These spectacular ice caves deep below a Swiss glacier have been mapped, photographed and surveyed for the first time.
A team of eight descended into the moulins – vertical shafts – below the Gorner Glacier near Zermatt in October.
Their work inside the remarkable icy caverns will help researchers get a better understanding of glaciers and their rate of melting.
Photographer Robbie Shone, 32, was part of the team. He said: ‘It was extremely spectacular. This was the first time I'd been in an ice cave and they were absolutely beautiful. They were a really bright blue.
‘Ice caves are more impressive “normal” caves. They offer a completely different challenge. I'm now fascinated by them and would like to visit more.
‘We were the first group to map these moulins and because the glaciers move around
(50ft) a year - they change every year. Because of this we will be the only
people to see them in that state.
The team had to abseil into the moulins because the entrances were often vertical shafts that were up to 65ft deep. Mr Shone said: ‘We were camping for six days and because of the heavy snow we spent two days digging a path down to the glacier.
‘Our camp was about an hour away from the glacier and we got up at 5am to get ready and then spent around eight hours on the glacier. The temperature varied - at night time it dropped down as low as -18 degrees. The trip was a complete success and will help researchers get a better understanding of glaciers' rate of melting.’
The Gorner Glacier is 8.7miles long and is the second largest glacial system in the Alps.
Credits: Mail Oline