The Marmolada Glacier
The Marmolada Glacier is the widest glacial mass in the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
The Marmolada Glacier is located on the North face of the Queen of the Dolomites and it culminates with the peaks of Punta Rocca (3310 meters above the sea level) and Punta Penia (3344 meters above the sea level) and it reaches in certain points the peak of the imposing “Silver Wall”, the vertical wall of Mount Marmolada that dominates the Val Pettorina.
In the last few decades, the Marmolada Glacier has seen its surface remarkably reduced by the climate changes; once present on the whole Northern face of the massif, the glacier starts nowadays above the line drawn by the Sas de le Undes and the Sas de le Doudes. From the 305 hectares measured in the 60s we reached the dramatic record of 190 in 1994; in the decade from 1991 to 2000, the glacier retreated at the remarkable speed of 40 meters per year. Much more than this, well-known are the consequences of the global warming through the impressive collapse of the summit glacier of Mount Marmolada on 3 July 2022, which cost the lift to 11 unlucky mountaineers.
Global warming has produced winters with less snowfalls and longer summers, factors that contributed as well to the reduction of the glacial surface through the reduced supply of snow and the elongated exposure to the sun. This situation has caused the division of the Marmolada Glacier in two different parts: the upper one, the “Schena de Mul”, and the lower one. Although constantly monitored and belonging to a protected area, the Marmolada Glacier keeps on melting unstoppably. Part of the glacier is occupied by the ski slopes of the Do bv lomiti Superski; the longest ski slope of the Dolomite Mountains is located here (the “La Bellunese” with its 12 kilometers).
Historically, the Marmolada Glacier is famous for the “City of Ice”, a complex tunnel system dug in the ice by the Austro-Hungarian troops during the Great War against Italy. Nothing remains from that incredible opera, except some pictures, housed at the Marmolada 3000M Museum of the Great War on Punta Serauta. A local legend tells about the formation of the Marmolada Glacier; read it here.
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