Aletsch Glacier, or called Great Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps and Europe's largest alpine glacier. Aletsch is the kind of mountain (valley) glacier where a feeding area in ridge mountains and ice tongue descend into the valley below the snow border. The glacier is located in Aletsch and was announced in December 2001 for the World Natural Heritage sites list by UNESCO, with the region of the eastern Bernese Alps, in the Swiss canton of Valais.
Here are the most famous mountains in Switzerland, consisting of peaks Jungfrau (4158 m), Mönch (4099 m) and Eiger (3970 m). Aletsch glacier is the longest glacier in the Alps. It covers an area of 120 sq. km. Aletsch stretches along the southern slopes of the Bern Alps to the Rhone valley to a height of 1450 meters.
The highest point of the glacier is Aletsch horn, rising to 4195 meters. On all slopes adjacent crawl cableways, lifts and ski runs because there are famous winter resorts Wengen, Mürren, and Shtehelberg Grindenvald. Around Glacier Aletsch there are six major ski areas: Bettmeralp, Fisheralp, Riederalp, Belalp, Rossvald and Rotvald. The whole area along with surrounding glaciers in the area is the Jungfrau- Aletsch Protected Area.
Aletsch glacier has 4 branches, and consists of 3 small ice formations, which are united in the area known as Concordia. At this place the ice thickness reaches about 1 km. Then the glacier continues to flow into the valley of the River Rhone, before launching the Massa river.
The northern part of the glacier and Concordia Aletsch can be seen from the panoramic station of the Jungfraujoch. It is located just below the top of Jungfrau. After this the ice extends south along the lake and mountains Merelen and Eggishorna. The lower part of the glacier Aletsch is considerably thinner than the area around Concordia. At the bottom of the glacier ice does not reach more than 150 meters, and melting water flows in along the Rhone.
The water potential of the glacier Aletsch would be sufficient to supply a country like Germany with drinking water for 1 year. The area between Belalp, Riederalp Bettmeralp is known as the Aletsch region. From here, there is easy access to the bottom of the glacier, and the Eggishorn and Bettmerhorn sites are popular and scenic points are accessible by lift. The river from 2008 onwards can now be passed through a suspension bridge built to allow access to tourists to the left and right side of the glacier.
Railway Station Jungfraujoch, located 3450 meters above sea level makes direct access to the upper Aletsch possible. Up here there is a simple road and track, but it is accessible only from the beautiful Interlaken in the canton of Berne. The whole area around it is dotted with other glaciers.
On Riederfurka, of 2065 m and Riederalp glacier is the popular Villa Cassel, which is a former summer residence and houses many famous and influential guests from the worlds of politics and finance. Currently Villa Cassel is one of the main rest spots in Switzerland, as it housed the organization Pro Natura. In the middle of this building, Aletsch glacier can be seen standing in natural exposure.