As the 2012 summer tourist season is coming to an end, the Briksdal Glacier records a new record number of visitors. During the season ending this week, more than 40.000 tourists visited the glacier. The Briksdal Glacier is a part of the main ice massif, Jostedal Glacier, which is the largest glacier on the European mainland.
The Glacier is located in Sogn og Fjordane county in Western Norway. Although the glacier is contracting due to higher temperatures and less snow , it still covers 486 km2. At its thickest point it is now 400 m deep. and its tallest peak stretches to 1950 m above sea level. Jostedalsbreen located in the municipalities of Luster, Sogndal, Jølster, and Stryn.
Jostedalsbreen has a length of a little more than 60 kilometres and covers over half of the national park which was established in 1991 and covers 1,310 square kilometres. The main glacier has around 50 glacier arms, of which some are accessible for tourists. Nigardsbreen and Tunsbergdalsbreen in Jostedal, the Briksdalsbreen near Olden, the Bøyabreen by Fjærland, the Kjenndalsbreen and Tindefjellbreen near Loen, and Austerdalsbreen.
In 2006, the glacier arm Briksdalsbreen lost 50 metres (160 ft) of ice in a few months. More recent measurements now show that Briksdalsbreen retreated 146 metres (479 ft) in 2006, and could be in danger of breaking away from the upper icefield. Ice climbing has now been terminated because of this event.