The only noise is the howling wind.

The Matterhorn above the clouds

Have you ever walked at an altitude of 4,000 meters? According to this Altitude Oxygen Chart, the effective oxygen percentage at the top of Klein Matterhorn (3,883m) where I was a week ago, the oxygen percentage is at an average of 13%. Compare this to Mount Everest (6.8%) and it seems pathetic. Put it into perspective with oxygen levels our systems produce at sea level (21%) and you see a picture forming.

Matterhorn ExpressThis was our first experience of such heights. The highest our feet have taken us is Mount Musala in the Balkans – 2925m. Before you get too excited, no, we did not walk all the way to the top of Klein Matterhorn. We walked an average of 1000m up before taking a cable car, two in fact. And despite my aversion to lazy, cable-car riding tourists, I became one of them.

We are not climbers, we are hikers. And although I have aspired to become a climber one day (yes, my wildest fantasies include conquering Mount Everest), that day was not yet the day. And so, we rode to Klein Matterhorn and gave into the 360° panorama.

This was a memorable moment. A different world. One where the human presence is not always welcome nor safe. Where the word ‘traffic’ has no meaning and the only noise you can hear is the howling wind. Where the air is so pure you feel a little hazy from walking up a few steps.

I wonder if my obsession withicicles Mount Everest is nothing but a pipe dream. There is a graveyard in Zermatt where so many climbers rest, victims of nature’s pull, like a call of the sea but a little higher.

The mountains have taken so many lives. They are a beautiful, treacherous friend who somehow knows how to rid us of our fears and make us carry our concerns on our shoulders, just like a back-pack. They know how precious they are and they use it to their advantage but how can one blame them?

The mountains rule the world. Not the politicians, not the multi-billion dollar oil companies. No, it is the mountains.

14 responses to “The only noise is the howling wind.

  1. That’s high. I live near Whistler Mountain and enjoy hiking in the area. It is only 2,200 meters above sea level. I feel a difference there, and know people that even experience sickness. Good for you. You are tough. Nice pictures by the way :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really? Didn’t think you could get sickness at 2,200. I have to admit the slightest activity was straining up there, I couldn’t believe it!!
      Thanks! I got a new camera especially for the trip – I had to do the Alps justice. :)

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      • I’m curious. What camera did you purchase. I have cameras of all sorts, and since learning how to use the iPhone camera more effectively I have been using it a lot with reasonable results.

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      • I got a Sony Cybershot DSC HX60. It’s compact, has enough manual features for the amateur that I am and a 30x optical zoom. I am very, very happy it!
        I have an iPhone 4S and have been snapping pictures with it but in comparison… in fact, it can’t compare! Then again, my iPhone is old. :D

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have a similar compact. A Limix but with a 10x optical zoom my DashCam. It has a much better lens than the iPhone and is great for prints.

        What I like about the iPhone it is always with me. I miss fewer opportunities for an interesting photo. My SLRs are sitting collecting dust. They are just too big (for me).

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    • You’re so kind :) I love every single one of your comments and want to thank you for your encouragement!
      How beautifully you’ve described the last photo — thank you!

      Like

  2. Pingback: There are places only our feet can conquer. | A Writer's Caravan·

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