Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To The Matterhorn

The misspeaking crossing box in the previous post reminded me of a misunderstood phrase made into a family joke by my sister. Someone said, "to the manor born" and she heard, "to the Matterhorn!" It became a toast.

Later, and still years ago, I found myself in Zermatt. While it is a beautiful place, the thing that impressed me the most was the great number of climbers from all over the world buried there, usually as a result of dying in an attempt to climb the Matterhorn. While they hoped to add a notch to their belts they were, instead, claimed as a trophy by the mountain they wished to conquer. I was told that many climbers underestimate the Matterhorn, thinking of it as an old uncle in an age of K2, Everest and Seven Summits ascents. This old uncle still has some tricks up his sleeve. Bad weather and rotten ice can spell disaster on any climb, even on something as relatively tame as the south side of Mt. Hood.

As I stood admiring the Matterhorn nestled in its corona of clouds, I knew that there was something that had to be done. In the town there are many shops offering postcards of the famous mountain. A stamp, an address and - on the back - "To the Matterhorn."

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