Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Die Weisse Spinne
"The White Spider tells the story of the first ascents (and attempts) of the Nordwand, from Max Sedlmeyer's and Karl Mehringer's disastrous try in 1935 to the 13th successful one by Kurt Diemberger and Wolfgang Stefan in July 1958. (Wikipedia)"
Late last night I watched Joe Simpson's "The Beckoning Silence" on youtube. Fascinating, but not a good idea last thing at night. I couldn't stop thinking about those brave young climbers as they attempted the first ascent of the North face of the Eiger. It is a terrifying face - straight up to the top - like a child's drawing of a mountain. The drop beneath the climbers feet is unrelieved all the way up.
The Beckoning Silence tells the story of the 1936 attempt on the North face by Edi Rainer, Willy Angerer, Andreas Hinterstoisser and Toni Kurz. They all died. It is heartbreaking.
Especially the story of Toni Kurz who fought so hard for his life against all the odds, and died within sight and sound of his rescuers.
It was like Joe Simpson's experience in Peru, but as if, after his extraordinary struggle and survival against all the odds, Joe had got to the campsite too late. And died there. It would be unbearable. And yet that is Toni Kurz' story.
There were photos of those brave and cheerful young men setting off. And they likely would have made the ascent, only one of them was badly injured by a falling rock.. If I am understanding the situation right, The White Spider (Die Weisse Spinne) is an ice-field that funnels rocks and avalanches onto the climbers who must cross it.
They had to turn back - and found found themselves trapped.
I kept thinking about them last night. And I also thought that maybe, given the times they lived in, they would have died young anyway, given that the nations of Christendom were yet again going to enlist their young men in a war so terrible it would be called a World war.
But i also thought that if we can remember them, and feel for them, and wish so much they could have survived, how much more does their Creator, Jehovah, feel for them and remember them and long to see them again.
"If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? All the days of my compulsory service I shall wait, Until my relief comes. You will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning." - Job 14:14,15
They were the work of Jehovah's hands, so I hope He longs for the time when He calls them out death, re-creates them from the ground of dust, and they live again.
Maybe He will wake them up in the mountains that they loved?