Day 75 – Fear – Mr P gets all philosophical

Thursday 27th September 2018

So, we had a recommendation for a Via Ferrata from our new friends the McD’s. They have a VW T5 too and we seem to have been following each other around Switzerland, Italy and France doing similar things. The recommendation is for a 5-7 hour Ferrata up and down Mont Charvin, 2,409m near Ugine in France.

The map and climbing info at the beginning of the route

It’s kind of 2 Via Ferratas. One up, one down. It’s also kinda not a Via Ferrata. It’s more like a big mountain scramble that is protected by cables in some, but not all places.

Mont Charvin looking fairly innocuous

To be honest. It scared the willies out of me! It’s not hard and I really liked the rock sections…

Quite happy here…
…and here. Note bloomin’ great cable

…but, and some of you may know this from previous blogs, I took up climbing to overcome a fear of heights and some situations I just do not like. Still. The main example being narrow ridges and slippery, grassy slopes with big exposure.

Mont Charvin had this in spades…

… not so happy here. Really easy but REALLY high

It is really very difficult to explain fully, even to myself, what bothered me but I think it stems from once watching as a friend, moving over similar easy ground, slipped and disappeared over a cliff in North Wales. She looked up, smiled, then slipped. I saw the look on her face change from happiness to utter terror in a split second. Then she was gone.

Not quite Touching the void I admit. Also, it was wet and she was wearing slippery climbing shoes. All those things aside I think because of that incident I am very nervous on such ground.

You’ll be relieved to know that my friend survived her fall. She landed on a ledge about 3 metres down and was only badly bruised. I was able to abseil down to her and after some considerable time calming her down we were able to get off the mountain without recourse to mountain rescue via a couple of long and scary abseils in the dark. Two very jittery climbers I can tell you.

Anyway, Mrs P is supremely confident on such ground and psychologically held my hand throughout.

The moral of this story is that we all have our nightmare scenarios, often based on all too real experience but, it is important that we are not limited by those (sometimes irrational) fears, that we do not hide or shy from them. We must not let our fears dictate our enjoyment of life. We all can, and should, face up to our fears. And, even if we cannot completely rid our selves of those fears, we can at least find ways to deal with them so that they do not restrict our joy of life. Mountains are dangerous places but so is crossing the road. Mrs P may have had to deal with a tense, serious and very quiet husband on the way up but it was a very happy Mr P on the descent because I had once again dealt with my fear and perhaps next time will be just that little bit less unnerving. Worth it all for the fantastic summit.

The summit cross with Mont Blanc in the background
Stunning late afternoon views from the summit of Mont Charvin

Anyway, how can you be afraid when Jiminy Cricket is along to be your guide?

A cricket hanging out on the Via Ferrata cables.

I don’t want to put anyone off the Mont Charvin Via Ferrata, it is excellent. Mrs P thoroughly enjoyed 100% of it and even I had a great time on about 80% of it, honest. I just think it’s important to know that we can all deal with our fear even if it does make certain of us all serious and quiet.

Mrs P interviews a potential new climbing partner

Wild camp (no campsite) at the end of the day during which we tried out our solar shower. Very successful. I did suggest to Mrs P that photos of this trial run would increase the readership of the blog but she had hidden the camera.

Here endeth the most serious of blogs. I will try to cheer up for tomorrow’s blog as Autumn arrives and we, like migratory birds, begin to head south.

4 thoughts on “Day 75 – Fear – Mr P gets all philosophical

  1. Wow quite a story, your trepidation on exposed ridge paths sounds very rational given your past experience. We rally enjoyed the route but the unprotected ridge sections did require total concentration, one slip and your gone terrain is also not my favourite, deep breaths!

    The ridge did however provide some stunning photographs.


    1. Unfortunately I forgot to include any of Mrs P’s photos which were really good, didn’t mean to run down your recommendation. Still a great mountain and a great route. Mrs P had a great day. One of her favourites


  2. Once again, stunning photos which I didn’t find as scary as some of the previous ones. However, quite appreciate the effort involved in overcoming your fear (Strive, Achieve, Have Fun). Really loved the last photo!


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