Dwight Peck's personal website
Change I: The Trient Glacier
coincidentally, yesterday's International Herald Tribune, 25 July 2003,
had an article about that petroleum-based halfwit George
Bush's new "10-year plan" for dealing with climate change (26.5%
of which is fueled by US consumption, mainly of petroleum-based non-renewable
energy sources), in which, basically, the US Government calls for further study
to determine whether anthropogenic (man-made) causes may be a factor.
comes some years after the definitive Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Third Assessment Report, issued by a consensus
of every single climate scientist who's not on the petroleum payroll, put the
basic causes of the impending catastrophe out of doubt, and more than a year after
Monsieur Le Boosh commissioned the USA's National Science Foundation to doublecheck
those results. And . . . and, when the NSF confirmed the IPCC's findings and then
some, Mr Bush dismissed it as a "report from the bureaucracy".
to the incomparable IHT, Le Boosh's new plan asks Congress for US$ 103 million
dollars for studies to repeat the IPCC's work in order to see if there may have
been any errors.
mountain lovers take a moment to view their favorite glaciers and compare them
to just a few years ago, they can get more ornery about US consumers' consumption
habits, and their presidential flunky, than a bagful of lynx.
Trient Glacier goes bye-bye
Alison Peck (now an astrophysicist in Hawaii but then merely a yout') stands next
to the hut and buvette at the base of the Trient glacier, demolished by avalanche.
A much sturdier structure is there today, and Coca Cola costs only 4 Swiss francs,
not bad at current rates.
tongue of the Trient Glacier once lay a bit more than an hour's walk from the
Col de la Forclaz (a hotel-restaurant at 1526m on
the route between Martigny, Switzerland, and Chamonix, France). The walk is level
along the ancient "bisse", or water channel cut by our forefathers along
the steep hillsides to bring water to other parts of the mountain pastures.
the late 19th century, the route of the bisse was widened and a small rail track
was laid in to bring ice from the tongue of the Trient Glacier to the Col de la
Forclaz, there to be transported (wrapped up in sawdust and burlap or something)
all the way to Paris, to freshen up the Parisians' sorbets and possibly their
1986, an hour's walk brought you to the restored hut and a good view of the tongue
of the Trient Glacier.
here it is, viewed by Jane and daughter Marlowe in July 1986: big big tongue,
all down into the valley at about 1800m.
the skyline lies the Fenêtre d'Arpette (2665m), over which Jane and Marlowe's
Dad hiked in one day a few years earlier.
J. J. Pirri holds hands with his tiny son Nareg in the glacier's outflow, 1986.
narrator (the one with the beard) romping with Young Marlowe Peck at the then-mouth
of the Trient Glacier outflow, July 1986. Just look at all the ice! (Just think
how soon that ice will be lapping at the steps of the capitol building of the
island state of Palau or a ferry dock in Bangladesh.)
before the wall of ice, 1986
the Trient Glacier with Michele in 1990, Mr Peck still finds enough ice to pose
with, at the outflow point of the glacier tongue, but has to walk a ways farther
up the hill to get to it.
May 1994: Alison and the Old Dad posing in front of the really dirty ice of the
glacier tongue, and (right) Lisa, Alison, and Jim Anderson lunching with the icy
tongue behind them.
1995: Kristin with the tongue of the glacier stretching down the valley below (as it prepares to recede swiftly up the mountain)
1999: Little of its former glory left, the sorry little excuse for a tongue licks
down from the Trient Glacier, as Marlowe and the Old Dad gaze at it in dismay.
2000: Whoops! Where'd the glacier go? Little tinky
tentacles sneaking down from the plateau of Orny up there at the top. Not too
many years ago, ice-climbing students were seen practicing on the steep walls
of the glacier right where this photo was taken from.
Well, possibly when humans are gone, the glacier will come back again.
2000: A glacier with Chronic Wasting Disease -- all of the rock surrounding that
ice was under it no more than five years ago.
and Cousin Rob, after considerable scrambling, can still reach the ice on foot,
2003, it would be a footrace -- Want to touch the ice? Well, can you run up that
rocky hill faster than Mr Bush's ice is receding?
95% of the glaciers in Switzerland are receding at a similar pace, and Monsieur
Boosh's Congressmen and Congresswomen who've been put into their privileged places
by the petroleum and automobile industries have just produced a 10-year climate
change action plan that mainly calls for further study. Aaargh.
and nearly the last vestiges of the formidable glacier of fewer than ten years
ago (July 2003
standing where there was an ice wall 30 meters high not so long ago.
Trient Glacier, August 2003. With hummus and Lebanese "gourmet" bread.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative,
rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 July 2003, updated 4 January 2011, 19 October 2019.