Glacier flood – Idyll under threat

Documentary, 45 minutes
Written and directed by: Carsten Binsack

The Grindelwaldgletscher, a glacier situated in the Swiss Alps, has been shrinking for years in record time. A natural storage lake has been accumulated and is now a serious threat. If the embankment dam broke, several villages in the valley would be flooded. Geologist Hans Rudolf Keusen wants to avoid the disaster with a double strategy. With sensors in the lake and with a hazardous intent: he orders to blast a 2 km gallery in the direction of the glacial lake. The pit should work as an oversized drainpipe through which the melt water can flow in a controlled way. Again and again Keusen flies with a helicopter to his workplace 1400 meters above ground to control the glacial lake and the works at the tunnel.

As they are on the verge of breaking through the gallery, Keusen and his co-workers hit on fractious material. While time is up, they have to find a solution and decide: a second tube has to be built. This is the only way for them to manage to break through to the lake. At the end, their intent succeeds.
Is the danger avoided for all times? This question cannot be answered. Because the more impetuous climate change becomes, the less predictable will the progression of the glacier lakes be – not only in the Alps but worldwide.

First Run: