The South Col.
Recently I 've been reading "The South Col" in Wilfrid Noyce. Written in 1953 as a book it is based on his experiences and diary from the 1953 British Everest expedition. Wilfrid being one of the key team member who was on the South Col and ear marked for Assault Team 3. In reading the book, so many of the descriptions ring true with what I have felt during adventures (apart from the high altitude part!). One section of the book stood out for me and made me think of those times when I've been solo on the road as a light in the dark on a remote road.
"At 4.30, after tea, I went up alone to V, to collect belongings and to check an oxygen point for George Lowe. It was my first experience quite alone on the mountain, and I looked forward to it. To be sometimes alone is to me almost a physical necessity, for then the imagined shapes of the hills seem to speak, as they cannot do when another person, however sympathetic, is present to blur the contact. Solitude enlarges the nervous personality, heightens perceptiveness. Terrors are then more acute, so also is the sensation of being a part with hills, and through them with all natural forms. I could never be frightened of ghosts among mountains, as I am often in midnight woods and towns."
The book is beautifully written. The connection the reader has to the expedition, the adventure, the writer and the mountain draws you into feeling the fatigue, fears, hungers and elation of the time spent on one of the greatest challenges of all time. It certainly inspired the mind and body to look for the next thoughts on what to explore, see, do or tackle.
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