Mer De Glace, Chamonix, France

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
You are here standing on a mountain 6267 feet high. Directly in front of you is one of the famous glaciers of the world-Mer de Glace, which means "a sea of ice." This glacier is 4 1/2 miles in length and from a half to over a mile in width. Beyond stands the cold peaks of the Aiguille du Dru, 12,320 feet high. This is all just above the Valley of the Chamonix and near Mont Blanc. Twenty glaciers strike downward from the great Mountain of Snows. But the one you see is the most notable. Here for hundreds and hundreds of years this great ice sheet has moved from the heights above toward the Valley of the Chamonix. Glaciers are made slowly, and they move slowly. Winter after winter the snow piles into the upland valleys, too deep to be melted in summer. Under pressure snow becomes ice. This pressure increases each year, so the ice sheet begins to crawl slowly down the valley. Where it melts a stream begins. It is not difficult to cross the Mer de Glace if you are a good traveler. You draw woolen socks over your boots, follow your guide, and in 20 minutes you are across. Then you may climb a giddy height, if you do not get dizzy, and look over at the glacier from the other side. This section of France was practically unknown to Europeans till 1741. In that year two English travelers explored the Valley of the Chamonix, and this same Mer de Glace. The little valley has been inhabited for many hundreds of years. But its people did not know the world beyond, and the world knew nothing of them. A group of monks first cultivated the land in the Chamonix valley 800 years ago. The valley now holds about 5,000 people. A little village of the same name is the center of the district. One of the spots of chilling interest to the tourist is the graveyard in which lie several mountain climbers. Keystone ID: 10734 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.