Skis cut a twin track, a track pointing toward Tour Ronde’s West Wall. Scalloped sastrugi, fill with powder driven on the wind. The winter sun dapples soft shadows across the glacier. Ice edges, sharp and blue and severe. Exfoliating ice crystals carry on the wind. Plumes of snow lift from corniced ridge. Brown, pink, grey, stark and sharp – granite spires from another time stab into the blue balloon sky. Whispering powder settles in steep couloirs. Steep empty graves with white. Snow to snow. The day before, when we skied and looked, the great big wide sky was latticed with white bread clouds. Clouds threaded with shapes of animals and people and countries and seas and friends and family. No flowers, no soil, no grass, no trees. Just white and cold and ice. Dust to dust. Beautiful isolation. Cold inanimate rock. Tim cries, literally cries as his heart pulses blood to fingers. The promise of warmth delivered by the sun is false promise, like life’s false promise for many. Tim and I hang beneath an off-width with wind pelting for company. Cirque Maudite – deserted, lonely, cold. Dark on this day, the day before the solstice, comes quick. Like death.
Until time runs out, until the next time.