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Bygone days

Bygone days

This is a photograph of my Austrian grandfather (RIP 2002) Adalbert Moser, circa 1943-44 on top of a peak in the Karwendelgebirge ("gebirge" means mountain range in German).

The clothing, shoes, and rope are all relics of an era in climbing which was new, exciting, and exploratory. The Karwendel range was made famous by my grandfathers countryman Hermann Buhl, who grew up in Innsbruck, about 19 km from Mittenwald and the Karwendelgebirge. His exploits in "Nanga Parbat Pilgrimmage" tell of his climbing experiences in this range and many others in the wonderful Bavarian region.

In the year 1943, during the second World War, my grandfather made the Karwendel traverse, summiting 10 peaks in all, Wörnersattel 1,979 m, Wörnerspitze 2,476 m, Großkarspitze 2,420 m, Tiefkarspitze 2,432 m, Larchetfleckspitze 2,365 m, Westliche Karwendelspitze 2,385 m, Nördliche Linderspitze 2,374 m, Sulzleklammspitze 2,323 m, Kirchlspitze 2,304 m, and the Brunnsteinspitze 2,180 m ("spitze" essentially means "peak" in German). I made the same traverse 54 years later in 1997. It is not very technical, with fixed guy wires and cables from the Bavarian Alpine Club, but it has some very exposed sections and difficult terrain. The traverse took me 12-14 hours from base to each summit to base again.

This picture inspires me, not only because my grandfather was a climber, but because he was a pioneer in an era when it was viewed as an activity for the lunatic fringe.

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