A Mystery on the Eiger

On a prior flight, I noticed two odd black shapes on the north summit of the Eiger (3.967m / 13,057’). I thought at the time that it was two cliff-face tents, affixed by climbers that felt the need to sleep 8,000’ feet above their potential graves. When I flew past the Eiger again some days later in the Cub, the “tents” were still there, which meant one of two things: they are not tents, or the occupants were dead.

I made a swipe of the summit, from the Mittellegihütte to the east, southwest along the north face, with my telephoto lens in hand. In the end, the mystery appeared to be solved: it is a pair of rocks that, for some unknown reason, repels snow from them. Perhaps in my wanderings, I have discovered some kind of sneaky Swiss espionage installation.

The rest of the flight carried on, photographing late-season glaciers for my upcoming book on the glaciers of Switzerland. While I have already published a book on the glaciers of the Bernese Alps, it seemed silly to include the existing photos, so I have been working on redoing the range. The supposition is that readers of my books purchase every single one of them, mentally catalogue each photo, and get indignant that some are repeated. Perhaps I am overthinking that notion, though photographing glaciers a second time never hurt anyone.

I recalled before the flight that I was approaching image number 700,000, though I forgot about it until I landed. That left the image as a rather authentic selection from my binge of rapid-fire photography. I happened to be alleviating the perpetual boredom of looking up at the glacier from below, instead circling into a mid-glacier flat spot, looking away at the tongue that flows toward the Berner Oberland foothills. Source: ‚Garret Fisher‚.

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