Global warming evidence at La Mer de Glace

If you are sceptical that global warming is not as bad as many experts make out then you will have to think again after the evidence I witnessed at La Mer de Glace in France.

I’m just back from a visit to Chamonix in France where I went on a fantastic mountain train journey to La Mer de Glace. This is the largest glacier in France and stretches for more than 11 kilometres and has a 3000m change in altitude. There are several ways to reach this amazing glacier. At one time the only way was by mule but in 1908 state approval was given for the building of a mountain railway, even though the fate of 300 guides and 200 mules was at stake, and I decided that using the mountain railway was the best option!

As you ascend the mountain you get incredible views but the best treat is when you reach the top because this is where you see the barren landscape of the huge glacier in front of you. You can see where the glacier has carved out a huge deep valley in the mountain.

Whilst the view is awesome there is a huge worrying downside to the epic landscape because the glacier has shrunk dramatically in only a few short years.30 years ago the glacier was only feet away from the terrace next to the terminus of the mountain railway. Now the glacier is hundreds of feet down and you can actually walk down 440 steps to reach the glacier and that’s after you have taken a cable car down several hundred feet. The evidence of the diminishing glacier is astonishing.

When you reach the glacier you can actually walk inside it because a huge tunnel inside the glacier has been created. The glacier is still several hundred feet deep but if the glacier continues to melt then the sight of this huge glacial ice might be lost forever.

Take a look at some photos that I took of L Mer de Glace below and for more information look at the official website.

La Mer de Glace
Visitors at La Mer de Glace
Evidence of global warming. The glacier has shrunk dramitcally since 1990.
Evidence of global warming. The glacier has shrunk dramitcally since 1990.
Steps down to La Mer de Glace
440 steps down to La Mer de Glace
Inside a glacier at La Mer de Glace
Inside a glacier at La Mer de Glace FRance
Mer de Glacen railway
Mountain railway to La Mer de Glace

Aiguille Du Midi – The highest cable car in Europe.

I have just been on the Aiguille Du Midi cable car and it is, without doubt, one of the most amazing experiences you can have. The cable car is in two parts followed by a lift built inside the rock to take you to the summit of Aiguille Du Midi at 12,602 feet. This is an article written about my experience of ascending this incredible mountain that gives you clear views of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe.

Where is Aiguille Du Midi

You can access the cable car to Aiguille Du Midi from the French town of Chamonix. Chamonix is located in a glacial valley and 10,000 years ago Chamonix was under 1,000m of ice. It was only in 1867 that the whole valley became accessible and tourists started arriving to see the wonders of the magnificent mountain scenery. The Aiguille Du Midi cable car is located in the town centre of Chamonix. Just look for the cables going up the mountain!

Aiguille Du Midi
View of Aiguille Du Midi from Les Tines in the Chamonix valley.

About the Aiguille Du Midi cable car

It was  an Italian engineer, Dino Lora Totino that came up with the idea in 1949 to build the cable car and 6 years later his vision was completed. The second section of the cable car ascends 1471m and travels at over 43km an hour at a near vertical angle. The cable car can take 600 people an hour to the top. Take warm clothing because at the top, even in summer, the temperature may only be -10C. I went to the top in a pair of shorts and in the sun I was ok but out of the sun it was freezing!

At 3842m the air is thinner than at sea level. Be aware that you will be breathless and might feel light headed at times due to the reduced oxygen at this height. I checked my oxygen saturation level at the top and it was 85%. It should normally be at least 95%.

How much does it cost on the Aiguille Du Midi cable car?

The adult price for a return trip on the Aiguille Du Midi cable car costs 58.50 Euros per person. A family package ticket for a family of 4 costs 174.50 Euros. For slightly more you can get a ticket that gets you on the amazing Train du Montenvers to the Mer de Glace. It might seem expensive but this is a once in a lifetime experience.

The train line is 5km long and has a change in altitude of 871 metres. This train takes you to the famous Mer de Glace where you can walk inside the largest glacier in Europe. You can witness for yourself how global warming has affected the glacier because the glacier has shrunk dramatically in only a few years.

The price of the ticket includes free access to step into the void, a glass room with a glass floor with 1,000 metres of air under your feet!

Tip! Check out the Aiguille Du Midi webcams to see what the weather is like at the top. If you can’t see anything at the top you might want to wait until the weather improves.

Read more about the Aiguille Du Midi on the official website here

What’s it like at the top of Aiguille Du Midi?

At this height the views are incredible. You can see down into the Chamonix valley as well as having amazing views of mountain scenery, including the highest peak in Europe, Mont Blanc. The photos I took below go a little way to giving you an idea what it’s like at the top. Not until you go to the top yourself will you fully appreciate this wonder of the world.

Top of Aiguille Du Midi
Top of Aiguille Du Midi at 3842 metres.
View from Aiguille Du Midi
View from Aiguille Du Midi