still don’t know where that is…
ahh, okay! i know where that is!
for you, the french always have to list the nearest big city, or otherwise you’re lost.
what, exactly, possessed you to sign up for an ice climbing trip…?
there’s only one response. the one response all french people give: pourquoi pas? why not?
but you’ve also got some other motivations.
un. snow-capped mountains do not exist in texas.
deux. if you don’t do it now, you are not sure of your next opportunity to do this. you might be 85 the next time you’re near the alps. 24 and not-super-fit is better than 85 and frail, you tell yourself.
trois. the most important. three girls. three girls who climbed in evreux last year. three girls who tried to get you to climb as well, but you adamantly refused each time. and then, in the summer, when separated and alone in texas, you decided to take up climbing to feel closer to them.
and it turns out… you liked climbing!
they inspire you. and you can’t wait until the day you get to climb together, all four, whether it’s in canada, in france, in texas, or in england.
hiking uphill in snow was another beast you just conquered.
and now, you’re about to climb a frozen waterfall?
don’t forget – you’re from texas – and more specifically a grand prairie.
even your friend questions you. “cathy, when you were growing up, did you not have any hills or anything that you ran up and down…?”
your answer is no. of course not. not in the plains!
you change into your crampons. cleats. spiked shoes. crunch crunch crunch.
up is the only direction.
but you have to trust the people and the materials around you.
that is the key for ice climbing. trust.
one down, two to go.
you’re still terrified.
of heights. of slipping. of falling. of tumbling. of dropping 40 euro ice screws. of breaking bones. of dying. of cracking open your head. of being eaten alive by bears. of freezing to death. of avalanches. of being hit on the head with ice chunks. of cracking a hole in the ice and taking a cold shower. of sliding down. etc.
but just less terrified than the day before.
and you are morte again, so it’s straight to bed.
the terror you felt yesterday and the day before is still there. but most definitely much smaller.
and the camera is left behind. because you are here to climb. not to make photos.
but just imagine a grand paradise. massiccio del gran paradiso. le massif du grand paradis.
imagine nature untouched. some of the most beautiful paysages you’ve seen. blankets of white. pale blues. ponds. waterfalls. icicles.
sometimes the most marvelous things can be captured only one way: by memory.