In this week’s Video of the Week, former GlacierHub writer Sam Inglis shares footage from a traverse of the Gangja La––a 5,130 meter pass in Nepal––filmed in September 2019. The vantage point is from the High Camp, which according to Inglis was a debris-laden area, treacherous to walk on because of unstable rocks and snow cover, which was deeper than expected, concealing potential hazards.
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Gangja La High Camp, Langtang Valley | Nepal 🇳🇵 Debris tumbles down the face of an ice cliff on the glacier below the Gangja La. The ice has been exposed to the elements as a supraglacial lake has melted the surface of the glacier. This melting and destabilisation of the debris layer is a continuous process during the days, an expression of the degradation of the glacier. Eventually, this will ‘orphan’ the lower fragment of ice, as it is detached from the main trunk of the glacier. Given the debris cover in the area, the glaciers there may well become a rock glaciers, as climate change wastes the ice, as the slopes destabilise and melting & refreezing processes blend rock and ice together into a singular mass. #nepal #glacier #paraglacial #melt #climatechange #climatecrisis #rockglacier #langtang #gangjala #pass #himalaya #himalayangeographic #glaciology #glaciallake #supraglaciallakes #wasting #globalwarming #nepaltravel #trekking #highcamp #kanja #MountainsMatter #exploreeverything
In January, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development published the most comprehensive analysis to date of how climate change will affect the glaciers of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region. The high mountain area, known as roof of the world, is melting faster than anticipated, the report warned. Due to the remote location of many of the Himalaya’s 56,000 glaciers, however, ice collapse events are infrequently capture on camera.
Inglis, who is now a Nepal-based glacial hazards specialist, was part of a team trekking south out of the Langtang Valley. His video is a sobering glimpse of the third pole melting into a land of unstable lakes. “From the High Camp we could look straight into the supraglacial hollow and see the ice cliffs on either side of a glacial lake,” Inglis told GlacierHub. “It is clear that the lake has been burrowing its way down through the ice mass for some time.”
According to Inglis, the ice cliffs are no longer shielded by an insulating layer of debris. Exposure to direct sun and elements during the day is causing a continual shedding of debris into the lake.