Hydrospeeding Europe’s Longest Glacier

May 23, 2017

By Matt Cook

Hydrospeeding is wet and cold at the best of times. It’s all about making the most of whatever conditions you encounter and enjoying the ride!

Hydrospeeding is a form of solo white-water body rafting using a personal body float. Also called riverboarding, the activity is similar to bodyboarding, but without waves; and requires a high-flotation board and flippers for steering and control.

Now two daredevils have taken the sport further by navigating Europe’s largest glacier, the Aletsch in Switzerland.

Claude-Alain Gailland ready for the glacial descent

Claude-Alain Gailland ready for the glacial descent

Swiss mountain guide, Claude-Alain Gailland and canyon-activity specialist, Gilles Janin, are two of only a handful people in the world qualified enough to perform the treacherous run.

Gailand, a professional Swiss mountain guide and glacier expert, had already attempted the feat at different glaciers, before tackling the mighty Aletsch.

Trekking to reach the source

Trekking to reach the source

The Aletsch is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is the largest and longest glacier in Europe in terms of area, length and depth, according to UNESCO.

About to tackle the Aletsch

Photographer and adventure specialist David Carlier mentioned “This is a very unusual activity, most wouldn’t dare to hydrospeed on a course like this, certainly not on a major glacier like this one”

“It was a stunning location to photograph. The place where I photographed is called Koncordia Platz, and this is where four major glaciers meet to form the Aletsch Glacier.”

“We walked up the glacier following the frigid river with the goal to find the right spot where they could launch themselves into the stream head down and follow the giant ice tube down the glacier”

Joining the flow

Joining the flow

“This is a very dangerous activity for two main reasons, first they need to check the whole glacial river to make sure there are no big crevices ahead.”

“They also need to make sure there are areas where they can stop without being swept away by the stream which can be very strong.”

A stunning backdrop to the journey

A stunning backdrop to the journey

“Shooting such an amazing feat is very energising and exciting, as I knew the result would be very special straight away… the light was perfect, the glacier is huge and very photogenic and the action was quite special, to say the least.”

most wouldn't dare to hydrospeed on a course like this, certainly not on a major glacier like this one

Most wouldn’t dare to hydrospeed on a course like this, certainly not on a major glacier

 

Check out a video of hydrospeeding in the UK at Lee Valley Water Park

 

 

Images via www.catersnews.com

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