I awoke this morning with the dull ache of foreboding in my stomach, the same one I’d had when I woke up knowing I had a difficult day ahead at school. Apprehension about what promised to be a difficult day’s climb, I suppose. In terms of action, I am something of a coward, what physical courage I possess comes I think from conquering (or more properly ignoring) that fear. Anyway, I was committed now, with even what hopes I may have entertained about our expedition being cancelled due to bad weather being dashed by the sight of a huge golden sun in a blue sky. There was quite a strong wind, it was true, despite the forebodings of a young lady from New Zealand there, a regular big-mouthed prophet of doom, it wasn’t sufficient to dampen our collective ardour – I speak here of the other 3… my own ardour being already quite soggy enough.
So, after breakfast, off we went. In many ways, the first section was the toughest of all, being really very steep, with no breaks, just up, up, up. Val in particular seemed to feel the strain here. At one point, she reduced her pace so much that she was barely moving forward at all. However, she reached the half-way mark, some tarns, in good time. The Swiss couple + their daughter, Breda, were there. I had disliked the little girl at first, as I dislike most young people, almost on principle, but really she was a cheery little thing, with a good deal of bounce + intelligence.
We then pressed on, + shortly thereafter had to decide whether to continue, with the weather turning rather unpleasant. We agreed to push on, but I’m not sure that 20 mins later we shouldn’t have reviewed + changed our decision, as the snow was blowing thick + fast. However, plodding stubbornness took us on to the top of the ridge + mild consternation – we had expected to see the hut we were to stay at, Mueller hut, clearly marked or even visible. It wasn’t there. We thought it was off to our left, but visibility was poor, + all we could see in either direction was a snow-swept moonscape, so Andy trekked briefly off to the right, just to check things out. We sheltered by a rock, rather than blunder on alone + awaited Andy’s return – when it came, we picked our way along the ridge until we were greeted by a welcome sight – the hut.
We arrived at more or less the same time as another guy, so a pot was immediately put on for tea. We needed it too – it really was very cold up there, with no wood stove to warm things up. One more visitor arrived shortly after – Tony, the old man I had taken an instant dislike to (to save time?) We climbed into sleeping bags to try and stay warm, and stayed there, more or less, till the next day. The time passed slowly, us helping it along on its way with cards + reading, dinner, + later, a chess game against Tony. I annoyed myself a by losing a game I should clearly have won. I’m a bad loser at the best of times, even more so when a) I don’t like my opponent + b) I play stupidly. Ah well. And so to bed. Oh, there was also a 7pm radio schedule to keep with park HQ. It quite reminded me of the boat.
First of all, the photo. Clearly already posted in error a day or two back (if I have the time/can be bothered, I’ll go back and delete that one) as this is the climb to Mueller hut referred to in the post. It occurs little enough that the photo and post correspond so exactly, so it would be a shame to miss it.
My usual judgmental self on display (though I still enjoyed reading “to save time?”) No possibility now, of course, to know whethyer my snap impression was justified or not.