The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers


As world temperatures soar, public outcry has focused on the threat to polar ice sheets and sea ice. Yet there is another impact of global warming—one much closer to home—that spells trouble for Americans: the extinction of alpine glaciers in the Rocky Mountains. The epicenter of the crisis is Glacier National Park, Montana, whose peaks once held one-hundred-and-fifty glaciers. Only twenty-five survive. The Park provides a window into the future of climate impacts for mountain ranges around the globe.

Alpine glaciers have already begun to disappear worldwide: The Alps, Andes, Cascades, Rockies, and Himalayas are suffering staggering losses. Glaciers provide more than fifty percent of our freshwater needs worldwide—for drinking, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. What’s more, alpine ice feeds innumerable watersheds that harbor ecosystems crucial to fish and wildlife. Nowhere is this truer than in the mountains of Montana.

Christopher White tracks two ecologists, Dan Fagre and Clint Muhlfeld, and their USGS team into the high peaks as they take the pulse of Montana’s glaciers and the watersheds below. The verdict: The remaining ice may vanish in less than a decade. Already, impacts are startling and widespread, from runaway forest fires, declining trout streams, and endangered lynx to shifting treelines and dwindling water reserves.

The journey across the glaciers is part adventure story, part environmental saga. Can we save alpine glaciers at home and afar? By exploring the glaciers and their watersheds through the lens of ecology, Fagre and Mulfeld offer remedies and call on each of us to fight for the world’s remaining ice.

Read an excerpt from The Melting World

For media inquiries about Christopher White and The Melting World,
contact Jessica Preeg, St. Martin’s Press (MacMillan), (646) 307-5568. Email Jessica

More information about The Melting World available at St. Martins’ Press


“An act of witness to a disappearing world, and an implicit call to action to save what we can, this book is a great gift to us all!” – Bill McKibben, author Oil and Honey: The Making of an Unlikely Activist

“Come walk the ice at the top of the continent with Christopher White, before it’s all gone. He’s the best kind of company on the trail and will guide you to breathtaking terrain, fascinating ecologies, and a glimpse of the future that demands your urgent attention.” -William deBuys, author of A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest

“The Melting World is both a hymn of praise and a requiem for the passing beauty of alpine snowfields. In the tradition of John McPhee and Norman Maclean, Christopher White chronicles the men and women racing against climate change to understand the mysteries of the frozen world, even as it inexorably disappears from view. Rich in vivid detail and lovely prose, White’s gorgeous and heartbreaking book will appeal to adventurers and scientists and anyone else who cares for our beloved planet.” – McKay Jenkins, author of The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone

“The Melting World is a beautifully and intelligently written story of the slow demise of just a fraction of the Earth’s glaciers in Glacier National Park Montana. The impacts of their disappearance may only eventually be felt by a few, but globally, the loss of glaciers and the rivers that are born from them will be felt by millions who rely on the water, for survival and irrigation. This book is a reminder that we need to make changes in how we treat our planet, before it’s too late.” – Ed Viesturs, high-altitude mountaineer and author of The Mountain: My Time on Everest, The Will to Climb, and No Shortcuts to the Top

“There’s a sad and frightening irony in Glacier National Park’s rapid path to losing its eponymous ice. Chris White explores this changing world with eloquence and remarkable depth, so that we’re moved by his love and our loss.” – John Harlin, former editor of The American Alpine Journal and Backpacker Magazine; author of The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain That Killed My Father