Monday, August 10, 2009

visit to the queen's hut

Monte Rosa - 6-7/08/2009
A very important asset of a human is the imagination of the inhabitants of his/her brain: be them flocks of birds or bearded dwarves. It is on the creativity of these little fellows that the whole difference between living and just being alive relies. One should therefore treat one's dwarves with all due respect, for it is in their power alone to make your life filled with moments worth living. As a token of my appreciation of the many special anti-boring adrenaline bursting moments my very own dwarves embroider for me, and to prevent their emigration, I'm spoiling them with at least one weekly out-going. it was in one of these family walks on nature paths (maybe piz di stria or piz teri) that I've first got a glimpse of a thought - of the thought - through the mist lowering down on the white, not so distant, peaks. What about visiting the queen's hut (Margherita hut) on a full-moon night?
It's usually those thoughts that you barely dare to whisper to your mind that are most appealing. So the very next day I went on a night trek to see the sunrise on Adula (which this time I've actually seen, differently from last winter when I arrived on the peak 10 minutes later), and have a private discussion with my dwarves on the thought.
Maybe it was the glory of the night's silence combined with the burst of the first sun rays into a moment of eternity that so rarely lets itself perceived by humans that encouraged me, or maybe it was the story of the pizza (margherita) I've happened to read just before the full moon night, point is that I found myself on the train to Staffal. Admittedly, all the 8 long hours of travel by train and bus I was reassuring myself (and the little inhabitants of my brain) that I'll go back if it's too cold, I'll stop at Gnifetti hut if it's too hard, etc.
The evening was incredibly calm and friendly, no wind, and so warm that I could climb only with the t-shirt and shorts on, always staring at the beautiful Liskamm traverse. I reached the intersection with the path to cita di mantova hut just in time to see the moon rise, yawn and get into the clouds. Luckily, it was a full moon, unluckily, the clouds were thick. However, probably out of curiosity for the strange hunchbacked shadow climbing hopefully in direction of the hut, the moon soon left the clouds behind on the italian side and guided my steps on the right track to the hut. After putting on all clothes in my rucksack, I climbed to the Gnifetti hut that was sound asleep. the crowd of ice-axes and boots that welcomed me on entering the hut made me wisely decide not to disturb the sleeping climbers which might have jeopardized my popularity. There were two ways: I could continued to climb and risk the raising clouds, or I could wait for the morning on a chair in the boots room. My patience (maybe encouraged also by the smell?) soon decided the only way was up. So up I went, to my delight on a very well beaten track on the glacier and with the moon still tuned on the "lunatic and monte rosa" show. Unfortunately just before col de lys the wind started blowing and it was getting really cold. Plus I was getting really sleepy, and sleeping on the glacier is not one of my strong points. I remembered there's a refuge on Corno Negro which I reached in half an hour climbing on the fixed rope all the way to Jesus. Jesus' statue , that is, the very one that looks over the refuge where I entered at 3.30 o' clock in the morning decided to get 2 good hours of sleep. Because of the crowd I could only sleep 1 hour, but it was a heaven's gift. With the sunrise slowly taming the glacier, the wind and the temperature, my sleepiness was all gone, up to Margherita hut, me joining. The silence of the ice combined with the shyness of the morning light gently awakening the mountain touched my soul forever. Even my dwarves shut up in ecstasy and awe.
The queen's hut offers a royal view; the people there though are just sick of too many tourists. My eyes were blind to the crowd following me, I saw only clouds, snow, ice and rocks. All good moments last just for moments, so I've started my descedn to Zermatt. Had it not been for the highway down the glacier to Monte-Rosa hut, I would have probably avoided getting down on the very-full of crevasses Grenzglacier. I was wondering why I was the only one going down at that hour (9 am)? A late hour it seems, since the answer became more and more obvious while descending to the huge seracs. After about half an hour the answer was more obvious than I wished for, since I was reaching the first area of crevasses. The ice sculpture fascinates me, so I was admiring from above the mysterious depths of the iced world. Above was the right place to be admiring from, and I had no wish to get below for the details.
Had I even suspected that I would go down to Monte-Rosa hut, I would have probably known that to get down to Zermatt from Monte Rosa hut you have to climb to 2800m first, and it does take around 4-5 hours. My feet were crying, luckily my eyes were keeping my brain busy with wonderful panoramas of Monte Rosa and the most famous touristic stone - Matterhorn. And a new research challenge for my dwarves: 2 beautiful peak traverses to be enjoyed someday.

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