In my experience of walking in the Alps, close encounters with Chamois are not common. I’ve seen them from cable cars in isolated areas well away from paths, I’ve glimpsed them in the middle distance, and occasionally I’ve unintentionally startled one at closer range that has rapidly moved away.
So this encounter two summers ago was really rather exciting. I was descending from the Mischabel Hut above Saas Fee. I was on my own so there was no conversation to create noise. I rounded a corner and there he/she was. Standing on the ridge nearby: alert, curious and very photogenic. This was the first shot I took and this is the full frame uncropped image at 85mm; so you will have some idea of how close I was to the animal.
What a sight. I stood there and waited and watched. Other walkers were descending and I was able to alert them to the animal’s presence. Slowly a hushed group of us formed, shutters clicking as the animal cautiously circled round and across the path above us to settle eventually a few yards away on the other side of the path for a quiet meal.
This is an encounter that lives in my memory as one of those unexpected bonuses that are the icing on the cake towards the end of a great day out on the mountains.
click on the images to view a higher quality enlargement