Sunday, February 14, 2010

My horror story

When I read that it was possible to go underneath the glacier at Hintertux, near Mayrhofen in Austria, I was soooo excited. I love anything to do with snow except for driving in it and thought it was an opportunity not to be missed. They said the tour could be done wearing ski boots so after husband and I had a few runs down the mountain, I joined a group for the tour. Nearly all German speakers so that was my first problem. I speak a few words and that's all. Ja and nein being the main ones. I did understand - don't take photos and hold on to the ladder.

Ladder???? In ski boots????

The walk down the slope to the entrance nearly undid me. So steep and I kept slipping. But eventually made it. One foot inside the glacier and I remembered I didn't like small spaces. Encased by ice on four sides I had to fight hard to keep going. It was beautiful - all sorts of ice and crystaline structures but steep ladders in ski boots and slippery ice underfoot- my heart was pounding. At the bottom of the first ladder, I went the wrong way and only realized when I couldn't see anyone ahead and turned back. My mind went into overdrive and I imagined being lost under the ice - gone forever.

Climbing back up the three ladders was easier but the relief in getting out into fresh air was overwhelming. No more small spaces for me.

The worst though, was climbing back up the slope I'd slithered down. Everyone found it hard but in ski boots - it was doubly difficult side stepping up loose snow. I could hardly breathe when I got to the top.

In desperate need of sympathy - I fell into my husband's arms - he'd been skiing instead of doing the tour - only to find he felt desperately ill and needed to go back down the mountain. He ended up in hospital.

I took a few photos when I dared but they didn't do the place justice. So one of inside and one of me - relieved - outside.


Laurie Green said...

Eek, what an ordeal. Glad you weren't lost forever under the ice!

I don't do well in closed-in places either, and I can just imagine how hard it is trying to climb ladders and hobble around in ski boots.

So is this experience going to end up in a novel, too? :)

Flick said...

It might well! I really was freaked. I think I'd feel the same in an igloo - I wonder now how I managed to crawl down the lava tube in Oregon! I went to the very end and it was hands and knees stuff to touch the final part.

D L Jackson said...

How kewl is that, Barbara. I envy you. While you've been off tromping through glaciers and having the time of your life on black diamond runs, we were making some of our own glaciers on the East Coast.
Glad to see you back and in one piece.

Arlene said...

It looks so beautiful there, and a lovely picture of you after you survived the ordeal of checking out the tightest spot under ice ever and in clunky boats no less.
Best of all, your husband survived and you wrote a fabulous !!! story afterwards.