December 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
They are halfway up.
The walk over had been more of a fight than a stroll, skittering on verglassed rocks with the wind pushing at them as it scoured all life off the plateau. They’d geared up at the col and traversed in to the base of the route through knee-deep snow, borrowing footsteps from yesterday’s climbers as she plunged her axe in to steady herself and tried to reposition her fear as excitement.
Now, just under two hours later, what she is standing on is two feet of solid snow, with hard-frozen earth underneath – it’s not been exposed to air in months now, and the snow is packed down hard enough for her to have to kick in with her crampons to gain purchase on the slope.
She is thinking about how, come summer time, this will be heather-covered crag and hillside once again, and the snow that she is standing on will have evaporated so that this will be thin air, hovering a good step above the ground.
And so the transience of all things illustrates itself, in the form of two people moving upwards on a winter-clad hill and leaving no trace save for buckets and hook-holes that will vanish with tomorrow’s forecast snow.