Experts in are warning that the current heatwave is making the last remaining glaciers dangerous places for hikers with huge underground fissures forming, leaving only a narrow patch of ice above a gaping drop.
That warning is now being echoed in Spain where authorities have warned about the bad state of the popular glacier of Aneto, in the Pyrenees, saying hikers in this tourist spot area could be in danger if they ventured without careful planning in the proper equipment onto the glacier.
They said the high temperatures that are hitting the province of Huesca, the northern Spanish region of Aragon, near the Pyrenees, during the last months have caused the snow conditions in some sky resorts and the fossil snow in the glaciers of the Pyrenees to become dangerous places.
But the glacier of Aneto has a “special danger” due to the high number of visitors during the summer season.
The Spanish Civil Guard in Zaragoza has warned about the bad state of the glacier already in the month of July, with certain dangerous conditions already appearing that are usually only seen at the end of August or September.
In a press statement from the Spanish Civil Guard obtained by Newsflash, it warned that walking on the glacier “has become complicated, even for experienced individuals with appropriate gear”.
They noted that the ice is “very hard”. making it difficult for crampons and ice axes to grip, and it is accompanied by rocks on the surface with large crevasses even just a few meters from the usual ascent and descent routes.
They said hikers could face accidents with “very serious” consequences, the authorities warned.
Because of these reasons, the authorities also recommended hikers be fully aware of the conditions in the area and use an alternative route that starts in Renclusa to avoid the fossil glacier of Aneto.
But they also commented that hikers who still decide to venture onto the glacier should carry an ice axe and crampons.
Spanish Civil Guard also ask hikers and visitors to be very careful with the activities done in the area and plan the activity beforehand, taking information about the route, the place, the difficulties and evaluating the current conditions.
They also recommended not to be alone while hiking mountains, but at least in a group of three people, as well as informing a different person about the route and the schedule.
Only recently Turkish search and rescue workers recovered the dead bodies of two hikers who plunged into a deep crevasse when a glacier cracked beneath their feet on Mount Cilo in Yuksekova, Hakkari Province, during their outing on 16th July.
Ferhat Basdinc of the Van Metropolitan Municipality Fire Department, said it was a warning to ‘not defy nature’, and he added: “It is evident that there was a significant neglect in this situation. Random people should not venture onto glaciers. At the very least, I can say that they should go with trained guides.”