The Way Up and Down

Throwing caution to the wind we went as high as possible today (to Mittel Allalin) on the one and only fully dry day so far. Clouds still obscured some of the many summits but it was worth the trip and I said my annual ‘Hello’ to the Allalinhorn – a peak I have climbed eight times by three different routes over many years.

I risk repeating myself here, so for those not familiar with previous posts about this mountain do take a look at ‘The Allalinhorn revisited’ with images of my last climb up it in 2013. And that post also contains a link to a previous ascent in 2012.

I’m not going to bore you with the same old images either. Today I’m showing you just two. Whenever I’m close to a major peak my eye searches for climbers – sometimes I see them, and sometimes I see merely the evidence of their passage.

_DS70137_edited-1The first image is the ‘evidence’. Spot the zigzag route to the col, and note the superficial trickle of loose snow that has recently covered a lower section of the route shown in this image. This route is an early part of the left-hand skyline ridge route up the mountain known as the Hohlaubgrat (and readily visible in images in the previous posts referred to above).

_DS70151_edited-1The second image shows climbers descending the normal route on the right side of the summit. The route now skirts above a very obvious ice wall seen right of centre. The descent route last year traversed below this cliff – a decidedly uncomfortable section of the climb which I photographed last year.  Clearly part of that ice wall has collapsed as seemed inevitable. Snow mountains are never the same from one year to the next.

(In case you’re wondering, the fuzzyness in the top right section of this image is due to low-lying cloud – the clouds were never far away today).

Both images will enlarge for a higher quality picture. Just click on an image.

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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'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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6 Responses to The Way Up and Down

  1. Great images Andy – I bet there were some anxious moments if anyone was on the route on the first image when the slope avalanched!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Paul. Rain down here in the village of course means snow up high. Thankfully this avalanche looks as if it was not too deep. I’ve been having a close look at the images again and I can just trace the old line of the route through the avalanche zone. I will do a further post on this in the next day or two as time permits. Off to Zermatt tomorrow.

  2. shoreacres says:

    Well, I’m glad you got out and about – fantastic photos. Here’s a question for you. Beach bums and sailors have their Jimmy Buffett. Is there a mountain-climbers’ Jimmy Buffett — someone who captures the lifestyle? Or maybe mountain climbing’s more work, and there’s less sitting around in chalets and such!

    • LensScaper says:

      The world of climbing is full of real characters throughout the decades. Some for their climbing abilities alone. Some for their ‘lifestyle’ which often included prodigious drinking abilities, as much as their climbing skills. It would be invidious to single out any one person. But I could easily compile a list! This was a great day out. Hopefuly the weather may be turning for the better – we can only hope.

  3. Len says:

    Love the people in the images Andy. They give terrific scale to the mountains. I know that the weather has not been good for you but even if it was not photographic friendly, there is probably nowhere else you would want to be.

    • LensScaper says:

      It can get a touch frustrating having poor weather day after day, but at least I have seen it all before. I really feel more sorry for those who are out here for the one and only time in their lives and just never get to see the full potential of this magical area of the Alps. You are absolutely right about people in mountain images – they supply the context and the scale every time. Thanks for commenting, Len.

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