Friday, January 22, 2010

Why I have to go to the mountains – an attempted explanation or better a declaration of love!

By: schmid_th
I can´t live without the mountains and when I´m not next to them I get an unbelievable aspiration…
So consecutively I tried to find the reasons for this…
This is a little funny attempted explanation or maybe better a declaration of love and I guess that you also feel similar to me…
I´m sure that after reading this article you will have that magic smile on your face and the feeling that you must soon get back to the mountains – independent of all concomitants!

As ordinary mortal employee I just have 6 weeks of holidays per year so I have to allay my longing for the mountains during holidays and several weekends.
When I want to go climbing at a weekend I have 2 possibilities:
Either sitting in the car at Friday evening after work and with full speed into traffic jam at the Autobahn A8 so that I arrive in the mountains late at night, nerved and tired or starting at early Saturday morning 4 o´ clock, sleep-deprived and tired but with bright eyes and full speed directly to the Alps.

But it doesn´t matter – the reunion with the mountains compensates the efforts!

Who can understand this – standing up at a time when you never would get up voluntarily for your job!
I ate some morsels apatheticly as my stomach normally sleeps at that early time. Even a strong coffee doesn´t get me awake completely. Outside it is cold and dark and when I get out I put my headlamp on and ask me why I can´t sleep late like most of the normal men, taking some buns at the bakery and enjoy a coffee in a summer dress about 1.000 m below.

So I start walking, freezing despite of my Gore-Tex jacket, monotone, step by step. The backpack is heavy, when I don´t use it for a few days I am unaccustomated to it immediately. But it looks really silly to carry it in the office! I don´t want to explain it to my boss then…

I put my crampons on and swear as the crampons are so cold for my fingers… But soon the sky turns from black into pink, enough light for switching the headlamp off. I can see the contours of the mountains, sharp ridges and needles. My heart palpitates – caused by effort or caused by the wonderful morning impression?
I feel how energy flows into my body. How things can change within minutes!
Then the sun looks shyly over the far distant mountains. Now it is time for a short break for taking some photos. I enjoy the silence, a gently sough of the wind, the panorama and the warming power of the sun.

Now I can see my object of today, the summit is just shining in the brightness of the sun – a virgin white in a wonderful light! The longing to be there soon pushes me on.
So I take a drink of my hot tea and eat a little bit and then I go on with the feeling that my backpack is much lighter now.
Now I leave the glacier and reach the rocks, ascending step by step. The sun is shining and the glacier deep below reflects the sunlight. Perspiration is running over my face. A great mixture of perspiration and suncream reaches my eyes – wonderful! Then I put my handshoes of to have a better contact of the rocks but soon snowmelt runs into my sleeves – shit! Why am I doing this?!?

But then only a few more steps and then the rocks gets flat, I can see the summit cross, my heart beats faster! I walk faster now and then I stand at the summit!
Panoramic sight in all directions, deep views to the valleys, a great satisfaction about the managed efforts and a great happiness to stand on the top! To be unique with the nature, feeling inner peace – and no questions about why I made all those efforts.
I make some photos to hold on this memories, then I only sit there on the summit and enjoy the moment and absorb the impressions.
Then I drink some tea again, eat a little bit and then I start my descent.

Climbing down concentrately, strenuously step by step, then continuing at steep firn fields. It is quite far till the hut and me knees hurt. My tea in my backpack gets empty and there is this question again: “Why am I doing this?”
I am walking monotonously above firn and boulders and even if I can see the hut it doesn´t come nearer to me. But despite of this feeling the smoking chimney of the hut revives me.

At any time I reach the hut. Pulling my shoes off, I go inside the hut into a smelly cocktail of food, mountaineers socks and body odour. Ufff! But then I order a drink and it always tastes like the best drink in my life! Live is back in my veins!
The hut is completely full. Crimped at the corner seat I soon come into conversation with other mountaineers. We are talking about mountains, routes, conditions and we don´t find an end. Those topics are insatiable!
Then we are stopped by the hot and reeky lunch: Goulash with noodles! WOW! Everybody shoves it into his hungry mouth. And it is really a wonderful feeling when you are hungry, had a hard and challenging day and then you get something warm and well-cooked to eat.
While some people are refilling their dishes others leave the room and go to their sleeping places.

When I go to my sleeping place later with the light of my headlamp I start swearing. 10 sleeping places, 12 persons inside, 30 cm place for me, bad air and at least 4 persons are snoring. I start thinking of my home. A bed 1m wide, no snoring, fresh air and I ask me again “Why?”

From both sides a snoring man blows his consumed air into my face and falling asleep is so difficult. And when I started sleeping relatively well I already hear the wake-up call. It is like a fire was breaking off - hecticness starts, somebody stands at my backpack. During dressing myself I feel the elbow of somebody in my back. Oh, wouldn´t it be nice in my sleeping room at home…

Even if it is the second early breakfast in succession my stomach isn´t get used at this time – too early! I eat a little white bread with marmalade and drink a cup of tea. Then I leave the room and want to pull my shoes on. P A N I C ! ! ! Somebody seems to mistake his for my shoes! I don´t know how long I was cursing but then somebody brings my shoes back, he voices words like “interchanged” and “sorry” under his breath, takes his shoes and leaves.
I am totally relieved that I can continue climbing with my shoes which fit perfectly.
I can see all the lights of the headlamps and I see that they run into several directions. This means a little bit more silence again and less traffic. Thanks God!
Then the same procedure: Silence, coldness, some pains, the question “Why”, enjoying the sunrise, the warming sun, summit happiness, a never ending descend to the valley, hurting legs and finally I breathe a sigh of relief when I reach my car again. Then the happiness about the completed efforts, the impressions and the summit fulfils me! During driving home I can´t stop thinking of those magic moments I had during those two days. The little traffic jam doesn´t matter, it gives me even more time so dream of those wonderful impressions at the mountains. And it gives me time to think about the next climbing possibility…
Nevertheless I long for my bed at home. The hot shower is wonderful and brings back live into my body. And after eating a really big mountain of noodles I feel wonderful!
In bed I think back again… The sunrises, such a peace, such a happiness… Was there anything else? Well, I can´t remember any more!!! You know – Love is blind!!!

Mountains – you make me happy, you give me inner peace, to be agree with you is an unbelievable satisfaction. I don´t ask any more for the concomitants. And then I sleep with a very big smile in my face!

Mountains – I come back to you because already at this evening it is back: the desire to see you and to be with you! And I promise we will meet soon again!

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