Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 25 September 2010

You don't know him but he's a giant

I sing of one of my heros, but only Sir Hugh will catch the echo. Walter Bonatti (still alive) is one of the hardest and certainly the greatest pioneer of long classic rock routes typically near Mont Blanc. Let’s talk Le Grand Capucin (left), let’s talk West Face of the Dru (right). Being Italian he favoured the direttissima way, straight up, ignoring comforting gulleys and easier ridges. Often these 3000 ft faces involved as many as five bivouacs, dangling from a piton with his feet over the abyss while Alpine night tried to turn his blood to stone. He writes vividly and includes important technical detail. Extracts of his greatest climbs, in a new translation, appear in The Mountains of My Life. My feeble tribute.

ODD AND CLEAR Our local library in the community centre is guarded by a new CCTV system. Unlike the fuzzy clips on TV news these are in colour and as sharp as a Hasselblad viewfinder. A centre manager offers a testimonial: “You see strange things around the centre at night.”

ADD NOT SUBTRACT Helped Mrs BB in an act of faith by planting bulbs that will emerge as flowers in the Spring. My sole reward is I’m always surprised when this happens. “Make holes 2 – 3 in. deep so that the bulbs are covered,” she says. This proves quite difficult but not for Mrs BB. She achieves the requisite depth by merely adding a layer of compost. The difference between a garden expert and a garden innocent.

ILLUSION Planted bulbs must be watered – even I know this. I switch the hose to Fierce Jet to fill the watering can. This may not do the job any quicker than the spray setting but it sounds as if it does. A drumming violence.


Sir Hugh said...

Bonatti - a legend and a man ahead of his time who had problems with others on high mountains, probably arising from their jealousy, but a hero for me also, and the majority of people in the climbing world.

“My disappointments came from people, not the mountains.” Walter Bonatti

Julia said...

Have you timed the fierce jet versus spray? Fierce jet does seem the more diretissima way to fill a watering can.

Barrett Bonden said...

Sir Hugh: The book contains much detail striving to prove he wasn't guilty of using up the oxygen intended for the two Italians who first climbed K2.

Julia: In a sense I don't have to. The noise Fierce Spray makes comforts me. And, as I've said many times before, I need all the comfort I can get when I'm doing even the mildest gardening tasks.

herhimnbryn said...

BB thankyou for the comment. You made me smile.

Concealer = makeup to cover the shadows under one's eyes. YSL ( Yves Saint Laurent)make the best one. There, was that too much information?

Barrett Bonden said...

HHB: If I've made you smile I can die happy. And thanks for drawing away the veil from one of the many mysteries of womanhood.

The initials YSL have special significance. I went alone on one of my very early ski-ing holidays and felt Mrs BB deserved a take-back prezzie. As you probably know, ski resorts (especially in Switzerland where I then was) are full of places called boutiques which I would normally never enter. However I'd seen a silk square decorated with those initials and I thought: what the hell, it's only a single piece of cloth, it can't be too much. But I was wrong and the silk square, gift-wrapped by now in that fancy way the Continentals have, had to be unwrapped and returned to the window display. The replacement, still hideously expensive, was another YSL square, but about one-tenth the area. I've avoided those initials since.