I will make it easy today. In the land where I was born, protected by many mountain ranges filled with “horny” Iberian Ibex goats, we take the example of this animal to reflect the fact that the roots of our behaviour are very well settled making it normal to continue with them. Therefore “the goat always climbs up the mountain”. I took it literally this morning. After my last visit to the Matterhorn in 2010, I enjoyed again the safe sensation of wearing my crampons. Having under each of your boots twelve metal teeth gives you immediately the certainty of the grip, of the hold, and suddenly the steepest slope diminishes its inclination in a proportion of degrees directly related to the sharpness of those teeth. Almost 9 not dealing with the mix of snow, ice and rocks has been the second biggest challenge this morning. The need of this kind of activity for so long repressed, pushed me out of bed this morning avoiding me thinking about the thickness of the snow layers accumulated for a couple of months. We measured yesterday and average of 6cm per hour.
Snow was light and cold. Could it be other way? Yes, of course, there are many shorts of snow, I have seen here at least half of them, but it won’t be dark and warm. That is something else. The pathway was not obvious at all. It starts very close to the sea and quickly gain vertically. Despite of the dense forest there’s no difference of snow deepness with the more open sections. Only when lights from Neverdal get smaller you notice that the limit of the coldest area in your body has move from your toes to your hands (including the wrists) and your bely. Cold wet gloves won’t bring you far even when using the shortest line between to points. Inclination of that straight to the top path implies that every step forced my knees to move submerged in the snow keeping the ice axe in front hold with both hands. Replacing the axe and 2 short steps with each leg. Not a single animal dares to come make fun of this stupid human in his useless workout on Sunday morning. Happily temperature is in balance with the effort and only my R1 Patagonia, green pistachio, keeps the falling flakes away from cooling me down too much. The summit is on sight but the effort of opening the track and the lack of feeling of muy right hand make me think about turn back. There is a kind of pleasure in deciding to do so. It is you beating the other you who is blindly decided to continue no matter the circumstances. I continue. There’s no blindly wish to reach that summit. And I have another pair of gloves, 2 bananas, estonian black chocolate and a cocoa taste Bounty bar. And 2 more jackets in the backpack. The crampons looses their sharpness as they scratch the hidden rocks close to the top. Is the moment for the picture. The view is astonishing. The trench I just dug fade with a dense black snow cloud. Time to go down. Following my previous steps is not complicated. Hands are now warmer and legs too. No place for relaxation in any case. Soft snow and unknown rocky ground are perfect scenario for a broken leg… or for two. Not this time. Only tired and happy.
Has been the first hikking of the year. Short in distance and time but physically demanding. I share it with you in a written version knowing that there’s something you appreciate on it. And from this year on you will have the opportunity to not only read it. I discovered last spring that sharing my knowledge about walking on the nature with other people, helping them to enjoy the freedom of walking knowing that there is no need to come back, makes me happy. I created a route of 200km to be done in 8 days in the mountains between Madrid and Portugal, demanding and enjoyable, where walkers don’t need to carry their own staff with them and food supplies and accommodation are arranged so they focus on the walking. I am very much looking forward to have you there. Meanwhile I will sleep well tonight as tomorrow a new wooden project will require my services. Sleep well.