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Friday, December 19, 2014

Hydrospeeding on The Aletsch Glacier

Hydrospeeding or riverboarding is a form of extreme sports where participants lie prone on rigid foam boards and ride the rapids. Riverboarding is usually done in rivers and streams, but some enthusiasts have taken to the freezing waters of glacier runoffs. “There are two major dangers when sliding head first through glacial runoff,” warns adventure magazine Outside. “First, the water you are rushing down eventually flows into a deep crevasse. Second, glacial lakes that feed the runoff often overflow during the midday heat, which causes a flood of large ice and debris to crash down the channels.” Despite the obvious risks, the sport of hydrospeeding is emerging as a new summertime hobby.

French mountain athlete and hydrospeeder Claude-Alain Gailland and canyon activity specialist, Gilles Janin, decided to body board down Europe’s longest glacier. On the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland, the duo completed a winding seven mile journey starting at the top of the glacier and ultimately paddling out of the bay in a kayak. The daredevils risked not only being carried away by strong currents and drowning in hidden crevices, but also being overwhelmed by collapsing glacial lakes that could be released into the river at any moment. These incredible images were captured by mountaineering photographer, David Carlier.