Een tweetal weken geleden besloten Yannick en ik,  zonder echt een route geklommen te hebben, onze tent op de Vallée Blanche af te breken en terug naar Chamonix te gaan. Dit was zowel te wijten aan de kou die we de dag ervoor geleden hadden, als aan de stormwind die ons de gehele nacht gegeseld had en ook ’s morgens onverminderd doorging. Hoewel ik me die beslissing niet betreur, vraag ik me dan toch altijd af of ik niet harder had moeten doorgaan, de grens iets verder pushen… Misschien is daar dan weer wat meer ervaring voor nodig. Maar de volgende woorden van een meer dan ervaren klimmer wil ik toch even meegeven:

“So much in alpine-style mountaineering is down to the mental side of things. It is easy to get demoralised when the weather is nasty and retreat comes easily to those whose will to continue is not strong. In comfortable surroundings my view is clear-cut, it’s obvious isn’t it?, you just carry on up unless there are good reasons to go down. I recalled Doug Scott’s description of a bivouac on Denali when he hinted at the possibility of descent to Dougal Haston who said: “Are you frostbitten yet?” Scott said he wasn’t and as such concluded, as Haston already hed, that there was no reason not to carry on.

Mick Fowler in 'The Torture Tube'

Mick Fowler in 'The Torture Tube'

In the thick of foul conditions it is sometimes more difficult to think so clearly. These days, with better clothing and equipment, the range of options is greater. Frankly, it is unrealistic to expect to climb non-stop for a week or so and not suffer any bad weather at all. The key to succes is balancing the pros and cons of staying put(bad news unless the bivi is comfortable and you have plenty of food), pushing on (could be a rash if there’s nothing welcoming to aim for) and retreating (may be sensible but certainly won’t get you up).  [Mick Fowler, On thin ice]

Iedereen op zijn eigen niveau natuurlijk…