Interesting facts 

When they wanted to ban the Great Aletsch Glacier bareheaded

The valley inhabitants were startled already early by the approaching Great Aletsch glacier, as early as during the advance in the 17th century. In September 1653, a procession was carried out in order to prevent the ice giant from continuing its advance. Under the guidance of two Jesuit fathers they went bareheaded from Brig to the "place of evil" and sprinkled the ice with holy water. A written document describes this event in detail:


"Amongst the various excursions which have been made, one is especially mentionable. It is the one regarding a certain mountain at the borders of Naters, which was formed during the course of many years by the merged and accumulated ice. It had reached an extraordinary height and measured a length of six hours, and threatened already the neighbouring pastures of Naters. In order to escape from this disaster, messengers from Naters were sent to Siders (where the Jesuits had a settlement) and requested helpful advice, ready to soothe the divine wrath by means of repent and other good works of the Christian religion. The day was set when the fathers (Father Dan. Charpentier and Father Petrus Thomas) were to come to Naters. Two of our fathers meet there at the appointed time. After a seven-day fruitful work in this field (sermon, etc.), a procession to the iceberg which is four hours away, is arranged. In spite of the rain one walks bareheaded. On the way, they either sing or alternately pray in the choir. Arrived at the place of evil, a mass is celebrated, followed by a short sermon. Then with the Blessed Sacrifice is given the blessing, to curb the meandering glacier, and to tighten the reins, so that it would not expand further. The solemn incantations of the church are applied, and the outermost part of the iceberg is sprinkled with water, consecrated in the name of our Holy Father (St. Ignatius). Moreover, there was erected a column, on which the image of the above-mentioned Patriarch was placed, similar to the image of a Jupiter which instead of commanding fleeing soldiers to remain, ordered to the voracious glacier to stand still. The confidence on the merits of the saint remained not without fruit. He has stopped the glacier, so that now he did not expand further. In the month of September, 1653. "(Translated from the Latin by Reverend Canon D. Imesch in Sion: from Luetschg, O. 1926: 387)

According to this glacier ban transmitted in written, the advance of the Great Aletsch glacier was stopped. As scientific research shows, however, this stop was lasting only shortly. This is substantiated by the larch trees embedded in the rampart of the maximum extension, which were pressed down by the still advancing glacier between 1664 and 1678. Also in 1818 was made an attempt to subdue the advancing glacier by setting up a wooden cross on the "Baselflie" in the Üssere Aletschji, near to the uncomfortable neighbour. There was put also a cross on the «Trift» (southeast spur of Obflijeregga).