Hydrospeeding on the Aletsch Glacier
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