Chamonix is a place that holds my heart. In 2015 I paused my job moved to Chamonix and lived in a one bedroom apartment with 3 other people and a dog, Rosa.
We lived simply and worked towards a goal, UTMB. It went a little like this.
Living in Chamonix provided an opportunity to form deep and lasting friendships and have experiences that I never thought possible. I can’t wait to return to be honest.
Anyway, the Chamonix Valley is amazing, obviously, but it is heating up!! You can see some of these photos comparing 3 of the main glaciers in the valley a century apart. the Bossons, Argentière and the Mer de Glace. The amount of ice lost in the last hundred years is shocking… it’s not natural.
And the issue may lie there… Chamonix valley has been the mecca for all extreme sports for decades. Mountaineering holds many of it’ origins there and since then nearly every other sport has since called it home, including Trail Running.
It takes your breath away, the Mont-Blanc Massif and every single trail allows you to be in an element close to trail running heaven. That is why the worlds un-official trail running world champs is there every year in August where near on 10,000 runners FILL the valley along with thousands more fans and support crews. Is the love for this valley also killing it slowly (but also rapidly?)
It’s tough – in that I love to visit so much, but I hate damaging something I love.
It is a seasonal place for most people, travel in and out of the valley is mainly by car and this is one major factor in the reducing air quality and also general warming of the valley (and planet). The Mer de Glace “is now melting at the rate of around 40 metres a year and has lost 80 metres in depth over the last 20 years alone,” according to the glaciologist Luc Moreau.
Most of Europe’s remaining glacial ice will be gone by the end of this century, according to a new report by scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research. The study showed that unless there is urgent action to slow or prevent climate change, then the 4000 Alpine glaciers will have disappeared by 2100.
Unfortunately, it makes Chamonix a perfect place for a Running Up For Air event.
But there are people working on the opportunities that are available in the Valley such as Zoe Hart, who’s amazing work can be read about in Patagonia’s Roaring Journals.
How can we make our love for a sport and the planet come together and not just butt heads. Well we can do something, even if it’s small.
Because you know what they say…
to do good, you actually have to do something…
Until next time,
Majell Backhausen, Friday 1st October 2021