Stuck up a Mountain

The promise was for better weather today. It never happened. Instead we found ourselves, for nearly two hours, effectively marooned by a lift failure.

There was blue sky, in patches, mid-morning. So we got organized, got out the door, and up the lift to Spielboden. The weather was already showing signs of greying-out. Thinking that we would give the weather the benefit of the doubt to sort itself out, with blind faith in the forecast that promised an improving picture, we stopped off for a coffee. Things were not looking good, but having come so far we elected to pick up the second inter-connecting lift up to Langfluh for a close-up view of the terminal sector of the Fee glacier. There were few people up there. The cloud base was dropping and we stayed no more than five minutes, the place was almost deserted. The glacier up there is not necessarily a pretty sight – the bare ice is a tired grey, although sunlight would pick out some wonderful pale shades of blue and green in the crevasses. The residual surface-lying snow is whitish, tinged yellow, probably by wind-borne Saharan sand. I grabbed a couple of shots – can you see a seagull diving left centre?

_DS70007_edited-1We headed back down to Spielboden to pick up the second lift back down. There was a problem. The small four-person gondolas were being withdrawn and parked. No-one was heading down. Lift attendants out here are not multi-lingual and I don’t speak German. A collective effort with other perplexed tourists established that there was a problem with the lift, which would be shut down for a period of time – but in the meantime, gondolas were left in mid-transit which meant that there were people swaying in clear air for over thirty minutes with no communication – I’m glad it didn’t include us. Progressively the remaining marooned gondolas reached the top station and the line was completely cleared. Meanwhile all of us who were ‘marooned’ monopolized what is actually a rather smart restaurant, lingering over beers, wines and coffees awaiting events.

To walk down would take ninety minutes and by now it was raining and we were in the clouds. And there was no news of how long we would remain up there. Either we waited or we walked down – but rather stupidly, trusting the forecast, we were not carrying full waterproofs. And there were small children and elderly people to be considered. Worst case scenario? Helicopter rescue. Hmm. We waited and waited.

_DS70012_edited-1The cogs on the wire rotated and stopped, rotated and stopped. And then finally came word – five minutes and the lift would be back in action.

_DS70017_edited-1We reached terra firma. Apology? None. Explanation? None. Compensation? None. It was still raining in the valley. Is it too much to ask for a blue-sky day?


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
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12 Responses to Stuck up a Mountain

  1. oneowner says:

    At least you made the best of a bad situation. And you got some very nice photos.


  2. I agree with Ken. Your story shows how frustrated you were, but your photographs show that your eye was as good as ever. Nice shots.


  3. poppytump says:

    Your pictures do tell the story well Andy .
    As to swinging in a lift for thirty minutes … an experience which is bound to be the talk of the holiday when they return home !


    • LensScaper says:

      We once got stranded on a chair lift during a lift’s ‘lunch break’ – a dozy attendant shut it down before checking all the chairs had reached the destination. We hung around for about 20mins before a person on the ground spotted us and alerted the lift staff and we were ‘moved’.


  4. The lift failure doesn’t sound like much fun, after a few shots it’s time to move on. But you made the best of things, Andy. Hopefully, a blue sky day is on the horizon. Safe travels, man.


  5. shoreacres says:

    I got stuck on top of a double ferris wheel at the Iowa State Fair for about a half hour. It seemed like forever. I’m glad you were on land and could find some refreshment while you waited. I looked and looked, but couldn’t find the diving seagull. I did find what looks to be a bird sitting at the top of the farthest left snow pack, but that could be pure imagination.


    • LensScaper says:

      We all see different things in our imagination when we look at abstracts. It’s the same sometimes with clouds. Stuck on top of a ferris wheel is not somewhere I would want to be parked for half an hour!


  6. Len says:

    Talk about a bad day! The photography Gods will hopefully bring blue skies soon.


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