The climate crisis in the mountains is so crazy

DThe weatherproof inhabitants of the mountains are often said to have special kindness and tolerance. The roughness of nature has a beneficial effect on the mind. Anyone who approaches the high alpine regions by walking or climbing can easily understand this. The great battlefields of history are almost all on this side of the tree line, which is why the high-lying refuges, despite their ruggedness, have long since deserved adequate sovereign status, for example as peace sphere reserves. However, it can now be stated that this charitable wealth is apparently increasingly at risk. Climate change, who else, not only changes the alpine habitats, but also those who strive to live in them.

The peaceful marmots of the Alps, for example, are already reacting sensitively to the two degrees more on average and are looking for salvation at higher altitudes. However, up there the humus layer is thin and no longer sufficient to dig deep enough caves for safe hibernation. The same applies, as documented by studies in “Biological Reviews”, for example, for umpteen other creatures, from the caddis fly larva to the wader mosquito larva, which can no longer find mountain springs.

dwindling glacier therefore even have a personality-changing or warmongering effect. This can be deduced indirectly and with all due caution from observations made by US researchers in the Rocky Mountains. The shy mountain goats and bighorn sheep, two climbing specialists with a rather gentle disposition outside of the mating season, have instigated a war on the thousand-kilometer ridge from Colorado to Alberta for the valuable minerals that the climate-related retreat of the glaciers makes accessible.

According to the Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the mountain goat, which has saber-like horns, triumphs over the blunt, mouflon-like horned bighorn sheep in 98 percent of the cases. There is still no talk of the genocide of the sheep. Climbers and hikers are also spared for the time being. But the incident a year ago, when the body of a female grizzly bear was discovered in the Rocky Mountains, whose body had been pierced by a mountain goat, is foreboding. Climate change is really freaky, even up there.

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