Norway - Enormous crevasses of Brigsdal Glacier
( Originally Published 1907 )
Surroundings—We are standing on the edge of the ice. The valley is behind us.
The intense light reflected from this glittering mass of ice made it necessary to cut short the time of exposing the photographic negative, hence the darkness and lack of detail in the figures of the men.
This is the way they use the rope which we first saw carried in a coil on the guide's shoulder. If there were three or four men together making an ascent of the glacier, they would all be fastened to one rope in this manner, then, if one should slip, or if ice should give way under him, the others could, by maintaining their own footing, pull him back to safety. Though the rope is not large, it is amazingly strong, being woven especially for such use by mountaineers. It is usually kept a bit slack between each two men—not so slack that a person could fall far, and yet not so taut that one person's fall would too promptly pull the next man along with him. The right tension is a matter for expert judgment.
The ice axe is used chiefly for chopping out steps on surfaces where there would otherwise be no foothold. The pointed end of the axe is invaluable as giving a support. Thor Eide's brawny arms could easily drive it so far into a mass of ice that the em-bedded staff would serve as a substantial post.
It was in 1895 that Aabrekke and another guide named Bing climbed over this glacier for the first time. From half-past seven one morning to half-past four that afternoon they were cutting their way over the glittering blue ice, part of the way like this, much of it immeasurably worse, with the probability—in case of a fall—of being dashed to pieces over a hundred-foot cliff of ice, or being frozen to death in the fathomless depths of some dark and treacherous crevasse.
Lake Olden, beautiful as it is, has a neighbor perhaps more beautiful still. Turn to Map 8 once more, and see how Loen Lake fills another space between the mountains a little farther to the northeast. Our next position is to be where the map shows a red 75, on the east side of the lake.