If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal. – Paulo Coelho
When fellow adventurer, Sean Conway, was visiting Chamonix we decided to spend a night camping up high in the mountains. For no other reason than,just because. Normally spending a night on a mountain would either be because we need to be up high to start a climb pre-dawn, or because we have been caught out with weather or timings and need to wait and descend the mountain in the morning.
The aim of this campout, was purely, just to enjoy it and do something different.
Our crew comprising of myself, Sean, Flynn and Steve headed up on the last lift at 4:30pm. Armed with sleeping bags, food, a two-man tent and two bottles of whiskey, it felt strange to be heading up the mountain so late without climbing kit but also quite exciting.
We found a perfect spot nestled into the side of the mountain and began to set up camp. We didn’t have much of the daylight left and we hurried to get our camp set up by the time the mountains started turning pink with the alpine glow.
Despite it being February and the temperatures dropping to below freezing, we couldn’t have picked a more perfect evening for it. Not one cloud in the sky and not a whisp of wind, we settled into our viewing spot and pulled out the whiskey.
All four of us were brought to this adventure, to Chamonix and to this moment by different paths but united by a love for the mountains. The mountains that draw us in and inspire us to explore them and who we are.
On this evening, we relaxed and enjoyed the mountains in all their glory. It felt like having front row tickets to the most spectacular show we could imagine. Yet the show was free. It’s name? Nature.
We cooked food on our Jetboils by head torch and chatted away long after the light faded from the sky. We watched for shooting stars as we finished off the whiskey.
At some point before midnight, we made the call to go to bed and snuggled into our sleeping bags. Now the wait for morning would begin, to see the sunrise and learn what it would bring. I woke many times during the night, opening my eyes and wondering if morning had broken. Finally, it came and I could feel the light shining through our tent.
I unzipped the tent and crawled outside. Sean was still asleep in his open air bivvy. It felt like I had this world all to myself; the dawn of a new day. I took a few minutes to sit there and let it all sink in, the wonder of the world, the pure joy of doing something different and creating new experiences. I stored it all in my mind so that when life became hectic later on, I could remember this calm and beauty.
It doesn’t matter whether the friends are old or new, whether the mountain is high or low, or if the weather is good or bad. What matters is that we give ourselves breaks from routine and the pressure of everyday living. The demands on ourselves are many and we need time to sit back and let it all sink in. Time to just be without the pressure to always have to be doing.
This was my mini-adventure, what’s yours?
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