Thursday, August 17, 2006

Riederalp, Switzerland

Riederalp, Switzerland is a small village relatively untouched by the huge tourism of the more famous ski and vacation spots in Switzerland and thus the few hotels are not large and there are still many small chalets. The village is reached only by cable-car from the valley of the Rhône River far below. No cars are allowed in the village; one walks the relatively short distance among hotels, restaurants and businesses. Several electrical carts or small electrical service vehicles traverse the paths.

Most tourists visit in winter when the alpine ski trails are open and the ski lifts take skiers to the top of the ridge giving a wide range of of ski choices.

My visit was in August, and the objective was to see the glacier Aletsch. The glacier Aletsch covers more than 120 square kilometers (more than 45 square miles) in southern Switzerland. It has a maximum depth of about 3000 feet and descends from the south of the mountain Jungfrau into the valley of the Upper Rhône. Webcams seem to be popular in Switzerland and the view of the glacier Aletsch is no exception and show a view of the glacier.

The ride to the top of the ridge over Riederalp by cable car was simple and once at the top, it was obvious how high we were. Fog, clouds, snow and sleet made the force of nature obvious. Walking along the glacier-side of the ridge, the sight of the glacier was impressive, that is when the clouds briefly lifted.



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