Then and Now Photographs Document Stunning Melting of Himalayan Glaciers


All images courtesy of environment 360

We've brought you a lot of news about glaciers around the world, and most of it is depressing. From the top 5 disappearing glaciers to the threats to Mexican volcanic glaciers to the closing of the world's highest ski run, we're losing our glaciers at an alarming rate.

In an effort to raise awareness of the issue, filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears began a project called Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Great Himalaya. Breashears, inspired the the beauty of the Himalayas captured in photographs taken in the last century, has traveled to the sites where those pictures were taken to see what has changed. The diagnosis, shown in the series of photographs that makes up the Rivers of Ice project, is not good.

Breashears, who has reached the summit of Mt Everest five times, writes:

Trekking in Tibet, not far from the northern slope of Mount Everest, I carried with me a black-and-white photograph taken by the great English mountaineer, George L. Mallory, in 1921. It showed the ice-encrusted north face of Everest and, below it, the great river of ice known as the Main Rongbuk Glacier, flowing in a sweeping, S-shaped curve down a broad, stony valley.

Eighty-six years after Mallory took that photograph, I sat in the exact spot where he had snapped his iconic picture. Pulling out his photo, I was stunned by the changes that had swept over this region. The wide river of ice had retreated more than half a mile, leaving a field of separated ice pinnacles melting into the rocky ground. In the distance, the ice streams on Everest's flank also had shrunk, exposing more of the mountain's dark face.


The compared photographs hammer home the extent of glacial melting over the last one hundred years. Not only could we the Himalayan glaciers by 2035, American glaciers are disappearing too.

It's a frightening reality, one that will have a devestating impact far beyond the mountain range itself. It's time to act.

Tags: Asia | China | Glaciers | Global Climate Change

2014 Gift Guide

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK