Saturday 19 January 2013

Rest In Peace

Bidean nam Bian--my favourite mountain, and the one I know better than any other--was today the scene of a tragic event. A party of six mountaineers were making their way up Central Gully on the northern side of the hill. Details are still unclear, but according to an MRT report it appears likely that the group triggered an isolated patch of windslab.

Two climbers were rescued shortly after the incident, and for a while it seemed as if the missing ones might be found alive, but tragically a short while ago Northern Constabulary issued this press release confirming that four bodies had been located.

People die in the mountains of Glencoe every winter, but this one feels particularly close to home. I cannot even begin to imagine what the two survivors must be feeling (let alone the families of the victims).

Over the timeless blue, as through the mind,
Moves, in dissolving white, the summer cloud,
And the mind's eye is dark, and dazzled with
The simple truth:

Living at our full compass, we were one
With the four elements, and knew the rock,
And the sweet smell of earth,
And ice and fire.

--Michael Roberts

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