People like this guy are the future of sustainable mountain tourism

Mountain people often wear several hats. Many of the ski instructors in Les Contamines are also carpenters, builders, farmers, or in one case, the mayor. A few weeks ago I went to a talk by the side of the Mer de Glace given by a young glaciologist, Ludovic Ravanel, as part of the Mont Blanc Versant Durable ecotourism event. From a famous Chamonix mountain guiding family, he is himself mountain leader, climbing instructor, holds a doctorate in geography, conducts research and acts as a consultant into the effects of climate change on glaciers and the mountains around his home. It helps, he says, to be able to do more than one thing. Being a climber, he could place temperature sensors into the sides of the mountain to measure the receding permafrost. He is also regularly on hand at Montenvers to talk to tourists about the glacier and answer questions. The Mer de Glace is still about 90m deep there but don’t wait too long to go and see it – it’s losing 5-6m in depth a year… You can still step into an ice cave dug into the depths of the glacier and the new Glaciorium is now open.

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