Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Death of a glacier

Yosemite's Lyell Glacier, second-largest in the Sierras, has lost 80% of its surface area, down to .27 square km. Wiki says it's split in two and not moving, arguably not a glacier anymore, just stagnant ice.

I tried to get up to this one a year back but it didn't work out. Still on my list.

Glaciers can come back though. About 20 rash years ago, I was glissading down what was supposed to be a snowfield and not a glacier in Alaska when I found myself sliding toward a crevasse. I couldn't stop but I got my feet underneath me and jumped it (it wasn't very wide). That's when I learned that small glaciers can come and go, although the global trend for glaciers is obvious enough.


cRR Kampen said...

Dead ice. Like e.g. the Zugspitze glacier.

"I couldn't stop but I got my feet underneath me and jumped it (it wasn't very wide)."
Damn do I know that kind of movement..
On a somewhat related note: you can follow reindeer tracks safely. But not a lynx's.

Aaron said...

There was a small glacier in the Sierras where a friend and I practiced ice skills every year for 20 years. Then, about 12 years ago, I was crossing it, and the whole thing just slide away and over the cliff below -- leaving me hanging 15 feet in the air from my belay to the rock above. That was the point when I was sure that discontinuous ice dynamics was important to ice sheet behavior.

Brian said...

A wolf was a good guide the one time I unintentionally followed one. I thought I was following the melted out steps of a climber, until the prints got smaller as I went uphill.