Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
I felt like a tiny dot on the landscape as we moved between the seracs and into uncharted territory below. Down we went, zig-zagging to avoid the cliffs and constrictions. Two huge seracs, each more than 50m high, hung suspended; the steep face above us, between them a shimmering blue wall of hard ice inlaid with little islands of rock. I went on ahead, disappeared from Guinther’s view beneath a cliff and popped up again further left before detouring around a crevasse and coming to a stop. I waved and shouted for Gunther to follow.
It was only by staying ahead and getting an overall view of the terrain that I was able to spare Gunther the agony of false trails and additional ascents, but the route was not easy to find and I often had to climb back up a good way.
On one section the front points of our crampons were only biting a few millimetres deep into the glassy hard ice. You could hear clearly the noise the pick of the axe made as it hit the ice. At times our whole weight was on our crampons and axes.
Suddenly there was a third climber next to me. He was descending with us, keeping a regular distance a little to my right and a few steps away from me just out of my field of vision. I could not see the figure and still maintain my concentration but I was certain there was someone there.
I could sense his presence; I needed no proof. Certain sounds seemed to confirm his presence, a creaking of the ice, a noise of some kind. He did not speak; he was simply there. He stopped when I stopped; he climbed when I climbed. Maybe I was being followed by a ghost.
Whatever it was, I was sure it was there and the mere presence somehow helped me regain my composure.
So now we were three.
I never stopped to ask myself how that could be; it just was.
The source of the experienceMessner, Reinhold
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
OverloadsClimbing high mountains
Reinhold Messner – The Naked Mountain