Line of Ascent

Take one look at this long line of roped parties – akin to a traffic snarl-up – to understand why, on easy climbs in the Alps, I far prefer to climb solo.

DSC_2888_NikThere’s nothing intrinsically difficult about this climb provided that you are properly prepared and equipped. In summer there is always a trail to follow but the slopes are steep in places – both the gradient of the route and the angle of the terrain. Slip, and there’s a long way to slide and always the possibility of a yawning crevasse. And then there is the weather – always unpredictable in the mountains – and never under-estimate the altitude. Climbing at close to 4,000 metres (approx 13,000ft) is breathless work and no fun at all if you are not fit.

If you are up to the task, confident of your abilities, and always evaluating the dangers then there is something magical about being high and on one’s own (let’s just forget the others who happen to be around). On my own I am free to set my own pace – no being held back by slower climbers on the rope. I can take my time if I want to. I have the freedom to stop whenever I want. Grab an image or two. Sit awhile and admire the view. I can descend fast if I feel like it, overtaking slower parties. And if I mis-calculate the time and fail to reach my destination or elect to turn around for any reason, then it’s my fault and it’s my day that’s spoilt and no-one else’s.

Today’s image was taken a few years ago on one of my many climbs on the Allalinhorn in the Swiss Alps.  It’s another shot that has been through Nik Silver Efex and has produced a very satisfying final image. It’s a busy route as you can see. The guides make easy money taking novice climbers up this mountain. For more images of this mountain click here.

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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.
This entry was posted in Black & White, Climb and Trek, Swiss Alps - Summer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Line of Ascent

  1. The curves of the snow-covered slopes and the curve of the line of the climbers compliment each other so nicely. Good photo!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Linda – The trail had to circumvent that ugly crevasse, creating a really attractive sinuous line. (I’ve edited as per your request!)

  2. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never climbed a mountain, but everything you say about “traveling solo” resonates. Those advantages apply in a multitude of circumstances — the freedom of solo travel has always outweighed the disadvantages, in my book.

    • LensScaper says:

      Absolutely right Linda. The only sad point about solo travel is that there is no-one there to share the experience when it happens – they aonly get to see it all second-hand.

  3. oneowner says:

    It looks like the breathtaking scenery is worth the trip either solo or in a group.

  4. seekraz says:

    Gorgeous! And I’m with you in spirit as a solo climber…it’s so much better that way.

  5. Chillbrook says:

    Another fabulous photo Andy! I can very much identify with ‘solo’ Part of the reason for my love of Iceland is that I can be truly alone. Something that is very difficult to achieve here now. Out in the wilds, just you, nature, the elements is a great place to be in my book.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Adrian. I thought you would be someone to share that opinion. As I said in reply to another commentor, the only real downside of solo travel is the lack of someone who shares the experience with you first hand

  6. Sue says:

    Love the curves, the light and shadow in this! And ‘solo’ resonates with me, too

  7. An epic scene, beautifully processed. 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      The scene was created for me, all I had to do was press the shutter. But if I had been tied on a rope to other climbers this would not have been possible. Thanks for the comment, Frank

  8. Lignum Draco says:

    Really nice photo. But any novice should be in a group until they feel confident to go it alone.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks, and of course you are absolutely right. Repeatedly, I see people completely inappropriately dressed or equipped or with small children attempting a walk well beyond their capabilities. I’ve turned back quite a few people in my time.

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