Take 5

Inside the heart of a glacier 

Words: Andreas Rottenschlager
Photography: Robbie Shone

A story in five pictures: Inside the heart of a glacier with the british cave photographer Robbie Shone.

THE FISSURE

British cave photographer Robbie Shone, 35, travels on expeditions to Europe’s largest glaciers to document their inner life. It’s a race against time. “A lot of glaciers will disappear within our lifetimes,” Shone explains. “My photographs will show what a treasure we’re losing.” Picture above: cave explorer Fulvio Iorio on the Aletsch Glacier east of Geneva.

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2 HEMMED IN

“The Gorner Glacier near Zermatt stretches out over 54km². This is British cave explorer Josh Bratchley worming his way through a traverse that we reached via a shaft. The walls crackled around us as we climbed through the ice. Glaciers are constantly moving. They can shift anything up to 15m per year.”

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DEEP FREEZE

“You always have to climb new routes because the glacier shafts change shape within months. Italian explorer Daniela Barbieri is climbing out of a pipe in the Gorner Glacier. To take the photo above, I fixed an ice screw into the wall, hung my climbing harness on it and snapped into the abyss.”

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CHECKING THE ROPES

“Expedition members Josh Bratchley (left) and Gareth Davies check their equipment shortly after climbing out of the Gorner Glacier. It was -10ºC that day. The wet ropes began freezing solid straight away. Josh and Gareth had to shake ice crystals off their 100m-long climbing ropes. They didn’t even have to time to look at the outline of the Matterhorn to their left on the horizon.”

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CAMPING OUT

“A gasoline generator lights the lamps when night falls on the Gorner Glacier. I crept into my sleeping bag right after I took this photo above. Glacier expeditions usually begin before sunrise. You have to finish your descent before getting caught out by the meltwater.”

 

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06 2015 The Red Bulletin

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