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Expedition for future female glacier researchers

Feb 01, 2023 / Andreas Radin, CIPRA International
Stay overnight on the glacier for over a week, climb peaks, carry out scientific experiments: the “Girls* on Ice” project offers girls an awe-inspiring summer experience.
Image caption:
Researching against the breathtaking backdrop of the Valais/CH © Girls* on Ice

Based on a glacier excursionfor women that took place in Washington, USA in 1999, Girls* on Ice was developed as annual summer expeditions for girls aged 15 to 17, with the aim of enthusing participants for science and glaciers. In 2017 the project for the first time came to Switzerland and has taken place annually since then. Together with scientists and a mountain guide, nine participants spend ten days in the Valais, learn all about glacier research and conduct scientific experiments. In a very short time, they build a team together while researching, climbing and roping up on the glacier. Geographer and workshop coordinator Lena Hellmann has accompanied the group on a voluntary basis five times already: “During the week there are so many wonderful moments, whether small, inconspicuous or magnificent! The feedback session at the end is a highlight for me, when you hear how much participants can take away with them – then it becomes clear that all the work was worthwhile!”

While Girls* on Ice Austria is not taking place this year and volunteers can apply on their website, Girls* on Ice Switzerland recently secured funding and can thus even offer workshops for schools. What worries the researchers most is the climate crisis. “We go to the same glacier every year and it's extremely frightening and sad to see how quickly it's actually disappearing”, Hellmann reports. “We keep hearing from our participants that they understand the problem very differently when they get up close and personal.”

The next expedition to the Findelen Glacier/CH will take place from 15 to 25 July 2023 in German, and from 25 July to 4 August 2023 in French. Those interested can apply up until 24 February 2023. You can find out more about the process and her personal motivation in the podcast interview with Lena Hellmann.


Further information and registration for the glacier camps: (en, de, fr)