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North

The world curves away
into dark cuts and cliffs.
A breeze cool with sound
drops from the mountains.
“join me” it calls to the unwary,
“join me” seductive whisper.

Walk away, it is not time.
Go back to the trees that root you,
a home with fingers deep in the soil.
Sit in the shade of the oak and wait
for the mountain, for another time
of high places and the damp scent of snow.


Some days you look at the mountain and know it is not a good time to go up there. No matter how much you want to. Or how much preparation you have put in to get to that point. Walter Bonatti, A hero of mine, who spent the first half of his life climbing some of the biggest rock faces of the Alps, summer and winter, and mostly solo, said that you can always come back. No mountain is worth your life. Some people disagree, I don’t. There is still too much to see.

Pete, by the rock La Pierre Grosse at the bottom of the climb to Col du Gary

Pete, by the rock La Pierre Grosse at the bottom of the climb to Col du Gary

We arrived here late in the day and bivvied outside a hut. The following day we started the climb to the Col. But found the snow to unstable, with no safe route and a run off over the edge we decided against the Col and chose to walk the ridge to La Tete du Vet.

Col du Gary

Col du Gary

La Tete du Vet at the end of the ridge.

La Tete du Vet at the end of the ridge.

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