10-15 October 2021
Crans-Montana
Europe/Zurich timezone

Excursions

Half-day excursions on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, afternoon.
For an overview, please see menu point "Tentative Conference Schedule".

 

A - Glacier de la Plaine Morte

Weather permitting, visiting Plaine Morte will be one of the highlights of our IPICS conference.

Glacier de la Plaine Morte (lit.: Dead Plain Glacier) is the largest plateau glacier in the European Alps covering an area of 7.52 km2 in 2013. The glacier is located on the main water divide between the Rhine and the Rhone River in the Bernese Alps, western Switzerland. It is characterized by a narrow altitudinal range, with 90% of the glacier surface between 2650 and 2800 m above sea level. Towards the north, a small glacier tongue, the Rezligletscher, forms the only active outlet flow feature compared to the rest of the glacier where ice flow is very limited. Hence, surface crevasses are rare, but typically large circular cryocarst depressions and long supraglacial meltwater streams leading to temporally stable moulins are observed.

Glacier de la Plaine Morte is easily accessible from Crans-Montana by cable car. This has allowed a number of glaciological studies at this site, including glacier mass balance, glacier hydrology, effect of impurities on albedo, and glacier hazards. The ice-dammed Lac des Faverges fills up annually and represents a considerable hazard potential for the Simme Valley north of the glacier. With the glacier mass loss of the last years, the lake basin has been progressively enlarged.

We will be going up to the Glacier de la Plaine Morte by cable car, learn more about the glacier and its surroundings from experts in glaciology and natural hazards and enjoy gorgeous views of the Rhone Valley and the Alps nicely lined up from Mischabel to Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. 

Bring good shoes and appropriate clothing. We will go up to 2900 m.

In case of bad weather, the alternative program will be a wine tasting.

 

 

B - Sion old town and basilica of Castle Valeria (Valère)

Sion (in French), called Sitten in German, is the capital of the Canton of Valais. The Old Town, which lies between the castle hills of Valère and Tourbillon, dates back to the Middle Ages and is home to numerous sights and attractions. It exudes a special flair and if you did not know better, you might think you were lost in a city in Italy.

Valère is more a fortified village than a castle. The first buildings probably date from the middle of the XIIth century. The buildings were made of wood and have left no trace. The first stone houses appeared in the XIIIth century and covered the whole site. A short time afterwards they were surrounded by a crenellated outer wall that followed the natural contours of the landscape. Valère thus became a fortified site.

The construction of the church probably began at the end of the XIth century. It progressed rapidly since it was already completed by the middle of the XIIIth century. However, in between, aesthetic tastes changed and the original Roman style finally became Gothic. Around 1900, the building was fully restored from a perspective favouring the Medieval vestiges. In 1987, the church was consecrated a Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II. The same year, a new restoration campaign began and is still in progress.

The organ is the masterpiece of the basilica and the oldest instrument in the world of this type that is still playable.

We will enjoy a guided tour of the old town and the basilica.

   
©Musées cantonaux du Valais, Sion. Studio Bonnardot   ©Musées cantonaux du Valais, Sion. Studio Bonnardot  

©Musées cantonaux du Valais, Sion. Robert Barradi

 

C - Fondation Gianadda

The Pierre Gianadda Foundation is a world known cultural foundation with various aspects. It houses a Gallo-Roman museum with archaeological discoveries from Martigny, an Oldtimer museum with 40 cars ranging from 1897 until 1939, a permanent exhibition with masterpieces from19th and 20st century Swiss painting, an important sculpture garden as well as classical concerts organized regularly in the main exhibition hall.

From June 14th until November 2020 an important exhibition is devoted to the French impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte. Most of his over 500 paintings are privately owned, since Caillebotte, the wealthy collector and patron made sure in his testament that the works by other painters, such as Manet, Renoir, Cézanne or Monet were bequeathed to French Museums after his death.

A presentation of the Foundation with a visit of the current exhibition will be organized.