Day 24 – “The best laid plans of mice and men…

Tuesday 7th August

…oft go awry.”

I thought that was Shakespeare (cos it’s always Shakespeare) but it’s not. Apparently It’s a translation from Robbie Burns poem: To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough

The original goes something like; “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, / Gang aft agley,…”

“…Gang aft agley,…”!!!?? That makes not a jot of sense to me. Perhaps it is not so much a translation as an indictment of Mr. Burns attraction to a wee dram.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the story.

Our heroes, Mr & Mrs P’s plan had been to:

  1. Rise early. CHECK ✔ We were up at 03.00
  2. Leave by 04.00 CHECK ✔
Mrs P looking for signs of the sunrise

3. Head for the glacier in the dark to not only summit early but give us a good chance of getting back to Gandalf parked in the valley before it started to get dark again. CHECK ✔

Walking as the sun begins to rise. Always a joy

4. Summit at around 08.00 before the looong walk out. DOH! ✘

Let me explain. It has been VERY hot of late. One of team P (no names no pack drill) was suffering with heat exhaustion. Now, I’m no doctor but that’s what we at team P think it was. Leaden muscles, headache dizziness, nausea meaning, most critically to our climb, a slow pace. We should’ve reached the start of the glacier after about 2.5 – 3 hours but finally got there after 3.5hrs. This unnamed Team P member is now feeling worse and is desperately disappointed when Team P make the decision to turn round. We still have a looooong way to go. Particularly if team P is going slowly due to heat exhaustion/touch of the sun or whatever.

We still got our loooooong walk out though. Our total time walking was 10hrs. To one member of Team P this felt more like 20 hours.

There is however always a silver lining and sometimes even 2.

Firstly, the views were sublime.

The early morning sun reflecting off the Zellferner Glacier beneath the Hinter Schwärze (3,628m)

Sunrise over the mountains
Our high point 3,149m. Still 1.5hrs from the summit of The Similaun (3,606m)
6 Hours down, 4 to go. Approaching the Martin Busch Hütte

Secondly, on the way down Mrs P found an almost new Petzl Quark ice axe. These things are expensive, £170 each. We took it down to the hut where it turned out that one had been reported lost the previous day. The warden was very pleased. The owner hadn’t held out much hope of being seen again but had left his details just in case.

  • Mountains climbed – 1 (should’ve been 2 since we had to climb over the Marzellkam, 3,149m, to get to the Similaun)
  • Karma points – 10,000

For at least one of Team P’s members it had still been a grand day out. For the second member it had been a very long day and they were looking forward to their bed.

ASIDE: On the subject of early risers…

I have a friend who is an early riser. Up at 04.00 every day and often earlier. He will think nothing of our 03.00 start and will fully understand the beauty of the sunrise. Dear reader, you should try it some time.

Incidentally, This same friend recently asked me if I fancied an early morning, 38 mile cycle ride;

I was keen

03.45 he said

I declined.

6 thoughts on “Day 24 – “The best laid plans of mice and men…

  1. Sorry to read about the heat exhaustion. Hope the affected member of Team P is making a swift recovery. Also sorry you didn’t make the summit, but the photos are stunning. What wonderful memories. Mary


  2. Hope the team member is fully recovered. Remember: you’ve got all the time in the world (well, almost), so take things easy. Keep safe 🙂


  3. “Rise early”…? “Rise early”?!? That’s proper night time, guys! Like, usually only seen when needing to sleepwalk one’s way around Gatwick because certain people insist on booking flights that wring out every last second in the destination of choice. (“I’ve paid for fourteen days, I’m HAVING fourteen days.” Is then asleep two minutes after arriving at holiday spot.) But I digress. Glad the team is recovered. Take care! Those pictures are wonderful. Your adventures look like they completely qualify for the name. Not enough to make me want to see 3 a.m. on a regular basis, but I’m very happy to participate vicariously! 🙂


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