Yes, you read that right, there’s a glacier in La Clusaz. More precisely, there was a glacier in La Clusaz. While glaciers such as La Mer de Glace are slowly melting away, the glacier in La Clusaz dried up a very long time ago, but the results look quite recent.
Amongst these trees is a large amount of rock rubble, and there’s even a chapel that’s been built on the rubble. When the glacier originally formed, water trickled in with the rock and froze. As it froze, it expanded, breaking the slab of rock into smaller pieces. When the glacier melted, it left this rubble behind.
Funnily enough the rocks of La Clusaz were originally seabeds, so this rock has seen to all sorts of conditions and animals. You can still see the imprints of sea creatures in the rocks around La Balme and elsewhere in La Clusaz.
When I first moved to La Clusaz, I presumed the rubble was left over from rock blasting for some sort of development work the never went ahead. The history of the glacier only becomes clearer when you walk from behind the public outdoor swimming pool along a mountain trail that leads to the rubble. Information panels are dotted around with easily understandable scientific and historic information, aided by diagrams and pictures.
As well as the old glacier being interesting to read about, the walk itself is enjoyable with its unusual landscape. Kids (including the grown-up ones) can arrange fragments of rocks into shapes to create their own temporary artwork, and the views from the tiny chapel are stunning, overlooking the village of La Clusaz and all its peaks.
Although I did this walk in summer, it’s possible in winter with snow shoes too, and no doubt provides an entirely different perspective of the village. If you happen to come to La Clusaz, I recommend you discover this hidden treasure.