The Aletsch Glacier, together with the Jungfrau-Aletsch region, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Aletsch Glacier is the largest and longest glacier in Europe. The length of the glacier was around 22.5 km in 2021, but the ice has been shrinking for decades due to global climate change. The glacier has lost around 4 kilometers in length since 1850. The area shrank in the same period from 105 km² to around 78 km². The glacier tongue is currently at an altitude of around 1,570 m.
The Aletsch Glacier emerges in the Bernese Alps. At the Konkordiaplatz at an altitude of 3,800 m, 3 ice fields from the mountains Jungfrau, Mönch and other peaks unite to form a huge glacier. Moving downhill in a wide arc. The glacier moves around 200 m per year. The meltwater from the Aletsch becomes the river Massa, a stream that flows into the Rhone (Rotten) between Bitsch and Naters. The dark stripes on the glacier are created by the confluence of the 3 ice fields.
The crevasses are caused by the different flow speeds between the edge and the center, as the edge flows more slowly due to friction on the rock. The resulting tension tears the ice and creates deep crevices. You should only enter the glacier surface with a guide.
You can get to the Aletsch Glacier from the Rhone Valley in the canton of Valais. There are three cable cars that go up the ridge. The valley stations are in Mörel, Betten and Fiesch. All three stations are located near Brig and can be reached from there by train or via the country road.
From Mörel you can take the cable car to Riederalp (1,905 m), from here you walk around 600 m to the valley station of the cable car that goes to Moosfluh. The Moosfluh lookout point is the lowest of the 3 mountain stations on the Aletsch Glacier. From here you can see the glacier tongue.
From Betten, you take the cable car to Bettmeralp. From here you walk around 900 m to the cable car station that goes to the Bettmerhorn. On the photo you can see the village of Bettmeralp and the Bettmersee. The Bettmerhorn viewpoint is located at an altitude of around 2,650 m.
The highest vantage point that you can get to by cable car on the Aletsch Glacier is the Eggishorn. The mountain station is at an altitude of 2,866 m. From Fiesch you take the cable car to Fiescheralp and from there you can continue your journey to the summit.
When you arrive at the top of the Bettmerhorn, you can immediately see the round panorama restaurant, which is connected to the cable car station via a corridor. From the restaurant you have a beautiful view towards the Rhone Valley, the Aletsch Glacier cannot be seen from here. A wooden path leads from the mountain station to the lookout point.
The lookout point is around 200 m from the mountain station of the rope way. The semicircular platform has a railing on the slope edge. From the Bettmerhorn you can see the middle part of the Aletsch Glacier. The Konkordiaplatz cannot be seen from here. The tongue of the glacier can be seen in summer. In winter it is difficult to see the border between glacier and snow. There are boards at the lookout point that provide information about the glacier.
Along the edge of the slope there is a panoramic hiking path from which the Aletsch Glacier can be seen at all times. This path is narrow and leads over stones and rocks. This path is only recommended with the right walking shoes. Due to the high altitude, there is often snow until June, until then the path is closed. Even in midsummer it can get cold up here. You should be careful in bad weather, as fog can quickly impair visibility.
Down in the village of Bettmeralp there are restaurants, a supermarket and numerous guest houses. From here you can go on hikes to Blausee, Riederalp or Fiescheralp. The villages are at a similar altitude and are only a few kilometers apart. On the photo you can see the Bettmerhorn (peak) , Bettmersee (lake) and Bettmeralp (town).