Saturday, 7 December 2013

It's a mild one

I looked out and was unable to tell whether the white stuff blowing about on the breeze was light snow or more polystyrene from the insulation used on the outside of the buildings. Sarah had set off for Luxembourg and I could still feel the tension, or I'd had way too much coffee. The staff winter party loomed and I was going to have to go alone. The air had thickened again after yesterday's brief respite and I just could not sit around waiting until it was time to prove that my suit no longer fitted me comfortably.
So checked the temperature -10c and then packed a small bag and set off for the mountain. I took the walking poles and put the ice spikes in the bag. And to quote Patagonia 'The more you know, the less you need'.  True in so many ways. The snow and ice are simply not here in the city but the hill looked a good bit whiter. Unwilling to run in the grey air I opted to hike it all (apart from a new bit of downhill into the ger camp). I am pretty certain I wouldn't have attempted this last year. I did not know the mountain so well as I do now but it was also just too cold to contemplate that amount of time out in the open. This winter is so mild.

It was a lovely hike up to the ridge.

looking back you can see the grey air hovering over the city - you cant see them but the ger district and hills to the north are completely swallowed

The ice/snow crystals were beautiful

The footing was better than I expected but I was glad of the poles.

There has been 'work' on the ridge.

looking North - four large holes 
and looking south there are similar looking 'platforms' some with big holes some without 

Having gone to check out the 'holes' I had a hard climb back up to the ridge to get back onto the trail. Needless to say as I was heading up I met some locals coming down. There was a group of young Mongolians mostly young ladies, beautifully turned out for a gentle walk to the restaurant. There were many different garbs but if I were to describe one, Ugg boots, jeans, and a fir trimmed hooded fashion parka, you get the picture. I'm sure they would have been given quite a telling off by the overly equipped trail walkers in other parts of the world. Inappropriate clothing - fool hardy in these conditions. Except that they were having a great time. Laughing, giggling, occasional shrieks of enjoyment. I felt seriously overly dressed in my 'technical' clothing and walking poles. I was having fun but not that much.

I have not used poles for years preferring not to bother with the faff and just keeping moving but as I was in no hurry I had them, and thoroughly enjoyed the extra security they provided. Maybe I should have traded my Rocklites for Ugg boots and done away with the poles.

Just over 3 hours later and I'm home, cold tired and relieved of the nervous tension for the moment. With Sarah away for the next 6 days and no news likely before her return I'm hoping the air stays relatively clear because I get the feeling I may need to get out and run or hike a bit more regularly than of late.

Details and a map here

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