Yes, this will be a bit of a rant. So, if you were looking for a mother’s love and apple-pie entry today, stop now.
I went of a 3 1/2 day whirlwind trip to Germany, Austria and back to Germany again. You see, I love the mountains and I love even more playing among them. The great thing about the mountains – let’s expand that to unspoiled nature in general – well, the great thing is that it puts us people in our place. The results are often reliably predictable, unlike man-made laws. For example. There is likely not a single person on this planet, I suppose that would honestly expect a stone, if dropped, to fall upwards to the sky. The smart man would bet on the stone falling to the ground on which the person dropping the stone stands –> Nature governs this phenomenon very repeatable, reliable and thus predictable. Now, let’s look at an arbitrarily declared man-made law, oooh, shall we say financial accounting rules. They are reviewed annually by a congress of men. These men and women loosen a bit here, add a little there and expand over yonder and swiftly release a new set of IFAR (International Financial Accounting Rules). or just think of the derivatives market that gave birth to the term financial engineering (my personal opinion is that the adjective financial is a rape on the verb engineering…just my opinion). Or less abstract, a company’s sales forecast is corrected all the time, because there is no ultimate force (such as nature) holding the sales team accountable to the same extend, nature holds an engineer accountable if he or she designs something that violates nature’s rules.
Where am I going with this? My point is that even in the mountains people always looking for a cheat, a cheap exit, a cheap advantage. Nowadays, you don’t have to carry your backpack to the hut in the mountains. Instead, you pay 8 Euros and get it ferried up. The huts that used to sell simple food, maybe five different dishes, now sport a 20 page menu, where the spoilt tourist can choose from carnivorian, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free and god knows what other foods. It makes me sad to see, that apparently we demand more and more conveniences and comforts that are often in competition and contradiction with what going into nature should be all about.
In my opinion, but being in nature has a little to do with humility and with being human again, with moving about, with using all muscles, with exerting the body, while letting the mind roam free. Yet, with backpacks carried and WiFi everywhere and huts accommodating 150 guests, these simple objectives drop into the background and become old-fashioned. On top of that, there are cellphone cameras and selfie sticks, altimeters, GPS watches, calorie counters being dragged up and down the mountains. The whole things becomes a freakshow and reason to bring useless gadgets along. The paths are marked and easily recognizable. There are maps for sale, why bring all this other nonsense – its not a vast wild expanse. This is not the Sahara or Alaska.
In the hut, where once one chatted with other hikers, people stare at their mobile devices, trying to extract data sets they have no idea how to get to. When they finally do they continue staring pretending to analyze data they don’t understand. There is no singing anymore, there is no exchanging stories anymore, there is no looking out for one another anymore, there is no camaraderie anymore – which is really most regrettable. It’e everyone for themselves. Fellow man is almost viewed as competition….competition for what, this is supposed to be leisure, relax man.
Personally, when I look at the following images, I remember that I wished I had my friends Jon, Bryce, Ralph, Rick or Joe present to share the moment with them. Or maybe my university mates with who I met over the weekend as well or maybe my cousin Stefan. It’s the simple things we share that leave lasting memories, not the heart-rate we had at kilometer 5 at 2142m altitude while carrying a 10.97kg heavy backpack whose mass decreased at a rate of 0.4kg/hr because we sucked the integrated water badder empty at that rate.
The mountain hut we stayed at: Taschach Haus. I stayed here more than 30 yeas ago with my dad, when we took an ice climbing and glacier course there – these are some of my fondest memories from my childhood. Now the hut features an indoor climbing gym and there is talk of a sauna and a pool…..why not refresh your weary bones the mountain creek fed by the glacier. That’ll get you going in no time – no construction required, either.
I am leaving you with this peaceful image I took last night on the plane from Munich to Bangkok somewhere in-between.
Alright everyone, stay sharp and just try it, what it’s like to have a stripped down experience, without gadgets but real people instead. It’s amazing, if for nothing else, than when your buddies get tired they still function, just slower. No message appears on their forehead, informing you that they will lose memories, if not fed immediately.
Cheers Yours Markus \m/