Hydrospeeding on the Aletsch Glacier

Valais, Switzerland

Nov 25, 2014
Outside Magazine

Hydrospeed adventure on the largest glacier in the Alps - the Aletsch Glacier (14mi. long), which is a UNESCO world heritage site / Photographer: David Carlier, www.davidcarlierphotography.com    Photo: David Carlier

There are two major dangers when sliding head first through glacial runoff. First, the water you are rushing down eventually flows into a deep crevasse. Second, glacial lakes that feed the runoff often overflow during the midday heat, which causes a flood of large ice and debris to crash down the channels. But despite the risks, the sport of hydrospeeding has emerged as a glacial summertime hobby.

French mountain athlete and hydrospeeder Claude-Alain Gailland has completed a source-to-sea-style mission, starting at the top of the glacier and ultimately paddling out of the bay in a kayak. On the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland, I was able to capture Gailland and Gilles Janin racing through the water just after they found a safe place to enter. In their words, "it's like a wet and wild amusement park sliding on huge toboggons."

TOOLS: Leica S, 30mm, 1/2000 second, f/4, ISO 100

Filed To: Snow Sports

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