Episode 14 The hike to the Great Saint Bernard

Editor’s note: In this new WordPress presentation, putting all 52 episodes back online after having reread them and adapting them from the 1990s to the 2020s will take some time. We prefer to put back online the episodes that were the most read from 2002 to December 2021, the date of the overwriting of our old Frontpage then HTML site. Among these, there is episode 14. The others will follow soon.

barre egypte séparation de textes

The climb from Val Ferret

The sun had awakened the hands of the Tour and Argentière and its rays methodically descended the glaciers of Trient and Saleina. Their entry into the Val Ferret this Saturday morning was an auspicious weekend. The uniformity of the landscape under its snow layer made the scenery smaller and everyone could at leisure draw the path that would take him to the summits.

They stowed their minibus in the parking lot at the bottom of the valley. The driver would leave immediately for the village of Liddes tomorrow. It had been snowing during the week. Frantz, Anke and Pierre conspired to study the rock bar towards the Telliers Mountains.

The snowfall had been sufficient to mask the flows of the previous thaw period but their bulging remained visible. The corridors had already emptied but the ridges showed the magnificent serrations of their cornices. They had to be wary of it, especially on that southern slope. Anke said that they were going to hold well for two more days because the wind had blown hard and with her hand, she showed the others the rare lines under the rocky bar of the wind plates that had since fallen without leaving clear traces, thus predicting that the snow had not changed, that they would encounter good powder well glued to the earlier snow layer because the transition between the air masses had been slow and progressive.

Practicing their equipment from their exit over Sand on the Hochschwarzwaldstrasse on the previous Sunday, they put on their skis and backpacks and lined up behind Anke who was tracking them. All passed at a distance of 30 meters in front of Frantz who controlled the proper functioning of their Arva.

Anke is the race leader and opens the trail

 Anke did not wish to go to the hospice by the usual route from Bourg Saint Pierre. The path groomed with ratrak could be done even on foot. It wasn’t mountain anymore! Climbing from the tunnel car park to the horse pass was not interesting because this north slope was not very sunny. She had chosen to take the risk of this very aerial climb from Val Ferret, aware that their group had to stay off the beaten track.

After the sheepfold, Anke attacked the slope to climb on a shoulder and from there, go along the cliff to the collar that we can guess at the lowering of the crest line. They used their holds. The first conversions slowed down the group, but Anke continued his progress by asking his companions to keep a wide gap between them. The effort was intense. Frantz reassured them by explaining that this was the hardest and aerial passage of their hike, that Anke had chosen to join the curve of level near the pass as quickly as possible, hence this very difficult beginning of the hike.

Arriving on the level line they were going to follow towards the pass, they paused to contemplate the landscape. But before absorbing themselves into this discovery, they looked at each other with curiosity. All you had to do was look at the height of the slope and the 500 meters of elevation that they had just climbed and then look at the faces of the column to realize that all were present, that all had been able to follow. They took note of this discovery of a new dimension of their possibilities and conquered by the brutal effort, they asked to continue to climb ever higher.

Frantz told them that they could remove their holds because the slope was now almost zero on this level curve. As they approached the pass, they did not bother to look at the landscape behind them that was unveiled as they climbed. They had become accustomed to the imposing presence of the Dolent and then a little behind it on the left, to the stunning gray wall of the Grandes Jorasses that dominates the tangle of summits.

In front of them, the gully that leads to the collar was always more precisely drawn. Anke skillfully snaked and then after a few conversions, she went straight up the ridge line from where she signaled others to follow, glad that she was not having to put on the studs thanks to this passage without ledge. She had spread her skis a little, making the trace easier and less aerial.

The break at the lakes of Fenêtre

It was noon when the group entered the vast dome of the Window lakes buried under snow. Anke showed them the steady slope that goes up the wide corridor to Ferret’s window. From up there, you just have to go down by ski to the pass of the Grand Saint Bernard.

They stayed in the comb to shelter from the wind behind some rocks and pull their snacks out of the bag. Everyone dug his hole in the snow to make himself comfortable. Once the women had recovered from the sunscreen and had put their glaciers on their noses, Pierre thought it was an opportune time to start a discussion on a topic that had been preoccupying him for some time.

The question of religion practiced by members of their group

Anke had said that they should go to the hospice for 18:00 so that they could attend the service of the day at the chapel at 18:30.

The poet wanted to test his friends. Since their first weekend in Baden-Baden, all had expressed their desire to follow a spiritual initiatory path from our first source of knowledge. But religious practices from childhood are often obstacles or passages that must be overcome in order to accept that this personal journey can continue without the frame of reference of religions.

But who was Catholic, who was Protestant? Were they all going to attend the Catholic church service? In a faith addressed to whom and according to what beliefs? Could it be that their human communion could tolerate a difference in religious beliefs and rituals? Shouldn’t they be giving this domain to their company’s other activities in an ecumenical effort towards syncretism? What path of spiritual journey would they follow? A mystical path already known? A more poetic, direct and original way? Were they going to walk the four paths of spiritual development as the poet wished?

Anke picked up on Pierre’s question. By the way, who among the two German couples did not pay the 10% tax to benefit his cult? Sandra replied that they paid them for the Protestant worship and Anke in turn indicated that they paid them for the Catholic worship. The others were Catholics but did not practice any spiritual or religious path except from their meetings. Dominique, as a secular teacher, questioned by the intervention of Peter, Anke and Sandra, insisted on knowing what they were talking about.

Peter explained that in Germany, the Basic Law in lieu of a constitution enshrines “the responsibility of the German people before God and before men.” On birth certificates, police records, school or university registers, mention is made of the religion followed. Catholics have the code K, Protestants: the code E for Evangelist and the others the code VD for Verschieden Denker. Religion courses are mandatory to pass the Abitur. They are held for two hours a week and are provided by university students who go to high schools.

Students who declare themselves atheists must take ethics courses on the basic principles of community life, the place of the individual, his needs, rights and duties. Solutions are being studied for Jewish and Muslim students, and if little progress is being made for them, this is due to the division between fundamentalist and moderate Muslims and between Kurdish and Turkish groups.

Pierre went on to say that the state is responsible for raising funds for religious institutions, i.e. ten per cent of taxes, and these institutions, freed from this concern, can devote themselves more freely to their social mission, kindergartens, primary schools, aid and relief homes, seminars whose development they promote. The benefit of these works is first reserved to the faithful of the cult and then others can use them.

The quality of these services is thus likely to attract and question the public. Every cult can be organized in this way if it is for a public purpose. On this side of the Rhine, the prospect of a religious conflict is unimaginable when the teacher should be wary of having such a problem in her high school, especially since her lecture.

Anke congratulated Pierre on his knowledge of the subject and then told Dominique that his son enrolled in a German school, would not have posed the problems that the latter had had to solve hastily in order to be able to continue to participate in the life of their group, because of the fewer and better distributed schedules, in his opinion, in Germany.

Barbara added that she found German or Swiss education more open to the place of man in the world. Their links with the arts, the exact sciences and the social sciences gave them more space in a perspective of translating fundamental knowledge so as to allow everyone to take ownership of his world. She did not accord this character to the elitist and sterile education she had received in France. Moreover, to illustrate her point, she confessed to watching German news on television in addition to Swiss newspapers, because there were many more topics related to world news while in France, the news spread far too much on regional topics with little informative value as if one wanted to minimize or even obscure what was happening in the world in favor of topics serving electoral and regional clientelism or as if the journalists, of their studies, had retained only the law of proximity…

Secularism and Concordance between Religions

Dominique, believing that Pierre advocated this German education policy to the detriment of French secularism, began to praise the French education system, which according to Republican traditions had to educate young people uniformly with the same means, in the name of equality of opportunity and fraternity.

Before Peter replied, mainly on the chapter of freedom, a chapter omitted by the professor, Dan checked with his ski pole that the two protagonists were at such a distance that they could not touch each other. He had heard about this typically French quarrel and, as a soldier, he wanted to check the rules of the fight. Dan had listened to Laurie’s translation of the lecture and he knew that Pierre, among them, could be much more vindictive. The others began to cheer and applaud Pierre before he answered. They knew that between Dominique and Pierre, verbal violence could be rampant and this sudden diatribe of the poet would enflame them and brighten their snack among this penetrating silence of the mountain.

Pierre, as an Alsatian pupil, had grown up under the school system and he mentioned it. This Concordat was always to exist in Metz, certainly not in Nancy! As an individual with a keen interest in history, he reminded his interlocutor that the Napoleonic concordat was rooted in the initiation of Egyptian knowledge that Bonaparte and Kléber received in the great pyramid of Giza by the best guide of their time, an initiation that they transposed into the foundation of a lodge in Alexandria, the first of the many lodges that brought together officers and soldiers of the future empire and the Great Army.

In this sense, Catholicism is only through its roots linked to Moses, Solomon, Jesus, a religion derived and impoverished from the primitive worship of ancient Upper Egypt. Which may explain the attitude of the insider to Egyptian knowledge towards the Pope!

A concordat can then be signed to allow this Catholic religion to live in the shadow of its primitive roots, just like other Christian or non-Christian religions. More prosaically, Peter admitted that he had been interested in religious matters from a young age, wondering why there were two cemeteries in his village, one large for those he knew and a smaller one where he never saw anyone go and whose decorum was more austere

One spring evening, after school, he had picked primroses at the edge of the forest and laid small bouquets on each of the graves of this small cemetery. In the large cemetery, two magnificent sequoias framed the chapel at the end of the central aisle. Pierre knew that a Mennonite who had lived in a clearing in the forest had brought these redwood seeds from California when he came home to pick up the rest of his family. Why didn’t the little cemetery get redwoods? These flowers that he laid on the tombs also compensated somewhat for this absence of sequoias… The next day, at the grocery store, he had caught the conversation of old ladies who were wondering about the fact that flowers had been placed on the Protestant graves… on all the graves and none in the other cemetery! Pierre discovered that he was the author of such a provocation in the village, at least with these elderly people. He inferred from this that his gesture could be perceived as incorrect, that it was not necessary to pray or decorate such graves, that under these conditions, these deceased should probably have a little more difficulty to arrive before Saint Peter to enter heaven… this to leave the best places for Catholics?

His soul as a poet took the side of those excluded and questioned the different paths that lead to heaven. He assured Dominique that these questions are very important for a child and that adults should try to answer them correctly. Peter had found an answer only through his personal readings, in history books. Of course, no teacher had ventured to answer this kind of question, and catechism classes brought only stupidity through their ready-made answers that were not to be discussed.

Most seriously in the world, he wondered how the young poet he was, had not died of apoplexy under the weight of the intellectual insanities he had to undergo on the benches of his school! Fortunately he had, in his free time and at night, been able to complete his initiation to find the source that speaks in him.

He asked them to remember what he said at the Nancy conference. Can we not abandon this outdated and outdated republican definition of secularism and translate this notion through the rule of human work according to the three levels: work indispensable to life and survival, the realization of works that raise the standard of living and that are handed down to future generations, political action in their participatory direct local democracy? The Republican contract to manage the cohabitation of religions is part of the first level of activity: work indispensable for life and survival. This cohabitation of religions is only one of two parts of that republican bargain. The other part, admittedly forbidden since the Council of Nicea in the West, organizes the use of our first source of knowledge, precisely our personal spiritual initiatory journey.

This secularism is no longer the confinement of the spiritual path within the limits of each individual conscience with prohibition of any religious proselytizing. In reality, under the guise of regulating religious practice, the current Concordat does not intervene in the religious dogmas and actions of more or less fanatical and criminal theocracies. It is these dogmas and theocracies that ferociously condemn the personal practice of our primary source of knowledge.

Their movement established a secular concordat that guaranteed the free exercise of both our sources of knowledge: the spiritual initiatory way, which on the one hand did not need to know how to read and write, and on the other hand the source of intellectual and rational knowledge. This arrangement then prohibits a citizen from using either or both sources of knowledge at the same time to seek to impose his dogmas, theories, theocracy and intellectual pretensions.

The spiritual initiatory path and rational intellectual knowledge

The poet in front of his friends explained that the purpose of this discussion among the majesty of the glittering mountains under the sun was to verify that they understood the nature and scope of this alpine hike. They were using our first source of knowledge for a spiritual journey through the first spiritual path: overcoming the limits of our fleshly bodies through physical exertion and the sport represented by this alpine hike. Their physical and sporting effort is the gateway to a spiritual path and an initiatory exercise to go further towards the encounter with the mysteries of Life.

During the evening service in the chapel of the Hospice, they will use the third spiritual way: the mystical approach. On their return to the club and to their homes, this initiatory journey will be translated from the unspeakable experience to its translation into conventional language in our source of intellectual and rational knowledge. It is time to share this initiatory path so that it leads our intellectual and rational work.

The use of intranets and the Internet in their movement

Peter turned to Sepp. The poet wanted to be able to connect the computer system run by the electronic engineer with his secure intranets, to the global Internet network. Their movement will disseminate on the Internet this project of new political, economic and social organization with its purpose, its intermediate objectives, the practical modalities of certain stages and through an exchange with the correspondents, this project could be improved until it was realized in their enterprise. The poet wanted to be able to establish video links with other correspondents and their movement had to use multimedia channels to disclose the functioning of the Networks of Life.

The group stopped sipping the sweet hot tea, surprised by this inquiry. They had imagined themselves marching in Paris or in the heart of some city with their slogans on banners and, if necessary, wearing a tunic in the color left to the choice of the poet, but they had not thought to use these powerful electronic means.

Pierre said: Laurie would translate the text into English, Evelyne into German, there would be someone to translate it into Russian or other languages and these texts, these images, these voices would be conveyed at the same time for a modest cost throughout the world to this active minority who understands that the use of this new tool for acquiring knowledge will allow a revolution of our institutions and especially of the political and religious institutions spread throughout the world.

Why bother finding a publisher, getting past the stage of unofficial criticism or censorship, or paying for a publication on their own account? Wasn’t the aim to create encounters between men, women and children?

Before these meetings, Pierre did not rule out the sending of texts and writings to present ideas and projects in greater depth, but the objective of this undertaking was indeed to exchange, to make people meet in search of human progress. Sepp, who knew the arcane aspects of the Internet just like Werner who used it in the research center of his chemical group, took over from the poet to show his enthusiasm.

Indeed, the global Internet village is a fact of life. Sepp pointed out, however, that the main culture conveyed on this network is first and foremost a computer culture: how to develop new computer applications, how to write such types of programs, how to exchange practical solutions to improve one’s skills. There were many forums for exchanging ideas, but in Sepp’s and Werner’s eyes, these exchanges remained in the cognitive domain, there was little sharing of know-how and these intangible encounters could not lead to the acquisition of a know-how.

Seppdeviated from their discussion the development of the Web with commercial sites, media, social networks where exchanges are limited to groups whose members are similar and share similar interests. Their movement did not have to be lost on the Web. Their presence on the Internet is justified to show a new civilization where human beings and respect for Life are at the heart of political, economic, social and cultural institutions. Then there is how to integrate volunteers who want to join their movement and participate in the activity of their secure intranets.

Pierre indicated that a proactive approach could federate and energize these exchanges by multiplying intranets, messaging, expert forums and groupware. Sepp confirmed that he could install an intranet in their club, but that would involve time and money that they would find difficult to collect in the next few days!

Dan intervened to indicate that he too knew, of course, the Internet and its possibilities. He added that this Internet network is based on an essential element of operation: the encryption of information. At the moment, no intelligence service in the world has been able to break the code used to transmit this encrypted information. Dan talked about the decryption of the secret messages of the German armies during the last war by the first real computer built in the world called “Ultra” and which in the suburbs of London managed to decode the enemy numbers. The officer gave some examples of the incredible use of this intelligence and the equally incredible way in which Churchill led the cover-up of this discovery while sending this vital information to Stalin.

Dan, too, was enthusiastic about the use of IT and telecommunications in their business. He promised to introduce them to modern intelligence systems and to tell them about the NSA and the global wiretapping system called “Echelon.”

Pierre repeated his words. Frantz and Dan, since the weekend of Baden-Baden, had insisted on the level of protection and secrecy that their company had to surround itself with. Well, the poet suggested that they use the world’s most powerful current means to break through the barriers of the general intelligence and secret services that still defend the power of these sclerotic and obsolete institutions! And all over the world where there would be a subscriber to this computer service! Wasn’t the problem to guarantee the authenticity of their message?…unless they see the problem differently, they are afraid to proclaim their approach, to say how they wanted to change the institutions that govern us, to work to spread this project on the Internet?. It would be an information war.

Dan enumerated a series of equipment and means of transmission that the American army had at its disposal and that their movement would be well advised to use as well. Dan stopped talking there. The group understood the significance of Peter and Dan’s words: their movement would be spiritual, it would fight religious, political, economic dogmas and very quickly this fight would be against the current powers because they could not bear to be deprived of the sword, the weapons with which they defended their places and their ideologies.

This future troubled them, it was somewhat apocalyptic.

Women also got out of their numbness. Anke, who had heated tea on a stove by melting snow when the gourds had long been empty, presented Pierre with a quarter of tea in which Frantz added a stroke of schnapps.

Laurie tried to conclude the discussion opened by her friend. During the conference, she had enjoyed this trip to Egypt, Cluny, Jerusalem, the Louvre, this peregrination in the company of Philip the Beautiful and the Templars, the Pope, the Saints of the Middle Ages, Montézuma and Cortez, Essenine.

Pierre’s initiative gave rise to a new struggle that would take at least a generation, and the members of the group had understood that they had an ideal means of ensuring that this fight was first and foremost in the minds and not followed by a summary ideology monopolized by a fanaticized minority relayed by the powder of guns and rifles. As they had just discussed, they had to organize a new education whose spirituality represented the major foundation.

Their future correspondents, wherever they were, could criticize, condemn, suggest, enrich the themes of action of their company and of this debate, a new membership, a better direction would infuse a more powerful dynamic to their movement. They would invite these correspondents to the club for meetings that they would have freely discussed on their computer screens, they would mingle with the young people who were becoming more and more involved in the projects that were born in their night-club and all this would constitute a real community as Pierre had described it, a community that begins by discussing its own organizational standards.

This room would be connected first to the Internet with several stations open to the public. They would pay for the journeys of the most distant, the least well-off correspondents; they would go home to organize such meetings and this network of friendships, would bring out a whole disparate people of fighters for the march forward of humanity and the re-enchantment of our societies in their renewed understanding of the sources of our spirituality.

This less apocalyptic prospect aroused the group’s ardor. Dominique demonstrated his consent to this new approach. Dan did not want to reopen the debate but he indicated that it would soon be necessary to debate how they would put the sword under the guard of the sacred, inevitable in the poet’s words and which he had admitted as the root reason of his vocation as a soldier!

Anke invited them to take off their glacier glasses for a while and they were dazzled by the reflection of the sun on the snow. She then asked them to fix a blue corner of the sky away from the sun and their sight, losing themselves in the depth of the blue regained a less painful sensation of clarity.

Anke asked them: what dream did they place at the very bottom of this fireplace of azure that their two eyes traced by focusing indefinitely? This blue dream since the dawn of time, is not it the same in the mind of the human being who contemplates this azure everywhere and forever? Wasn’t it that blue that Rimbaud speaks of when the poets see the earth from all up there, when they come back among their human brothers? And does this blue not have an inseparable link with this blue planet and this millennial search for Merica, this house that men have lost, from which they would have been driven away by the divine laws and celestial mathematics that govern the march of our universe?… Does this blue translated by the descendants of this people not reside in this fascinating “sky blue of Egypt”? In this color found by Alsatian ceramist Theodore Deck in the second half of the nineteenth century in Sèvres? Is it not about the eternal journey that is always present and for which we should always be ready? Anke found a transition there to suggest they go back in the path.

The climb to Ferret’s window

Pierre was the first to be equipped and came forward to trace it. Anke looked at him with caution. The group questioned Pierre’s qualities to lead them, but he did not wait for their remarks and engaged on the flat surface of the frozen lake. In the ascent of the wide corridor, Pierre set out to climb the rock bulge along the axis of the slope so as to arrive quickly on the curve of softer level that reaches the pass. Anke, in his wake, was surprised that he did not use the holds and did not slow down his pace. The group burst out and only Anke and Dan followed the opener. Behind, Barbara and Sandra closed the march accompanied by Frantz who was making the wire clamp.

Laurie saw Peter disappear above the bombing and this image made him aware of their separation.

She discovered in her a hint of anger towards this man who came and went around her without ever losing an implicit distance. She stopped to look behind her as Françoise struggled. Everyone went up as they could. Dan was in the lead trio, Patrick was trying to join the first group. Laurie continued to wonder but Françoise asked her to get back in motion because she did not want to cut her effort knowing that it would have been even more difficult for her to return to this part of the course.

Little by little Laurie realized that she had only one thing in mind: to reach the collar by saving herself as much as possible. When she reached the top-level curve, she stared at the silhouettes of the skiers who had come before her and who were approaching the pass. Anke had stopped and with Dan, she waited a while for the rest of the group to remain clearly visible in front of them and maintain a minimum of security between them.

In front of it, Peter became an increasingly tiny feature in the landscape. Laurie couldn’t hold back her words. She screamed in front of the mountain on this poet devil who was running towards the top as if the spirit swollen with higher and deep discussions, he was anxious to return to his favorite altitudes, alone as it suits a poet who understood that the only object of his earthly existence is to preserve himself from the disdain of others so as not to wrinkle his giant wings, not to sink into chaos and nothingness but to go into azure as he was outrageously doing now!

Arriving at Ferret’s window

Pierre slows down a little before attacking the last steeper slope that leads to the pass and that the trail dodges by taking to the side of slope on the right. He tried to catch his breath and not show others the signs of his violent effort.

Several minutes later, Anke and Dan planted their sticks and placed their bags next to him. Pierre looked at the peaks in front of them and Anke named him the sumptuous cornice of Mount Velan on their left in the extension of the rocky bar that starts from the pass they had just reached. Anke told him that when they were in the hospice, they could tomorrow morning, go a little on the slope of the Valais to discover the vertiginous and attractive snow ridge, which rises to the summit of the Grand Combin and which from the window of Ferret where they were, remains hidden.

She showed him with her hand, the laces of the road that rises from Aosta and that the layer of snow could not completely conceal and then she pointed out to him the place where the tunnel paravalanches is located. Behind them, the Mont-Blanc massif unfolded in the bright blue of its peaks and at the bottom of the landscape, the Italian slope presented its serrations up to the black needle of Peuterey and the snow spur of the Brenva visible to the naked eye. At this altitude, the Grandes Jorasses are even more present because the distance relatively equalizes the height of these peaks to include it in a restricted world that arises at the level of the sole of your skis. Anke removed his skins and folded them, and could not wait any longer to question Peter.

Ah! didn’t he tell them that he had been a cyclist and a cross-country skier in competition? Usually, he was more than willing to talk about his military service in the reconnaissance section of the Alpine fighter battalion in Haute-Savoie where he had served. It is true that he had been waiting for many years for the opportunity to put on his skins to climb into these landscapes that he had discovered backpack, machine gun in shoulder strap, on the other side of the Mont Blanc massif.

The joy of this rediscovery had led him today not to count his efforts and if he had not felt his legs during this ascent, it was under the effect of his mind which avidly captured all these sensations found. The force of the radiance of this landscape, the inevitable attraction of the crest line that fixes you when it lowers to the collar, had left in the shadow the work of his legs and their coordination with his heart.

He was happy and his expression of happiness surprised Anke and Dan who had never seen him like that. Both remembered Laurie’s words. It was the first time they met him at such a high altitude and he seemed so fulfilled!

Pierre thanked Anke for bringing them here and the captain of girls struck by this sincere congratulation that also took up by the American officer, threw himself at the poet’s blow to kiss him tenderly and remind him of their kiss of the evening of Baden-Baden where they had become friends. Dan watched tenderized and Anke, generous, asked him with confidence if he too would share such a kiss. She read Dan’s look at the answer to his proposal and approached him to join their lips. Happy, she affirmed loud and clear in front of the landscape turned towards the east that this is how they would continue to forge together the keys of their happiness!

The three settled a few meters under the pass to shelter themselves from the wind. Patrick arrived then Laurie and Françoise, followed Sepp, Werner, Gérard and Carine, finally Barbara, Sandra, Dominique and Frantz.

Frantz showed them the road that goes up from Aosta and decided to join it rather than follow the slope under the corridors of the wall but this descent was important and afterwards, there was a positive slope to fill. Anke preferred to gently descend the slope taking the nipple on the right and then cross the comb to reach on the left the level of the monks’ path and the covered pipe.

With her hand, she showed them the route. The snow was in condition for a correct trace to be made and this would allow to reach the pass near the statue of Saint Bernard of Menthon. The condition of the cornices allowed this passage and the fresh snow also erased the old flows on this east and north slope.

She asked Dan and Pierre to follow her and by making wide turns in the snowplow, they made an easy trace so that the others could descend without any trouble on the pass. The skis disappeared into powder but in full confidence on the position of their legs, they let themselves run down the slope with enormous joy among this immaculate landscape that they were the first to cross without effort.

The powder seemed to brake them but their speed kept increasing and they had to control themselves to measure at each moment the limit which allowed them to impose their traces on the powder mass which gripped their legs without however being blocked by it and falling.

Each movement had to overcome the thickness of snow under which their skis were buried, but each movement had to remain perfectly under control so as not to give way to a speed that would lose them. Behind them, the trace of their curves attested to their ability to dominate nature.

Frantz asked those who were reluctant to embark on a turn on this slope to stop in the middle of the turn by a slip and then make a conversion. He gave a demonstration and everyone took turns in the slope.

Then Anke began the crossing of the comb in search of the level curve of the trail whose location could be guessed through the rocks. Whenever she saw the ripple of an old snowslide, she would climb up the slope to slow down and slowly clear the obstacle. Through a lateral skid, it returned to the previous level curve and then left again. These maneuvers limited the risk of falling on these natural springboards that most of them could not pass by performing a medium speed jump, backpack, in this kind of very fast and leaking snow.

The others were following the trail with increasing confidence. After a steeper path where they were gaining speed, the track moved slightly up the slope axis. Very quickly, they descended most of the comb to slowly go along the north slope, stopping many times to avoid gaining speed on what seemed to be the monks’ path and the covered pipe.

Arrival at the Hospice of the Great Saint Bernard

Anke relied on the position of the tunnel paravalanches to look for the way among the rocks. It remained high enough on the slope to pass all the way to the top of the remnants of the snowflows and blocks of ice. Finally they reached the ridge line which descends towards the pass of the Grand Saint-Bernard. The snow was still not transformed at this lower altitude and Anke, in full confidence in his memory of the place, let himself run into the final schuss to cross the ridge line and stop at the foot of the statue, between the two hotels.

After the austerity of the previous landscape, this small piece of high valley pleasantly surprised them with its welcoming character. A column of skiers passed through the frozen lake. Frantz concludes that they were Italians. Opposite them, on the other side of the frozen lake, the reassuring mass of the two hospice buildings connected by a covered walkway, awaited them. The façades were lit up by the subdued and golden light of the setting sun.

The warmth of the welcome was all the more comforting. One after the other, they arrived, letting their joy burst out of having finished. Anke cleverly made them follow a very low slope level curve that brought them directly to the hospice without having to put on their skins.

By chatting, joking to decompress themselves from the extreme concentration that this descent had required in their home and that in their practice of neophytes, they had succeeded, they left their skis and extinguished their Arva. Behind them the sun was declining ever more and soon the shadow that had gained the whole of the collar, was going to turn into darkness.

Installation for evening and night

The hot tea on arrival taken around a large table in the refectory created an atmosphere of relaxation and well-being that they appreciated.

Frantz took them to the third floor in their dormitory. It was the peak season for ski touring and the hospice is still full at that time.

The shower was a more intense moment of relaxation. Faced with the influx of candidates and the few cabins, each took the first woman within his reach in his cabin. Sepp found himself with Carine and noticed before closing the door that a young woman with Italian traits was presenting herself alone, he made great gestures to her to speak English and then invite her to join them in French. Carine, already naked opened the curtain to show herself and invite her also in French. The Italian was safe! Carine was proof of that. She told him she wasn’t Sepp’s wife. From another cabin, Sandra replied that she was Sepp’s wife and yet another, Patrick claimed to be Carine’s husband!

The others led in their respective cabins, a joyful heckle to decide the young woman. The doors opened and the naked young women insisted that she enter Sepp’s cabin. Realizing that she enjoyed this highly erotic atmosphere but did not dare to take the decisive step, Sepp emboldened herself to take her arm and the young woman entered the shower cabin.

Anke firmly reminded them that they had to hurry in order to be at the office of the day on time. Barbara had decided that she would go out naked in the shower room to dry more easily and the others did the same as the young Italian woman. She had understood that she had entered a joyful group of hikers, but she was astonished at the various languages she heard.

Sandra made the summary presentations, noting that there were indeed Italians missing in their group. Sepp was allowed to dry the back of the bellissima and he took the opportunity to declare in French, a language which the young woman understood better, that a woman could not be admitted to their group until after having received on her buttocks the kisses of each of the members. Anke confirmed this rite of intromission. Peter was more evasive, knowing that this rite had already played many annoying tricks to more than one but no one thought of the accusations made against the knights of the Temple, except the poet! Dan checked that no one was coming in the hallway and laughing, the Italian beauty graciously submitted to this ordeal and then she was entitled to choose three men to make them the same kiss. Faced with the obedience of men, she emboldened herself to ask them to turn around and she laid a quick kiss on each of their sexes. The women congratulated her and told her that she was admitted into their group.

Frantz inquired about his dormitory and quietly left him their club details and e-mail address. She had a boyfriend who was resting on her bench. Frantz invited them to the club for free and promised to reimburse them for their travel expenses. Once dressed, Frantz took the young woman’s address from her notebook and sent her a commercial about their business.

Later in their dormitory, everyone congratulated Sepp for its readiness to expand their clientele. The girl was very beautiful and seemed to have the guts and character to conduct herself so freely among them. Lying under their blankets waiting for the office time, Werner teased Sepp to remind him that he had to quickly install the Internet. Sepp, joker, repeated: Ethernet but Werner, Pierre, Gérard and Frantz had understood the trick of the electronics engineer and of a single chorus, repeated: Internet!

Sepp complained that Pierre had found nothing else when he got here, but to give him this extra work but Sandra and Barbara came to the poet’s rescue. They had enjoyed the long break from his chatter. At least they had been able to sip their tea peacefully. Anke had even had time to redo it with melted snow. They could have waited for the sugar to melt! No, No! Pierre was a good companion in the mountains! Anke beat the group’s recall, it was time to go to the chapel. We were in the cycle of Easter holidays and the service was not as usual in the crypt but in the chapel.

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