Sunday, February 4, 2007

It takes more strength to get down safely than to reach the peak - Zugspitze

Zugspitze: 3-4/02/2007
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So, here I go again. I felt it coming, I couldn't sleep the last week, I sensed it in the air and finally, I got on the train and went there. I knew the weather won't be great on Saturday, so leaving from Garmish up the Partnachklamm and Reintal valley, I was not surprised by the fog that surrounded me, entered my thoughts and was assaulting the borders of my soul. How peacefull it was, just walking in the no man's land, with only the fog and the silence as companions(well, almost silence since the whistle in my ears is there to stay). I was blessing the walkers in front of me for the footsteps, as there are no signs to mark the path during winter time. Although one should follow the Reintal valley, the path goes on an upper slope on the right side of the valley, so as to be able to pass safely a gorgeous waterfall. Just as I got near the waterfall, the blanket of fog was raised for a few moments and I felt like an ant, looking at the big walls in front of me. The sky stayed clear for 10 minutes, just enough for me to take in the scenery, and then the fog restarted its incessant atack. I reached the Reintalangerhutte at around 16 o'clock and decided to follow the tracks up the valley, hoping they lead to the Knorhutte where I was keen on going. After half an hour of going up and down the bushes, I realised the people in front of me had no idea where the path was. Luckily, I met the three musketeers who had boldly and kindly opened the way for me up to that point, and they gave me some very useful tips regarding the path (or better said, where it should be). So, I started the quest for the path, very carefully as not to end up hanging on some stones. The fog was not helpful at all, and I was already thinking of going back, but fortunately I followed the footsteps of a black goat which led me exactly to where the path entered the bushes, safely climbing through the stone walls, following a valley. I climbed trying to stay as close to the path as possible, stopping often to catch my breath and the next red point, which was my guide up the valley. My luck the snow wasn't deep and I could advance with an acceptable effort. I knew I had to gain 700meters in altitude, and that in summer it's a 2 hours climb to the hut. However, I had no idea where the hut was, and how steep the climb was. The evening was settling in, and I hoped the fog will give up. There was a not so friendly traverse in front of me, and I could see traces of avalanches, something that did not make me feel comfortable. A narrow valley formed a perfect wind tunnel, which had the advantage of a clear view, because the fog wasn't too dense there. I decided I was only climbing to the top of that valley, and if I didn't see the hut, I'd go back. This negotiation sounded so familiar to me, like another climb in Turkey, but now I was reassured because of the cup of warm tea waiting for me at the Reintalangerhutte in case I didn't make it to the Knorhutte. The dark was conquering the mountain, and, climbing on the slope to the right, I hoped that the fog would finally go to sleep and leave the mountain to itself and my crazy attempt. And for some minutes, the fog went down to the valley, and I was standing there, stricken by the view of the open starly sky and the white peaks coming out of the clouds just to say good night. The photographer in me did not resist the temptation, and there I was, having no idea where I was and where I would sleep, playing with the manual settings of my camera and taking pictures. Well, that's me:) Unfortunately, the fog was in a comeback mood and some snowflakes were helping it; I reached some stones and the path(or whatever it was, I knew I wasn't on the path anylonger) was getting trickier. I was going up and down trying to figure out where the path was, and then I was forced to decide between sleeping outside and going back. I decided to go back, and I did, following my own footsteps, although the path seemed to go on forever. I was tired and fell a few times, but I was not afraid because I knew I made the right choice. Funny, I was trying to perserve the footsteps so that I could climb easier the next day.

I reached the Reintalangerhutte and my gardian angels served me a warm tea and a bed. They said that one truth that should always stay with you, if you want to survive, and that is: It takes more power to get down safely, than it takes to reach the top. We chat a bit, just enough for them to tell me I was a little silly going there on my own, so late and on such a weather. Well, yes. And I was going back the next day.

The morning came, beautiful and so clear as if trying to make up for the bad weather from Saturday. I climbed following my footsteps and wondering what a courage one has when one does not see where one's going. I couldn't explain to myself how I made it the other evening, because there were some passages I would not have passed now, seeing them, if I hadn't had my footsteps from the other day. As expected, I reached the point of my return just to realise it was 15 minutes away from the hut. Still, going back was the best decision. The mountain was still, I could see far away, the sky crystal clear and no wind. I could see the skiers and the Sonnplatz, and I decided I will climb even if that meant I would be forced to take the cable car down. Every step was a struggle, I was tired and climbed slowly. The snow was good, it wasn't very deep, just about 30 cm. From time to time I had to pay attention to the frozen slopes, because I wasn't so hurried as to fly down.

Every step of the way was a small victory, I was wondering why I was doing that. The scenery in front of me gave me all the answers I needed, and I knew it was much more than a climb, it was all about the inner strength inside of you that pushes you forward. Some call it will, I only call it a way of living. My way of living.

I was getting closer to the "civilisation", and already meeting the skiers. Some of them encouraged and congratulated me. "Wie war das?" What could I answer?Difficult, exausting, dangerous, crazy and so, so wonderful.

4 hours. It was hard to believe I actually made it. There were another 400meters to climb to Zugspitze, but I didn't want to risk it. I didn't have the time(in the condition I was, I needed 2 hours) because I had to catch the train back to Stuttgart, and the deeper truth was, I didn't like that place. It was too noisy, there were way too many people and I was starting to feel anxious to get away from it. So, cable car to Zugspitze, a walk on the terasse overlooking the Alps, and again, my luck of not taking my chances up the last 400 meters: the path wasn't visible and the last part had some nasty fixed ropes on it. I did not go on the top though, because I felt I did not deserve it: I will only climb there when I'll climb the whole way up, including the last 400meters.

Ok, it was down to Ehrwald, a nice, pleasant walk to Ehrwald railway station through the woods, whistling happily. That felt extraordinary. I was happy.

E mai greu sa cobori cu bine decat sa atingi varful - Zugspitze

Zugspitze: 3-4/02/2007
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Ce greu vin cuvintele, parca nu e locul lor aici. Pun supa pe foc, dau cu carnea de toti peretii s-o dezghet...parca nu e locul meu aici. Bine, da in foc, mama Doamne, ce ceata! Ce ceata ma-nconjoara, e atat de liniste, merg de vreo 2 ore pe valea Reintal, noroc cu predecesorii mei care au batut poteca, caci nu exista marcaj de iarna. Zapada nu e mare, ma tin de firul vaii si merg, merg fara sa stiu unde si pe unde. Pt un moment muntii isi dau valul la o parte si raman gura casca: ma simt cat o furnica in fata peretilor de stanca printre care merg.

Of, logic, nu am taitei! Nu conteaza, merge si supica cu orez. Evident imprastii boabele pe masa - o ploaie de polistiren. O ploaie de polistiren se scutura din jnepeni, pare-se ca nici cei din fata mea nu stiu drumul spre Knorhutte. Am lasat in urma Reitalangerhutte, si continui sa ma tin de urme, caci n-am nici cea mai vaga idee unde sunt. Se ridica ceata si ma gasesc intr-o caldare, cararea clar nu e aici pt ca in fata mea e perete. Cobor in caldare si ii intalnesc pe cei trei muschetari deschizatori de drum; cararea e prin dreapta, nu trebuie sa urci mai sus de pomul fara frunze si trebuie sa tii stanca in partea stanga. Ok, vom vedea dc reusesc - se pare ca de aici sunt pionier. "There's a fire and a warm tea waiting for you in Reintalangerhutte!" Bine, ma voi intoarce dc ma prinde noaptea.

Ceata revine, si bajbai prin caldare; ma gandesc ca e nebunie ce fac si ar trebui sa ma intorc. Ma tin de urmele unei capre negre si ajung la un punct rosu - marcajul spre Knorhutte. Mi se pare ca soarta imi surade, si pornesc in sus, printre stanci si jnepeni. Zapada e mica(30cm) si inaintez fara graba, incercand sa ma tin de urmele capritei care ma duc pe poteca. Incepe sa se lase seara, poteca pare ca urmeaza o vale adanca si ingusta intre 2 pereti de stanca, ajung la ceea ce pare a fi o traversare neprietenoasa si ma infiorez cand dau cu picioarele de urme de avalansa. Ceata e stapana,imi intra-n ochi, in haine si in suflet, si nu vad la mai mult de 5 metri. Ajung la o palnie si aici vantul imprastie ceata cat sa vad la 50 metri in fata. E un peisaj fantastic, pare ca drumul se inchide si ma astept ca si in spatele meu stancile sa se inchida, si sa raman in inima muntelui. Instinctul ma urca in partea dreapta, o decizie buna caci la 100 de metri dau peste marcaj. Ca pentru a-mi spune noapte buna, varfurile se dezbraca de ceata si am deasupra mea un cer instelat, si sub mine o patura de ceata. Sunt sus, nu cred ca mai e mult pana la Knorhutte, si ma simt in tara minunilor - e atat de frumos incat incerc sa captez momentul pt nepoti:) In timp ce ma joc cu aparatul incercand sa-l fixez, ceata isi reia asaltul si incepe sa fulguie. Din pacate, pierd si poteca si nu pot sa-mi dau seama pe unde ar trebui sa merg, e atat de deasa ceata ca si cu frotala vad doar la jumate de metru in fata. La un moment dat realizez ca sunt undeva deasupra stancilor, nu pot continua asa si decid sa ma intorc.

E noapte de-a binelea, dar fulguie linistit si muntele e calm, ma simt bine, cobor cu atentie urmarindu-mi propriile urme. Nu regret, a fost o decizie buna sa ma intorc, desi asta inseamna ca maine n-o sa am timp sa urc pe varf. Ce lunga-mi pare calea, oare cat o fi ora? Merg fredonand o melodie, mai cad caci sunt obosita, si intr-un final, ajung. Cei trei ma intampina cu bucurie, erau ingrijorati pt ca nu stiau ce e cu mine si mai ales pt ca sus la Knorhutte camera de iarna e greu de gasit si in plus nu are ferestre. Grozav. Mi se spune ca nu am sanse sa ajung pe varf, sunt 3 ore pana la Knorhutte si inca vreo 6 pana sus, dar asta in cazul in care ai rachete de zapada.

Mda, mancarea mea incepe sa ia o forma oarecare(dar exclus cea de supa),si ma delectez cu un ceai fierbinte. Ma delectez cu un ceai fierbinte dar ard de nerabdare sa pornesc la drum: e soare si un cer superb, nici urma de nor. E 8, pornesc si urmele de cu seara ma ajuta sa inaintez lejer. Ajung la urmele de avalansa si ma gandesc, aici intr-adevar e sinucidere curata cand zapada e mare si pusa pe mers la vale. Nu-mi vine sa cred pe unde am trecut: se pare ca atunci cand nu vezi, ai mai mult curaj:) Caprita mea salvatoare apare pe un varf de stanca sa ma salute - ii multumesc si imi iau micul dejun in punctul de unde m-am intors ieri seara. Vad acum foarte clar partiile si chiar si platoul de sub varf, sunt o multime de schiori acolo. Aici sunt numai eu, urc si in 15 minute sunt la Knorhutte. Totusi, sunt sigura ca decizia de a ma intoarce a fost buna.

E atat de frumos, varfuri albe se astern la picioarele mele, si nu-mi vine sa cobor. Asa ca urc. Si urc printre troiene de zapada, stanci, cornise, mai ma opresc sa beau zapada si apoi iarasi urc, ma odihnesc proptindu-ma in bete, si apoi iarasi urc. Nu simt oboseala, nici efort, totul decurge de la sine, e o legatura invizibila intre mine si munte. E locul meu aici.

Hmmm, cred ca a iesit totusi un pilaf cu pui, e bine si asa, ba chiar arata frumos atat de alb. Arata frumos atat de alb si de imaculat, sunt parca la granita dintre 2 lumi. Las in urma lumea tacuta si misterioasa, cu pasiuni nerostite si cu izvorul ei de forta interioara, lumea in care sunt singura calatoare. Ciudat, tot mi-e dor de muntii de acasa. Intalnesc deja cativa schiori ce ma intampina cu incurajari si admiratie. Mai o ora si ajung la civilizatie. Nu ma simt in largul meu aici, mai am vreo 400 de metri de urcat pana pe Zugspitze, ceea ce mi-ar lua vreo 2 ore. Dar vreau sa plec cat mai repede de aici: sunt mult prea multi oameni urcati cu telecabina sa schieze.

Nu urc pe varf, voi urca alta data. Cobor, si aleg sa merg pe jos la gara din Ehrwald, strabatand padurea fluierand. Sunt fericita.