” List 😉 What say?

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4 Responses to “Journey into the Centre of the Highest Glacier Palace”

  1. antarikanwesan March 20, 2014 at 00:14 #

    Now this is something amazing. I never imagined walking inside a glacier is possible! Great experience! 🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo March 21, 2014 at 20:49 #

      Even I discovered this in Zermatt itself 🙂 was super fun 🙂

      Like

  2. dNambiar March 20, 2014 at 05:54 #

    Wow! didn’t know you could walk through a glacier. That must have been quite an experience. Around 3 years ago we walked thorough a lava tube and it was amazing.

    I’d love to do a glacier walk, sometime, now that I know its possible.

    Like

    • getsetandgo March 21, 2014 at 20:50 #

      What is walking through a lava tube? Never heard of this.

      Like

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