Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Project HaMo (translation): the darkest hours are before dawn ...

By lantern-light in the Mischabel
(Photo by courtesy of Alpine Light & Structure)

Fully awake at last, all five senses alert!

By lantern-light, fleeting and unsteady, after barely a nibble at the sleep you needed, you were striding and stumbling about, for hours before dawn. Nailed boots screeched as they sought out traces of a path amid the piles of loose rubble, and too often they missed. Again and again, you slipped. A patch of ice, a slatey slab, and you missed your step in this feeble, flickering gleam.

All at odds in these graveyard hours, you ground and sweated your way upwards. The weather was nagging at you too; what if all this toil was for nothing? You longed for daylight to sort it all out. And at last, at last, the light starts to grow – and the sun rises. Now anything is possible.

Those moraines of despond, these tedious spoil-tips, all are set magnificently aglow in the new-born morning. Unquenchable now, your mountain motivation. You’ve rifted yourself out of the valley, you want nothing more to do with down-below. Lissom are your limbs, your senses clear – up and away is today’s order. And now, with more than twelve hours till night falls, it’s broad daylight again.


This is an excerpt from a centennial translation of Ihr Berge (1916), a mountain memoir by Hans "Hamo" Morgenthaler (1890-1928). Translation (c) Project Hyakumeizan.

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