Saturday, 31 January 2015

Entries for the Austrian Alpine Club (UK) photo competition

I've uploaded all my "maybe"s to 2014-Stubai-Maybe on flickr; the full set is 2014-Stubai and has nearly 700 pix. There are only 19 "maybe"s. There's also the blog-diary of the trip.

I'll list them all here, in order to decide which to actually submit.

1. Innsbrucker Hutte, from early on the Habicht, with the Kalkwand behind.

2. Cloud creeping over the Innsbrucker hutte and cloud sea beyond.

3. Green and White: east from the Nurnburger to the Inn. Wetterspitze.

4. [Chosen] From the Wilder Freiger: Becherhaus with Botzer in the background.

5. Lake below Seescharte, above Sulzenau hutte.

6. Same lake, distant views of Wilder Freiger

7. Path up to Sulzenau hutte.

8. [Chosen] Looking back on the Blaue Lacke above the Sulzenau hutte (1 of 4).

9. Looking back on the Blaue Lacke above the Sulzenau hutte (2 of 4).

10. [Chosen] Looking back on the Blaue Lacke above the Sulzenau hutte (3 of 4).

11. Looking back above the Sulzenau hutte (4 of 4).

12. [Chosen] The retreating Sulzenauferner.

13. Miriam en route from Dresdener to Neue Regensbuger.

14. Falbesoner bach in the Neue Regensburger valley.

15. Black sheep.

16. [Chosen] Head of the Grawawand.

17. Alpeinerferner above the Franz Senn hutte.

18. [Chosen] Up valley, above the Franz Senn hutte.

19. [Chosen] Flowers, Stocklen Alm.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

My vegetable love should grow / Vaster than empires, and more slow.

I'm reading "The Discarded Image" by C S Lewis. Part of it discourses on the tripartite soul, although I really shouldn't use that phrase as its wrong: the soul was not in three parts, nor were there three souls, but there were vegetable, sensitive and rational souls, or aspects to the soul. The vegetable soul was appropriate to plants, and encompassed growth and the like; the sensitive soul included sensation and movement, and was appropriate to animals and encompassed the vegetable; and the rational soul included rationality, and included both.

Which immeadiately brought to mind Marvell's
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;

An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
Which is a somewhat puzzling image. It kinda fits; I've thought of vast ancient trees, or even sub-soil fungus; vegetables are certainly slow, and can be relentless; think of tree roots. However - especially when you consider the rather more animal imagery of the end of the poem - the opening here does fit if you interpret vegetable in the "soul" sense.

“Vegetable Love”: Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” Herrick’s “The Vine,” and the Attraction of Plants says similar, and also brings in Herrick's "the Vine" which is far more disturbing. I also think his interpretation of the violence implicit (in the system! Ha) or explicit in the closing of the poem is wrong, because its mutual.


* Stoat: While the youthful glue / sits on thy skin like morning dew (2007)
* Stoat: Poetry (2009)
* Stoat: Tear our pleasures with rough strife / through the iron gates of life (2005)

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Exercise stats, 2014

A follow-up to the exciting Exercise stats, 2013

According to heiaheia, in 2014 I...

* rowed 124 times, for a total of 1310 km (2013: 1162 / 113; 2012: 1297; 2011: 1280)
* ran 60 times, total 786 km (2013: 1095 / 85; 2012: 879; 2011: 1155)
* cycled 43 times, total 3258 km (I amalgamate each week's commuting into one entry. 2013: 3182 / 50)
* erged 28 times, total 168 km (2013: 113 / 13; 2012: 238; 2011: 381).

There are also entries for climbing and gardening and stuff.

A bit low on the running, but otherwise decent.

September 10th: Neue Regensburger to Franz Senn

Prev: September 9th: Dresdener to Neue Regensburger and Ruderhofspitze: fail.

DSC_4695 Taking up where that left off: I returned to the hut as the light rain eased off, to meet M just coming out. So we went back in. My kit to the drying room, and we have a cafe+cake, plus some apricots and hazelnuts from the supply M brought with her. And write up.

As we sit inside the cloud comes and goes, with no clear trend. We were aiming to leave at 14:30 but don't till 15:00; book time is 4h so unless we grossly overrun we should make dinner. The hut-duck and chicken have been guardians of the toilets for quite a few years now.

Its a long - pleasant - traverse around from the hut before we start  heading up. this gets quite steep in the zig-zags, but its all good path. Top after 1:30, pause for chocolate and water briefly as its raining and we're in cloud.

To "the knobble" ~2500 m at 2:20, then a steepish descent. The path makers have done their best but there are several boulder fields this side of the pass and if you're not comfortable hopping from one slippery-when-wet boulder to another, don't come this way in rain.

The rain stops, mostly, and the cloud breaks, somewhat: at one point we have a distant view of the FS hut before the cloud returns, but it does look a long way away, and so it proves. Sometimes we can see downvalley to the Alm and the Parkplatz, but there are a couple of kms of traverse to do. The light is fading somewhat, and M says she is tiring a bit, but she is still keeping up the pace, so we arrive in 4:15, just-in-time for dinner.

So do that quick: kase brot for me and huttenrosti for M, which we share. Better quality cheese here. In various ways it seems the hut has been tarted up since last time - in 2012? One of the chaps serving recognises us, but says we "usually bring the family", which feels weird but nice.

After dinner: shower: ah! And free. Then get a glass of red wine instead of my usual coffee.

A thing from earlier: up on the Grawawandferner, I saw a hare.

This morning, my right ankle had hurt quite a bit, rubbed sore though not raw yesterday. I'd experimented with various things: double socks, plasters to cover it, raising up the insole to lift the sensitive area above the boot leather. But at the end of the day, ointment on it to ease chaffing, and care walking, and perhaps the rest, had helped it a lot. Also the "left ankle bone" pain I'd had before has gone.

On waterproofing: my theory, before coming here, was that if it rained all day I'd just stay inside for the day. That doesn't really work, especially if there are multiple wet days. What I'd replace it with, I think, would be a rucksac-raincover, and pre-pack stuff (wallet, etc.) that I carry inside in a dry bag; and stick with the rubbish-but-lightweight raincoat and accept getting a bit wet around the edges. But keeping the rucksac dry would be good, and well worth the weight of a rucksac cover.




Monday, 29 December 2014

September 9th: Dresdener to Neue Regensburger

Prev: September 8th: Sulzenau to Dresdener; prev-prev: Lubecker.
Next: September 10th: Neue Regensburger to Franz Senn.

Our room-mates rise at 6:30, but we wait till 7:15. B'fast is bought bit by bit: a slice of bread for 40 cents, for example. The sum total is about the same; I stick to tradition, M adds yoghurt. Its a fine morning, with promise of cloud later; we set off at 8:20.

(See last post for views of the hut; or this one looking down, with the hut in sun but the ski lift not in an effort to hide the latter; which was a nice concept shot but it didn't quite work).

Climbing up, just before the little lake, views back over the highlands where the lifts run to:


Then we've got over the steep bit and are at "bei der Lacke" which this morning is gloriously still under the sky:


There are pix of me too, but I look like an idiot in them all (here's proof, if you don't believe me). A little further up and we get to the col into a new side valley, which unfortunately is somewhat damaged for walking purposes by the ugly service road. Note for the future: as you come down the path, towards the road, look out for the "old path" which cuts off a small section, and is nicer, and pushes you in the right direction.


After that, its down parallel-ish to the road then a long "rising traverse" across the hillside under the Schafnock, seen here into the far distance: its a long day.


Identification: the snow-peak in the centre on the skyline is the Ruderhofspitze, of which more anon; below it is the Schafnock (S); further along is the Schafspitzle(s); the path dotted in green, as far as I can reconstruct it.

Views across to the WP, WF, Z and even Habicht in the distance. We meet hordes of people coming the other way, but no-one going our way. Here's looking back, from about the Schafspitzl or climbing up to it. The wiggly road rightish of centre is "service road valley"; the dark green mass in the centre is the Egesengrat, 2635 m.


Slowly climb up to 2780 at the Schlafspitzl, then up to where we can see up the Grawawandferner, though not much,as it is cloudy.


The final col really is at 2880 m; the Grawagraubenneider; finally we can see down into the Neue Regensburger valley.


Rest for a bit, and then head down: its 5:20(which I think I mean as hours taken, rather than time of day). This is the descent that I'd remembered as particularly icky from (looks at 2012 and 13, no) must have been 2010 when we were here with the children, and I had a day off up the W Seespitze and looked over the col at the end. However, its now fine, and only a tiny bit icky.


Go down some snow, then onto boulders, and finally onto path, which remains a good path all the way to the hut.


I get a bit irritated by M going slowly - I'd like to be in my end-of-day, stride-to-the-hut pace, and she'd rather favour her battered feet. Compromise: I hang back and play with streams and take pix, and catch her up just before the hut.

7:20 total, as against a book-time of 6 hours. We lost 20 mins with missing the way in "service valley", 20 in rests, a bit in slowness going up due to heavy packs, and ~30 mins coming down the valley. However, its worth lingering as the valley, with its river meandering gently through the march, is lovely in the afternoon light.


At the hut: small terrasse is crowded so sit inside in sun: tea, Radler and kuche. Get 2 places in zimmer 14. Rest.

Dinner: knodeln mostly, and kraut. Shower: 1 Euro for 2 minutes.

18:40: clouds close in, white outside, pouring rain and sleet.

20:00: still raining. A party comes in very wet indeed.

The accounting system used here (and in the Sulzenau) is a card on which drinks and food are pre-marked, and you tick off those you have. We paid 77 Euros for beds (2 in a shared room of 5), dinner, drinks and breakfast.

September 8th: Sulzenau to Dresdener

Next: Dresdener to Neue Regensburger.

In the morning I'd done the Lubeckerweg up the WF, while M rested.

Now we're going across to the Dresdener; book time 3h, our time 2:50. Its a bit of a trudge, up to the col and then down from the col. We've done it before, in the other direction, last year when we took the lift up to the Dresdener and discovered it closed.


I shouldn't make it sound too unappealing though. Here's the walk up the valley; and if you take the "wild wasserweg" following the stream that comes down from the Sulzenauferner you get fine views from about ~2600 m of the remains of the glacial snout. And we would have had fine views up into the mountains were it not for those pesky clouds.


Then there's the trudge up to the col, 2672 m, which is absurdly full of cairns, to the extent that M proposed that they were built to clear rubble.


On the slopes above us are particoloured goats, who always face the same direction:


Dramatic clouds on the far side cleared somewhat to reveal the view. This is the bowl leading up to the glacial summer skiing, and the guidebooks warn you how horrible all the development is. The big thing in the centre of this pic is the ski lift; somewhat beyond it and rather smaller is the hut. Actually, the "ruination" isn't too bad or particularly intrusive, contrary to how it appears in this picture.


The entrance to the hut is all the way round at the "back", and it takes us some time to work out the restaurant system, but we do and order, and worry about registering later. We end up in room 5, with two others. Showers are 1 Euro for 4 mins. The whole place is very clean and modern; the room even has a wash basin.


Friday, 19 December 2014

The Christmas things-we-did-this-year letter

Some nice people send me pix or letters of what they got up to during the year. And this is what I've made to send back. Its not very well organised. If you like, you can still read the one from 2013. Its possible, indeed likely, that I'll update it over the holidays, so do come back for another look.

Miriam and I: still working for CSR which, excitingly, is probably going to get bought by Qualcomm.
D: got good GCSEs; now in the lower 6th at the Perse doing Maths / Phys / Tech / Chem.
E: in year 8, flourishing academically, still doing clarinet and piano (she got her music colours).

I reached the venerable age of fifty. I ran the Brighton Marathon for the fourth time, in 3:43, which was effectively an equal PB; and the Amsterdam Marathon in 3:58, which was a bit rubbish. I've been climbing at Chatsworth with Howard and at Stanage with Daniel and got in a bit of mountaineering in the summer; see below. Daniel is better technically climbing than me now, but we don't talk about that. Rowing wasn't as good this year as last - but that was a hard year to match - and our up-1-down-2 in bumps wasn't really a fair return for a good crew.

Updating this after Christmas I can include the group photos. First at Mothers, where things are tradiational.


Then at M+J's, where a more modern look prevails. Note Miranda clutching her beloved Tabby in both.


Summer holidays: as a family, we went to the Pelonnonese, which was great. This is Mycenae:


Miriam and I went to the Stubai (not again) and that's at least partially written up. There are far too many gorgeous pictures of mountains to show you; here's M and me:


On a sadder note, my Uncle Henry died, and we scattered his ashes.

Lastly... do feel free to say hello in the comments; its nice to hear from people.