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Wilderness Wonders: Largest Glacier

Trekker-friendly glacier is largest in the Alps.
glacier, Aletsch, SwitzerlandThe great Aletsch glacier (Photo-Switzerland Tourism/Roland Gerth)

Biggest Cave |
Scariest Predator |
Driest Desert |
Hottest Geysers |
Largest Glacier |
Higest Peak |
Tallest Tree |
Highest Biodiversity |
Largest Primate |
Most Active Volcano |
Strangest Rock Formation |
Biggest Bear |
Largest Crater |
Farthest Migrator |
Tallest Waterfall

What These rivers of ice are responsible for many of the cirques, peaks, and lakes that draw us to the high country in the first place. Far from static blocks, glaciers constantly flow and retreat to sculpt the landscape. The pace of change is picking up dramatically: According to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, the average rate of glacial melting more than doubled from 2004 to 2006.

Where Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland. Okay, Antarctica’s Lambert Glacier is technically the world’s largest (see page 96)–but are you really going to hike there? Approach the biggest trekker-friendly glacier (and largest in the Alps at 45 square miles) on the trails between Oberwald and Fiesch, which creep through granite walls, U-shaped valleys, and horned peaks. myswitzerland.com

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