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PASSENGERS TO NOWHERE
Whiteness is surrounding and almost blinding us. Dark cliffs will eventually break through the glistening space. If mountains out
of clouds or of snow - we are unable to tell. On any account we are far away, away from everything that usually surrounds us. The whiteness wraps us in a bubble, enters in our heads, cuts us from familiar certainty. Neither we stand on solid ground nor on open sea. Ahead of us are people, but we are alone. Alone with our breath, alone with our thoughts, which we never can‘t really hear in the valleys. The more we approach the dark copper wall which coats the refuge, the more quiet it gets in our inner bodies.
We have arrived.
We have arrived at the Capanna Regina Margherita, dark and heavily enthroned on the Punta Gnifetti, 4554 meters above sea level. The refuge in the Pennine Alps is the highest hut in Europe, with beams and cable ropes solidly anchored into the ground of rocks and ice. Not even one noise from the valley penetrates the silence up here. It is quiet, very quiet. On this altitude the mountain is the commander, but the refuge braves the elements and extreme conditions solid as a rock. For our consumption of freedom from the valley‘s noise the hut is indispensable.
Not only geographically we are separated from our normal state, also physiologically our limits, our perception has shifted. Even behind the protecting walls the relief from the long ascent we hoped for won‘t really arise. The recuperation is exhausting us. We escape to the outdoors, where the whiteness is getting grey and soon turning into black. Every now and then we feel a breeze swooshing around the copper walls, who protect the hut from lightening strokes like a Faraday cage. In between indefinable silence, reassuring on the one hand, broken through gentle clicking noises of the glacier oddly threatening on the other hand.
Everything sounds so different. In the midst of summer it smells like winter. The world lies at our feet supposedly peacefully in twilight white. And we realise that we could enjoy the reverberation of this silence only after we‘ll have left the summit behind.