We hardly ever did so many snow hikes as during this season! And it isn’t only about the number of hikes that we did, but also about the variety of experiences we were able to make. – On this Saturday in early January for example, we started the day with the intention of going out for a hike. The weather forecast told us that it was likely to snow – which was pretty okay for us. Walking / hiking in slight snowfall is very nice. So, we decided to go for a mountain that we know pretty well. So, the risk of getting lost was negligible. We also had no concern about avalanches on this trail.
Indeed, we didn’t have to wait long for snowfall. When we arrived at the starting point, we were welcomed by light snowfall. Pretty nice and nothing to worry about. So, we just started our hike into the nice snowscape, looking forward to enjoying calm white snowy mountains. The hike was very calming! We were literally alone, no noise around, just the mountain, trees and snow. Once in a while a very nice view opened up between the trees towards the other side of the valley:
Photography wise, snowfall is as tricky as rain: do you want to choose a longer exposure and blur the falling snow or a short exposure and “freeze” the snow. It just depends on what your gear allows and what you want to achieve. – Sometime later I realized that it wasn’t so silent anymore: I heard the wind rustling in the trees high above — but I didn’t think a lot about it. Later on, the trail there is a passage providing a view quite into the distance towards another group of mountains. This was the point where we realized that we weren’t just walking in slight snow fall but on the edge of a storm that we saw in the distance. The light breaking through the clouds was mesmerizing and I hurried up to get a shot before the situation was gone again.
We went on, nothing remarkably happened except endless snowscape, calm snowfall and the growing wind in the trees above. We realized already that we weren’t just at the edge of the storm and that it turned towards us. So we expected some harsher winds the more we approached the summit. – And we were not disappointed! As soon as we left the last trees that protected us from the wind we were faced with some quite strong wind and snowfall! We jumped into our jackets, put on the gloves and pulled down the hood deep into our faces. Equipped like this, we set off on the last part of the trail. The wind was strong, but well equipped as we were it wasn’t a problem for us to approach to the summit. At one point I turned around and saw that woman behind us. The scene felt so strong: The fully equipped woman standing in the harsh wind, the snow blowing all around and the dark clouds literally chasing right above our heads! That she was fully equipped in blue was just a perfect coincidence! Bright enough to catch the eye but decently enough so that she doesn’t draw all the attention:
I think, we all arrived at the summit at the same time: we – and the storm! We never experienced something like that before. It was amazing! And we were quite happy that we were so well equipped that we never felt uncomfortable – except my right hand: I was wearing mittens where I can fold off the part around the fingers so that I can operate the camera. And unfortunately, I didn’t bring the base layer gloves. So, my fingers were not only exposed to the very cold and strong wind, but I also held the ice-cold camera directly in my hand. A lesson that I learned that day and that I wouldn’t forget for quite a long time. In the end, I couldn’t feel my fingertips at all! And the rest of my fingers were hurting like never before. Nevertheless, I could grab some nice shots towards the valley below us where the sun just broke through for a brief moment and enlightened the mountain side in the distance. What a view that was!
Imagine the experience! The view in front of you while feeling the sheer force of the storm around you. That was just very unique.
Well at some time we decided to head back down. The storm decided to move on as well. In winter it is always a good idea to have the attention to the path to avoid tripping and falling. But for me it is equally important to embrace the whole experience. So permanently looking around, enjoying the views, hearing the sounds, looking for motives for taking a photograph of.
To be honest – as I know the trail I’m always looking forward to a specific view where I see this large peak some kilometers away. I wanted to hike that peak for a long time until we did a great bike & hike up to this peak. So, I am quite connected to that view. And this time I have not been disappointed! Just in this moment, the edge of the cloud front reached this area, so the sun enlightened this side of the mountain from the side. – To be there at this time of the day so that the sun was in the right height, the edge of the storm being just there, the “right” amount of snow in the air … all this created this very special mood that I was so eager to capture in a photo immediately.
And this was one of the last very nice captures I did on this hike.
Photography wise I was pretty impressed that the temperature didn’t impact the batteries of the camera at any extent as that I would have noticed. When coming home I gave the camera some time to warm up slowly in order to avoid water condensing at the cold parts. Also, I learned to always – always – bring the base layer gloves as an “underwear” to my mittens. Not only because of the very cold wind that freezes the fingers off. But also, as the camera will finally cool down to the surrounding temperature – which will be sub-zero Celsius in winter. And it’s just not comfortable to hold a freezing cold device directly in my hands for a longer time.
Hope you enjoyed the read!