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ICEBERGS SWITZERLAND HAS TOO

During the winter the Alpine lakes, situated at an altitude of more than 2000 metres, are covered in a thick layer of ice. This small and uneven ice field produces fantastic formations on the surface and, even more so, beneath the water. We visited Tessin to immerse ourselves in this surreal, ever-changing world. Text°°° SABRINA BELLONI Photos°°° FRANCO BANFI Iceberg.The word conjures up outlandish visions of the North and South Pole, of legendary expeditions, and of… global warming. We think of icebergs as being far off, unreachable. But they can also be found much closer to home, in the very heart of the Swiss Alps, in hidden corners where no one ever ventures. Visiting them is no mean feat, what with all the equipment to be carried to the isolated location. But the reward is well worth all the effort: a glimpse of the world which lies beneath the lake’s frozen crust. During the long winters, the surface of the Alpine lakes, located at an altitude of over 2000 m, freezes over to form a thick layer of ice, reinforced by snowfall. Further unstable banks of snow build up, then tumble down the slopes around the lakes. The snow amasses on the white expanse, compacting, then breaks under its own weight. In late spring and early summer, when the thaw begins, severe conditions whip across the lake and leave an effect like beaten egg whites. The ice shatters, accumulates once again, and forms large blocks, which are pushed by the wind towards the embankments. There they pile up and pack together in the lower night-time temperatures, creating an irregular, haphazard ice field. Both on and below the surface the resulting formations are fantastic, although unpredictable and dangerous.

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From time to time, the small lakes in the Naret region (Tessin) provide an extremely rare experience under this latitude: swimming surrounded by natural icebergs. Huge floating blocks of ice, just like the most famous icebergs in the Arctic seas, with the mountain prairies all around still covered by the winter snow.

THIRTY DEGREES | 013

N° 32 – Autumn 2010  

30 ° degrees, the Swiss magazine of sports and recreation, 10 years of reporting, news, interviews, in 3 languages ​​F / D / E, also avaliab...

N° 32 – Autumn 2010  

30 ° degrees, the Swiss magazine of sports and recreation, 10 years of reporting, news, interviews, in 3 languages ​​F / D / E, also avaliab...

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