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Mer De Glace
As You've Never Seen It Before!
An Eagle's View

Check out this amazing youtube video of the Mer de Glace, the Glacier at Montenvers, Chamonix.  This is from Srachi, who strapped a camera to the back of an Eagle.

Below is the description of the view as the eagle soars over the glacier and Montenvers.   This is where the charming rack and pinion train terminates and the end of the 2800m descent of the Vallee Blanche which starts at the top of the Aiguille du Midi.

The glacier

The eagle at the start of the video heads out towards the glacier. This is the Mer de Glace  (Sea of Ice) so called because the undulating surface looks like waves.  This video was taken towards the end of summer, so naturally, it is not well covered in snow but in winter, this is where the amazing off-piste Vallee Blanche ends.

Skiers, note that this is where you end the run. See how the glacier becomes a moraine field? In winter it is less pronounced given the snow cover.  Here is a photo taken in winter.

Notice the lower sides of the mountain on the opposite side to the eagle.  Over eons, the Mer de Glce has worn away the sides of the mountain and you can see the erosion as steep, craggy, vertical cuts into the mountain and the sharp fall of the slope to the remains of the glacier.

This is the end of the run along the Mer de Glace



Montenvers

As the eagle turns around and flies back, you'll see buildings underneath. There is a modern structure with a metal roof which is the station and shelter and next to it is an older stone and brick building. This houses a small coffee shop where skiers after their adventure down the Vallee Blanche are able to relax a little while waiting for the train back to town.

The large building that the eagle is flying towards is the lovely restaurant.  As you can imagine, in summer it is delightful with amazing views.


The Ice Caves

The ice caves drilled into the glacier aren't visible from this video. They are accessed via a small enclosed cable lift and over 300 steps that you must descend.  Remember it also means to get back up, you have to climb up these same stairs.

Each year as the mer/sea of glace/ice moves, new ice caves are drilled and you can see the new entrances and the portable entrance platforms which are shifted as new "caves" are drilled.

The ice caves are illuminated with different colored lights and an ice sculpture at the end of the tunnel or cave. I considered it interesting although not particularly special as we've been spoilt having seen and experienced the most amazing art sculptures in Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan.  Niseko is another skiers paradise blessed with deep fresh snowfalls of dry snow coming across from Siberia.


The rail tracks

The rail tracks you see are that of the narrow gauge rack and pinion train that climbs up the beautiful forested slopes from town. The special charming restored carriages departs from behind the main train station.  Please remember that this sightseeing train is accessed via the steel overhead bridge to the left hand side of the station as you face it with the town to your back.


The original amazing source

Click here to view Srachi's original Youtube entry.







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