Point of interest
Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

Lower Grindelwald Glacier

Nowhere else in Europe, the ice masses moved so close to the populated area as in Grindelwald. The ice covered valuable farmland and destroyed houses. From the 18th century the Lower Grindelwald glacier became a tourist attraction and an object of study. Accordingly, there is a high number and quality of historical pictorial and written documents. The glacier is the best-documented glacier in the Alps. Glacial ice has been removed commercially from 1860 to 1914 and exported as a desirable refrigerant as far as to Paris. When the glacier significantly retired mid-1860s, it revealed a surprising finding: big marble blocks. It turned out, that at this place was a quarry which operated 100 years earlier.

Due to the rapid retreat of the ice in recent years, a glacial lake was formed at the Lower Grindelwald glacier which threatened the valley by sudden outbursts. To reduce the risk, a tunnel was constructed rapidly, through which the lake is permanently emptied. The gorge of the glacier is a masterpiece of nature. Today artificial bridges lead over the thundering meltwater inside the gorge, which smooth walls extend over 100 meters upward.

With a length of 8,85 km and a surface of 20,6 square kilometers (figures for 2004) the Lower Grindelwald glacier is the ninth longest and the sixth largest glacier in the Swiss Alps. Today only the Upper Ischmeer and the Bernese Fiescher glacier (not to be confused with the Fiescher glacier in the Valais) are still flowing together and form the tongue of the slowly vanishing Lower Grindelwald glacier.