There’s never a wrong time for a photograph of mountains, is there? And my photo archive and stacks of albums contain many images of jagged edges, snow topped peaks and red faced walkers pausing half way up to either put their jumpers on, or to take them off.
This is my favourite of them all, I think, because when I look at it, I remember exactly where I was, and how up until the moment the clouds cleared, how weary and resigned I had been feeling.
It was in Nepal, and it had been a long haul of a day, by the end of which I was wondering why I was putting myself through all the slog of climbing ever higher, and anticipating, with no great enthusiasm, another cold night in a tent. We were sitting inside a tea-house having a hot drink and playing travel Scrabble. The word game was compulsory as the group leader used it to monitor our cognitive function at high altitude, which at that stage wasn’t that impressive as evidenced by the fact that none of the words on the board were longer than four letters.
The day had been overcast, and consequently dusk seemed to be falling more quickly than usual. And then we looked out of the window and saw the clouds part and the mountain appeared. With more energy than I had felt since we’d set off from Lukla, I leapt up, and ran outside with everyone else to catch a better view. It was fleeting; within a minute or so, the peak had disappeared again, and I began to doubt that it had ever been there. Maybe it never happened at all.