Chamonix, France: Mer de Glace Glacier – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite


1. Intro Chamonix, France: Mer de Glace Glacier

Chamonix is a city in the Alps, located at an altitude of 6,750 ft above sea level. In winter the town is as cold as it gets. The average temperature of the city is -5 degrees Celsius in January and -7 degrees Celsius in February. This means that you may be going to Chamonix to ski or snowboard during the winter months. But there’s no need to complain about the bad weather here. In spite of being so far away from any human settlements, it makes for some spectacular scenery and a breathtaking view of Switzerland’s Haute-Savoie region.
In addition to being one of the world’s premier skiing destinations, it also has a crime rate that is one of the lowest in Europe: 92 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants compared with a national average of 122 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants . The number of violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants is even lower: three per 100,000 people .
The town is known for its professional mountain guides and there are over 200 hotels and apartments that cater to those who want to stay for more than a couple nights at Chamonix . There are also plenty of restaurants , bars , souvenir shops , and travel agencies all around town . Aside from skiing , you can also go rafting , mountain biking , and hiking there as well .
If you’re looking for something more relaxing than a ski weekend or winter vacation in Switzerland, however, this isn’t your destination — at least not right now. The area was hit hard by heavy snowfall during December 2010, with all roads closed due to dangerous conditions caused by avalanche danger . For example , on December 28th we received an email from reader David Smith: We’re once again experiencing devastating avalanche conditions this morning (December 28th) which have closed many roads throughout our area and above our home village. We live just west of Chamonix-Ski-Resort which sits right on top of an active glacial moraine which has been eroding over time due to heavy snowfall (the glacial moraine extends over 500 meters) making it impossible for anyone living along the French/Swiss borders whatsoever… I’ve made several phone calls today but have only managed to reach one person who says that he’s been told that no one from service cannot make it out here today… He says he hasn’t had any luck finding anyone who can open up their shop/hotel/restaurant…

2. What is a Glacier?

To understand the Mer de Glace Glacier, we’ll have to talk about snow. Not a lot of people know that the word “glacier” is derived from the Latin word for “snow.” Until recently, this term was used in a much broader sense in Europe. In more recent years, it has been increasingly applied to large bodies of ice and water, such as the Himalayan glacier system in northern India and the Arctic Ocean.
The Mer de Glace Glacier is one of four glaciers on the Mont Blanc massif in Chamonix-Lavardin, France, which together form an extremely specialized glacier system known as a glacial cirque. The area around Chamonix differs markedly from most other glaciated areas because of its unusual geography — it sits on an edge between two massive mountain masses: Mont Blanc to its southwest and Puy du Fou to its northeast. The glaciers of Mont Blanc form part of the western flank of Puy du Fou while most of those fed by glaciers in eastern Chamonix flow into mer de glace (the official name for this glacial cirque).
The Mer de Glace Glacier is named after its origin on Mont Blanc: it starts at the foot of Puy du Fou at about 3,500 metres (12,500 ft) altitude and drops more than 4 kilometres (2 miles) a day before finally terminating some 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) down at base (3,000 metres / 9,800 ft). It takes roughly 100 days to descend down this steep slope before freezing over during November. While many other glacial systems carve out their way through ice-covered mountains like this one, it is not common for any to run along an axis perpendicular (i.e., perpendicular to mountain slopes) with their upstream side facing away from their downstream side; thus Mer de Glace does not exhibit any apparent tributaries or valley mouths—a rare trait among glacier systems.
In addition to being exceptional in size and shape for what appears to be more typical behavior among glaciers at lower elevations towards the foot of Mont Blanc (i.e., moving upslope), Mer de Glace also has unique characteristics that give it unique properties: it is extremely fast-moving; within hours after forming at creation time (i.e., during the short period between mid-September and mid-October), snowfall rates can exceed 120 centimetres per hour

4. France and Visiting the Mer de Glace

I’ve always wanted to visit the Mer de Glace glacier . So, when I finally got the chance — I was so happy.
I met two French friends who shared the same dream of visiting this stunning sight. They were here for a week and shared with me their favorite spots to see the glacier. One of them said it was his favorite destination during the winter months.
We climbed an icy mountain, visited amazing spots and took a boat ride on the sea ice. We saw icebergs, floating at lower depths, getting closer and closer to shore with every minute that passed. The water was crystal clear, blue as it should be in summer after all that snow melts from above!
I didn’t want to leave behind this magical experience — especially since it lasted for only one day. It was a memorable moment that left me with a sense of warmth and happiness… something akin to how I feel whenever I read about earth science and climate change research findings (it’s probably why I’m more prone towards these types of topics). This time I felt like I was standing on top of an iceberg witnessing my surroundings melt away before my eyes… butterscotch-pink water turning into sparkling glassy ice in tune with the changing seasons — picturesquely beautiful…
The Mer de Glace is one of France’s major glacial lakes which are located far north-east in France in the Alps region bordering Switzerland and Italy. The Mer de Glace glacial lake is located at the foot of Mont Blanc (4,656 m), making it one of Europe’s highest lakes. It is also part of a larger system known as The Cevennes Massif or Cevenne massif . The Cevennes Massif comprises three distinct national parks: The French National Park , Mont Blanc National Park and Central Savoy National Park . The average elevation at the Mer de Glace is about 2,600 meters above sea level; however, its maximum elevation reached 3,930 meters above sea level in 1998 – making it Europe’s third-highest lake after Lake Geneva and Lake Constance . In addition to its status as Europe’s highest lake , it is also one of Europe’s most glaciated regions , being covered by 3227 square kilometers (1,321 square miles) ice sheet with an average depth varying between 12 meters (39 feet) and 30 meters (98 feet). On July 14th 2003 a large pink iceberg broke

5. Where is the Mer de Glace?

The Mer de Glace, a glacier that spans the French Alps, is filled with ice. It is one of the most famous glacial features in the world. The Mer de Glace was discovered by the French geographer Etienne-Jules Marey in 1869 and then named after him.
The glacier has been popularized by many famous mountaineers including Ernest Hemingway, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Jack Parsons. The Mer de Glace is part of the Mont Blanc Massif along with its smaller sibling, the Mont Blanc (Mt. Blanc). The two glacial bodies are separated by a narrow strip of land called the Col du Galibier (The Galibier Ridge) between which flows a valley that allows for navigation and travel on foot or horseback along its entire length.
The glacier’s name is derived from its source: The Mere des Glaciers (Sea of Glacier), which is a bay on the Marly River, located near Chamonix.

6. How To Get There

Chamonix is a mountain resort in the Alps, located in France.
The Mer de Glace Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps, covering an area of some 409 square kilometres (1,600 sq mi) and rising to an altitude of 6,200 metres (21,000 ft). The glacier is fed by a number of small lakes. The glacier and the surrounding mountains were a popular destination for tourists in the late 19th century. In recent years it has become popular to climb and ski on the glacier, but with this comes risk of avalanches and other accidents.
Chamonix is also known as ‘the city of glacial lakes’. Check out their website for more info:

7. The Geology of the Glacier

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8. How to Walk on the Glacier

Chamonix is a small town in the French Alps. It’s not a place that many people know about. It’s not on any major tourism itineraries. But it speaks for itself and more importantly it tells you something about the people who choose to live here, who live here, and why they chose to do it.
The glacier in question is the Mer de Glace. This gigantic glacier is located in the Bernese Oberland, at an altitude of 3,700 meters (12,000 feet), rising from 10,700 meters (34,000 feet) on the face of Mont Blanc to 45 kilometers (28 miles) away. The glacier travels at a rate of 570 meters (1,800 feet) per hour.
In order to visit this glacier you must have a special permit that only allows visitors with climbing experience to join the free hike up to the top of Mont Blanc and back again within a certain time frame.
The Mer de Glace Glacier is surrounded by mountains dating back thousands of years and forming an organic network all around Chamonix town with its breathtaking mountain views and snow-capped peaks that make up one of Europe’s most beautiful regions. It can be said that this land has been shaped by glaciers for over 10 million years as they have continuously shaped Chamonix into what it is today: its landscape offers every kind of beauty imaginable and offers opportunities for those who love traversing through its valleys or climbing through its crags on their way up towards Mont Blanc’s face!
The Mer de Glace Glacier is not just an attraction for day visitors but for those who love exploring nature and climbing mountains; there are so many things to see here! It can be seen from many viewpoints: from above or below it can also be seen from within Chamonix itself! If you have never been to this place before it would be best if you take some time out of your busy schedule just to enjoy this place without having any expectations as far as what can be expected from it: you will never be disappointed once again because no one should expect anything when they go there; everything in its place will surprise you!

9. Where to Stay in Chamonix

Chamonix is a city located in France, in the heart of the French Alps. It’s the world’s highest ski resort and boasts a glacier that zooms over 2,760 feet (865 meters) above sea level and provides incredible views of the Mer de Glace (Glacier Lake).
As you know, Chamonix is known for its winter activities. A lot of visitors come to Chamonix for skiing, but other activities such as hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also enjoyed here.
If you are new to this ski resort, don’t worry. There are lots of things to do here and if you want to make sure your vacation goes smoothly then it is important that you consider a few tips before arriving at Chamonix.
It can be daunting to plan a trip to this ski resort if you are new with all these activities to keep track of. And it can be difficult finding what exactly you’re looking for when on vacation. If that is the case then we have found some great ideas that will help make your vacation an absolute success!
Chamonix has something for everyone – whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure or just some relaxing time by yourself; we’ve got a place for everyone here at Mer de Glace Glacier!
The most popular activities in Chamonix include:
Skiing – The world-famous Mer de Glace glacier which covers the entire town of Chamonix is one of the most popular slopes in Europe with over 100 kilometers (62 miles) long and over 6 km (.4 mi) wide. It was originally shaped by glacial action during ice ages approximately 10 million years ago during periods called Pleistocene Epochs when glaciers covered much of North America and Europe .
The glacier is comprised of three named arms which run directly south from the summit peak down through what locals call those “Mer du diable” (merge point), the area where they merge into each other. The fourth arm runs along Mont Blanc’s east side and terminates at Mont Blanc itself. Atop Mont Blanc sits Matterhorn Mountain , one of Europe’s highest peaks at 4,810 m (15,632 ft). The fifth arm continues south towards Arve Valley where it joins together with another arm before eventually emptying into Lac Léman , Italy’s third largest lake .
Hiking – The classic hike through Mévol Glacier


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