Summit fever

Frozen gloves in Vittorio SellaIn connection with the climb of last Saturday, I have had trouble sleeping for three nights: the night before starting, from sheer excitement at the prospect of climbing, the night at the refuge, from noisy neighbours to, once again, sheer nerves on the proximity of the climb and the need to wake up at 1pm, and the last night, from repeating the climb over and over and wondering how much astray alternatives would have gone, and from being back at sea level. (I could somehow feel the weight of those additional 1500 meters of air!) I still waited till 7am to go running, with a terrific impact from spending seven days above 1500m on my breathing!

La Grivola and the Trajo glacier (C.) B. Plessis

This is usually the case for most of my mountain outings so I do not think this is of particular importance, as the psychic involvement represented by an alpine climb is quite different from the requirement of a half-marathon or even of rock-climbing on a cliff. It is not as much the objective dangers of the mountains as the tension resulting from concentrating on every move for a long while and from repeatedly forcing one’s body into unusual positions, like bending ankles to grip the ice with all spikes of the crampons or walking down snow slopes in a duck-like manner, bending forward in order to avoid turning into the ultimate human sledge… The intensity and duration of this commitment explain quite easily why the brain cannot let immediately go, once the “game is over”.

One Response to “Summit fever”

  1. The impact of living at higher altitudes is stunning: almost one week later I can still feel it when running: I got a two minute gain on my usual “Tour de Parc” circuit! Maybe this will last till the Gertrude Cox 5k run in Washington DC in two weeks…

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