Swiss Glacier Breaks Free Just After Residents Were Evacuated

Chris Wallner | BackcountryBackcountry | AvalancheAvalanche
Saas-Grund, Switzerland. Image: Viamonde.

Around 150 residents of Saas-Grund, Switzerland were forced to evacuate on Saturday after radar surveillance of the Trift Glacier revealed that the glacier’s snout was moving at a rate of 51 inches per day. Trift Glacier has been receding at an increased rate as of late, especially at night. It is located just above the southern town and if it were to break loose, it would pose an avalanche threat to the village, which prompted the local police to order an evacuation.  

Trift Glacier on Sunday morning. Image: Dominic Steinmann, AP

Early Sunday morning, a portion of the glacier’s snout broke off and the debris tumbled onto another glacier just below it. Thankfully, the debris didn’t reach any inhabited areas. Residents were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday, but areas directly below the Trift Glacier will remain closed to hikers.

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