Altitude is a small problem. It takes 30-40mins to find your rhythm; breathing, walking, clambering etc… it’s hard. But when we make to the ice, things are easier. Well, I say easier. What I mean is, ‘less hard’
On thing is for certain, the view is stunning…
The big part of this challenge is being lowered down into a crevasse. Turns out the lowering part is the easy bit.
You can hear the glacier crack and move under your feet, the ground itself isn’t moving but the concerned looks on the faces of our Italian guides gives them away, it’s time to move. By the time we’re on our way back to camp, the clouds have moved in and finding the journey becomes just that little bit more precarious.
Hold hands lads, we don’t want to lose anyone out here…
Food poisoning. All of us. Wiped out for 24hrs. Eugh.
Today we were supposed to walk up to the next camp. A three hour hike taking in ice climbing, hills, glacier walking… none of this happened. Instead our keeper in Italy, Dee, organised a helicopter to fly us up at lunchtime. Reluctantly and somewhat lethargically we packed our things and made our way to the heli-pad.
All of us, in bits.
The flight itself was fantastic. There’s another photographer on this excursion, Alex, and he and I keep getting bundled together. In the ‘Helipos’ it was the same. The good part being our pilot gave us the full tour ’round and over Mont Blanc.
We arrive, walk to the lodge and collapse. All but two of us crashing out like we’ve never slept. Sam, who was especially ill the night before, sleeps through from 2pm to 6am the following day. He needed it. The rest of us? We made it to about 7pm before we began to stir. Downstairs we tried to eat. Telling jokes, trying to will ourselves better. There are others here, they’ve been out climbing. Lucky beggars.
Later, the energy levels are up. Not refilled totally but we are on the mend, at last. We spend the rest of the evening playing poker by candlelight.
I’ve not had time to do any writing as yet. We’re here, on the border of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, looking up at Mont Blanc after a really, really intense couple of days. Yesterday, after flying in the 1hr 15mins from London, we were picked up from Geneva and drove through to Italy. I had no idea it was so close.
We walked for hours and climbed for a while too. Aside from a couple of smashed phones (my own N86 and an iPhone belonging to one of the winners), it was a good day. Intense, but good.
But that was just day one. Today, August 31st, has been one of the scariest days of my life. Being up there, in the mountains, some 3300m above sea level, with nothing but a single rope, a guide and your friends to keep you alive. It’s pretty hairy.
There was a bit, just after that I decided to cut. We stood there and just cried. Cried and cried and cried. The emotional intensity of it all. Completely overwhelming.
“As your bungee footage went down so well with the facebook fans, can you take your mobile with you when you descend into the large crevasse? It’s a pretty unique experience and it should make some good footage…”
What bungee footage? This bungee footage:
Hand held and shot entirely with my beloved N86, the video came out perfectly.