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Rockies Climbers Explore Down Athabasca Glacier

Last week, a number of Rockies climbers explored down into the Athabasca Glacier. Will Gadd was joined by Sarah Hueniken, Raf Andronowski, John Price and a number of researchers on a rappel into the glacier between Banff and Jasper.

The team was trying to learn about how melt water moves through glaciers. They descended a feature known as a moulin to nearly 60 metres below the surface. The temperatures on the surface of the glacier were down to -30C, but in the glacier it was up to 0C.

The team found small bugs flying around and algae in the canyon-like feature. The team spent three days with scientists from the national science and technology museum in Ottawa, a Parks Canada interpreter and a professor from the University of Alberta. The Athabasca Glacier has receded 1.5 kilometres and lost over half of its volume in the past 125 years.