When I read that it was possible to go underneath the glacier at Hintertux, near Mayrhofen in Austria, I was soooo excited. I love anything to do with snow except for driving in it and thought it was an opportunity not to be missed. They said the tour could be done wearing ski boots so after husband and I had a few runs down the mountain, I joined a group for the tour. Nearly all German speakers so that was my first problem. I speak a few words and that's all. Ja and nein being the main ones. I did understand - don't take photos and hold on to the ladder.
Ladder???? In ski boots????
The walk down the slope to the entrance nearly undid me. So steep and I kept slipping. But eventually made it. One foot inside the glacier and I remembered I didn't like small spaces. Encased by ice on four sides I had to fight hard to keep going. It was beautiful - all sorts of ice and crystaline structures but steep ladders in ski boots and slippery ice underfoot- my heart was pounding. At the bottom of the first ladder, I went the wrong way and only realized when I couldn't see anyone ahead and turned back. My mind went into overdrive and I imagined being lost under the ice - gone forever.
Climbing back up the three ladders was easier but the relief in getting out into fresh air was overwhelming. No more small spaces for me.
The worst though, was climbing back up the slope I'd slithered down. Everyone found it hard but in ski boots - it was doubly difficult side stepping up loose snow. I could hardly breathe when I got to the top.
In desperate need of sympathy - I fell into my husband's arms - he'd been skiing instead of doing the tour - only to find he felt desperately ill and needed to go back down the mountain. He ended up in hospital.
I took a few photos when I dared but they didn't do the place justice. So one of inside and one of me - relieved - outside.