Routes that are normally safe this time of year are now dangerous due to the risk of falling rocks being released from the ice, for example. “At the moment there are warnings in the Alps for about a dozen peaks, including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc,” said Pierre Mathey, the head of the Swiss mountain guides association, to the French news agency AFP. “This is happening much earlier in the season than usual. We usually see such closures in August, but now they started at the end of June and continued into July.”

    Alpine guides who normally accompany thousands of hikers to Europe’s highest peak announced earlier this week that the climbs on the most classic routes on Mont Blanc, which stretches across France, Italy and Switzerland, were halted due to the high temperatures. Mountain guides also refrained from touring the classic route to Jungfrau peak in the Swiss Alps. Reportedly, it was the first time in a century that the tours were canceled.

    Buried under ice

    At the beginning of this month, 11 mountaineers were killed after being buried under ice, snow and boulders in the Italian Alps. That happened when part of the glacier on Mount Marmolada broke off. Eight people were also injured.

    The glacier broke after a record temperature of 10 degrees Celsius was measured a day earlier on the Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites. Scientists argue that climate change makes previously stable glaciers more unpredictable.