A bergschrund is a gaping ice crevasse created when a valley glacier begins to move out of the mountain cirque basin where it was born. The ice mass set in motion produces the cavernous bergschrund when, flowing downstream, it breaks away from the stationary ice that remains frozen to the cirque’s rock headwall. Bergschrunds can extend all the way across the head of glacier and may be as deep as 300 feet, posing significant obstacles and hazards for mountain climbers trying to ascend or descend the rock and snow slopes that rise above these yawning icy chasms. Mountaineering stories note bergschrunds on many peaks in the American West, including the Tyndall Glacier bergschrund in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Winthrop Glacier bergschrund on Mount Rainier, and the Middle Teton Glacier bergschrund in Wyoming.

Carolyn Servid