Kilian Volken, mountain guide of the Aletsch Mountain Centre and ski instructor in the World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch: 

What is your role in this UNESCO World Heritage Site?
As a mountain guide and ski instructor, I have the privilege of being on the road all year round in the World Heritage region. Especially during the summer months, I have the opportunity to take many guests to the Aletsch Glacier and introduce them to this natural wonder.

What is your relationship with the site?
I inherited the passion for mountaineering from my father and grandfather. That's how I first walked on the Aletsch Glacier over 60 years ago. In the past, I was mainly on the 4000 m peaks of the Alps. Then the high mountains of the Himalayas bewitched me (Editor's note: Kilian Volken has made eight expeditions over 8000 meters, four of them to the summit, including Mount Everest). Today I have to say that of all the places I've seen, the Aletsch Glacier is my absolute favorite.

What's your favorite place? Can you tell us some secrets?
My favorite place is the Aletsch Glacier from Konkordiaplatz down to the end of the glacier. It is the largest glacier in the Alps with its 23 kilometers long and an incredible 11 billion tons of ice. Only a guided tour allows you to get this close to the white giant.

When is the best time for a visit and why?
Late winter is particularly suitable for ski tours. But I personally find the glacier much more dynamic and impressive during the summer months, when the white of the glacier stands out against the colours of the surrounding landscape. The end of June until mid-October is the ideal time for a tour on the glacier.

What activities do you recommend in particular?
I always say that the Alps are the biggest playground for people. In the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, UNESCO World Heritage, there are therefore many peaks of three and four thousand metres - both for beginners and experienced mountaineers. Even glacier tours lasting several days, such as those from the Grimsel Pass to the Lötschental, are of unique beauty.

April 2020 (translated from German)

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