IN PERIL IN THE ALPS.
"Do you know, ma'am, when we Wore in the greatest danger?" asked my old guide, Joseph Imboden, as we sat and talked over old Alpine climbs in leisurely content,
I guessed well enough to what'he alluded. We had, indeed, escaped death by a narrow margin, and the fault had been all mine. I had wished to do a kindness to a guide, in trouble unjustly in his own district, whom I had taken away with me to Zermatt till local jealousy had disappeared.
• The peak on which our adventure occurred was the Hohberghorn, about 13,000 feet high, and' normally neglected by the climber. Abundance of new snow, however, had rendered the more difficult ascents impossible, and as nothing better was available and the weather was glorious, we fiietl upon the Hohberghorn.
Some four hours or so from our sleeping quarters we began to ascend the actual peak, and here the heat became intense, for the sun beat on our backs and was reflected from the white Hurface that rose steeply above our heads. The going, to a climber, wan easy, so there was no excuse for lingering, and it was with delight that I suddenly saw over the top and felt a rush of cool air from the cold, shadowed side of the mountain. Tho top of the Hohberghorn was not far distant when Imboden turned round and said very distinctly to the second guide, "At any moment now wo may expect'an avalanche."
The words were obviously intended to convoy a warning that if the snow gave beneath our feet the last man on the rope must be ready to step, down in the side where the snow would not slide away. Thus equilibrium would be maintained and our position rendered perfectly secure. But unluckily the second guide was unused to taking orders, and a little later, when the snow-crust cracked and the whole bridge began to move under us, he calmly went with it! In an instant we were lifted off our feet, and instinctively turning to the slope we dwe in our ice-axes as far as we could. The snow was firm beneath and they held, but in those few moments the whole party had been thrown together and the rope wound round our ankles in a confusion that foretold what would have .resulted if we had been unable so promptly to anchor ourselves.
V/hcn the dull roar of the avalanche as it swept down the gully and piled itself upon the plateau far beneath was borne to our ears I bernn to realifo how near to destruction we had been. Never was the matter alluded to between the two men, but I think it was not Imboden alon'o who looked upon that day as the climax of his Alpine adventures.—Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond, in the '"Chronicle,"
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IN PERIL IN THE ALPS., North Otago Times, 16 April 1910, Supplement
IN PERIL IN THE ALPS. North Otago Times, 16 April 1910, Supplement
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