Glacial Hydrospeeding

Photo credit: David Carlier/Caters News

Hydrospeeding down a normal river is exciting enough for most people, but not Swiss mountain guide Claude-Alain Gailland and mountaineering expert Gilles Janin. They risked their lives to hydrospeed down a winding 7-mile stretch of the Aletsch Glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Switzerland. Photographer David Darlier says: “This is a very dangerous activity for two main reasons. First they need to check the whole glacial river to make sure there are no big crevices ahead. They also need to make sure there are areas where they can stop without being swept away by the stream, which can be very strong.” Continue reading for an FPV video of the Aletsch Glacier, more images and additional information.

Carlier adds: “The second danger consists of glacial lakes located above, that could suddenly be released. We did have that scenario and suddenly a few hundred cubic meters of half-melted ice runs down the river at full speed. This is a very unusual activity. Most wouldn’t dare to hydrospeed on a course like this, certainly not on a major glacier like this one. I know some people have done it in Chamonix, but we are talking about a handful of guys in the world who can do it, as it requires a lot of knowledge and expertise.”