So I took on a video project for Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton. The track was called ‘King of the Mountain’, I’m handy enough in the mountains… So off I went for a self film extravaganza. I had waited months for decent snow… Ken videos need to be ‘EPIC’ these days don’t they???
Now I had been walking a lot over christmas, taking every opportunity to set myself long and arduous map crossing quests, this I thought would at least in part, prepare me for lugging heavy fluid head tripods, camera lens / bodies etc up snow banks and over summits of epic spindrift and up crags of black indifference. However……. I was wrong; hence this title. Honestly I’ve been struggling with living in a city, in a polarised society of uninformed idiocy. Mountains are to me a fortress where I can retreat, a place where the trappings of human society simply do not exist or matter. They are an escape. On this day on the flanks on Ben Narnain the snow was fresh and deep, up to my knees for the most part, up to my waste at points. The weather would go from freezing, calm sunshine to abject white out and 40knot winds. It was exciting, it looked epic, I got good shots for as long as my lens would stay clean or the lithium ion kept running current. However it took me forever to make progress, the constant faff of videography. Gloves off, lens cap off, clean lens, set up shot, clean lens, gloves back on, find ice axe, clean lens, start recording, walk into distance walk back, clean lens. Batteries flat, change battery. Camera back in bag, strap tripod on, gloves back on, rucksack on, ice axe. Right foot into snow up to knee, Left foot into snow up to hip. Rebalance… Hack ice axe in to powdery snow. No purchase. Hack more, find purchase. So on So on Repeat Repeat. You get the idea. I got to a place I know to be visually epic, the spearhead / crossbow. I stood for ages looking up at the menacing crags, spindrift in spirals of excellence stabbing my face like an exuberant acupuncturist. It looked dangerous, every so often a slab of loosely compacted snow would slip off and drown the angular crevice where I assumed the path used to be. I didn’t know, though I have been up, down and around it several times before and could picture it in my mind. Reality did not match this picture and though my gps confirmed my position to be correct I just couldn’t bring myself to cross the breach. I’m not gonna lie, I sat behind boulder and whimpered a bit, not crying tears, just whimpering quietly like a dog that misses it’s master. I sat there till I got cold, I felt weak, inconsequential and thoroughly beaten. I crawled for while and slowly rose to my knees and headed for the shoulder where I knew a burn and that it would lead me down. You know mountains don’t care, they are massive lumps of heartless rock, we project soul onto them but they have no soul. This is the truth, despite all the romantic notions that they inspire in us. So this is a painting about weakness, how it is ok to feel weak and that getting close to the edge is good. It is good for curbing your ego, for accepting that you are weak and unimportant and that to turn back is in fact a strength. The folly of ego is exactly that… a folly, a delusion, an implacable stain on humanity. The meek shall inherit the earth!
P.S. The gold is hope OK?