Grindelwald


The Stieregghütte mountain hut at the foot of the Lower Grindelwald Glacier stands on the unconsolidated ground of the glacier's moraine. The glacier, which previously supported the moraine, has shrunk significantly. As a result, landslides repeatedly occurred that literally pulled the ground from underneath the mountain hut restaurant which stood at an altitude of 1650 metres above sea level. Given the certainty that it was only a matter of time until the Stieregghütte ended up on the valley floor, it was decided to destroy the hut by burning it down. Picture: Lodge Stieregg Grindelwald (1), Hansruedi Burgener 2005

A landslide involving a few large rocks terminated in the lake of the Lower Grindelwald Glacier. Picture: Lanslide Grindelwald, M. & H. Burgener 2009

The floods of summer 2005 caused extensive material damage in Switzerland. The damage mainly arose from the force of the water and the debris carried along by it. In locations where water masses had flowed, large rocks, sediment residues and wood appeared when the flood water retreated. Picture: Hochwasserschäden in Grindelwald (1), Eva Gertsch GIUB 2005

The alluvial cone is a cone or fan-shaped deposit of material that arises in locations in which a flowing water body has reached flatter terrain (a plane). When the force of the water had declined and the floodwater had retreated, damaged infrastructure and large deposits of rock came to light. Picture: Hochwasserschäden in Grindelwald (2), Eva Gertsch GIUB 2005

The moraines on the Lower Grindelwald Glacier are being increasingly denuded by the high number of landslides. The glacier, which supported the moraines, once stood where the glacial lake and landslide cone can now be seen. The site of the Stieregghütte mountain hut can still be identified as a grey speck. Picture: Möranenabgang am unteren Grindelwaldgletscher (1), Andreas Götz PLANAT 2006


Many glaciers are melting and retreating as a result of the increase in temperature. The rapide retreat of the Lower Grindelwald Glacier caused instability in the parts of the slope formed from moraine material above the former ice mass as they were no longer supported by the glacier.

 

In the course of numerous slide processes, the moraine gradually moved bit by bit down to the valley. The Stieregghütte mountain hut which once stood on the lateral moraine of the foot of the Lower Grindelwald Glacier hat to be sacrificed due to the hazard posed by these slope movements.

 

In addtition to the unstable slopes, the glacier lake, which increased considerably in size due to the melting ice mass, also poses a risk. Because it has no natural surface drainage and is pinned against the glacier gorge by masses of dead ice, there was a real possibility that the masses of water would empty suddenly in the direction of the valley. For this reason, an aritificial drainage tunnel was installed in the lake basin.