Climbing is not a sport, it is a vocation. It is one that has passed me by, not so much by choice than through circumstance. I was brought up close to climbing country – the Lake District – but parental rules meant I never made the most of that.
I have climbed one 4,000 metre peak though: the Monch. It sits next to the Eiger. The Monch is a slightly taller hill, even though it doesn’t look anywhere near as high. It is less menacing altogether.
The Alpine Club – the world’s first mountaineering club – takes the view that the most straightforward route to the top is pretty much a walk in the park. I took that route, following an excellent local guide who spends his summers climbing in Grindelwald and his winters skiing in Deer Valley, Utah. (Tough work, but somebody has to do it.) All I can say is that perspective is everything and for the novice, it seemed difficult enough.
Specifically, you wouldn’t want to fall off the summit ridge. At the top, the whole of the European Alps were spread out before us on the most glorious of August days. It was magnificent, but not something for every day of the week perhaps.
This morning was warm and cloudy, the snow slightly stodgy. In the afternoon, the sun turned up for a while and all in all it was a good day which brought 10,699 vertical metres in 23 lift rides.