Jungfrau - Top Of Europe
The bizarre thing about climbing the Monch is that the starting point is easily accessible to tourists who come via train up from the base of the mountain. We were dropped off by a helicopter on the edge of the glacier in heavy cloud so visibility was poor. We trekked to the hut where we would be staying the night to acclimatise to the altitude, and saw only fellow climbers. When we descended from the summit the following afternoon, having climbed since dawn, the place the helicopter had landed just 24 hours ago was swarming with people. We trudged past them with our axes and crampons, whilst they snapped pictures of us on their phones, many just wearing trainers. One woman staggered along in heels. The pathway between the station and the hut is managed daily by a snow plough but venture outside of the roped off area and you’re in danger of disappearing down a hidden crevasse. This didn’t stop a Japanese couple wondering off the path, one of them sinking up to his waist in the snow a few feet from the roped off area before dragging himself back onto the beaten track. It was jarring to go from traversing the isolated summit ridge, to elbowing through a train station. I remember feeling oddly detached from it all. A woman handed free bars of swiss chocolate on the train and I fell asleep soon after. Head back, mouth open, utterly exhausted.