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From the way 45-year-old Swiss glaciologist Andreas Linsbauer bounds over icy crevasses, you would never guess he was carrying 10 kilograms of steel equipment needed to chart the decline of Switzerland's glaciers.

Normally, he heads down this path on the massive Morteratsch Glacier in late September, the end of the summer melt season in the Alps. But exceptionally high ice loss this year has brought him to this 15-square-kilometer amphitheater of ice two months early for emergency maintenance work.

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