Shoulders hunched, I’m doing everything possible to hide my entire body underneath my helmet. It feels like the entire mountain is cascading down onto me. Icicles and snowballs banging on my helmet, my mind keeps shouting AVALANCHE.Neil’s take on it later was that the party climbing above had knocked down a tiny bit of snow.
I struggled on up the gulley. Every time I tried to plant my axe it would either slide disquietingly through the powder (gruelling images of axe lodged in my own chest) or else would dislodge a large slab of ice. Every so often, I’d manage to crush my already aching numb hands in between the ice and the axe, while I hammered away pointlessly and angrily.
Neil says I was fast up the more technical bits of the climb but that’s probably only relative to the eons it took me to plough up the steep snow. At least those bits felt like actual climbing, rather than wading through precarious sugar, and they even had some proper ice on them. The rest was just a bit unnerving. My thoughts were racing:
if this is what Neil thinks is an easy climb, in nice weather, what’s it normally like, and how is he still alive?I hope no one is below to get hit by that sharp icicle I’ve just broken off
Since when was going a nice bike ride not a viable option for a day’s holidayAre we there yet?
Finally, we reached the top. And it was beautiful. Was it more beautiful because I’d struggled up a climb and gone through ten degrees of pain and hot aches? Possibly.Would I go winter climbing again? Hmmm…