I’ve walked up here twice. The first time it was moody and overcast. There wasn’t much to see and Le Vignemale was cloaked in gloom. This year wasn’t sunny either but it was light as opposed to dark. Perhaps you’ve noticed a change in British weather forecasts. They refer to white cloud. White cloud means grey and black cloud exist too and we have to differentiate. I find it a curious and dismal idea, as if we might celebrate white cloud weather like petrol prices dropping a few pence when the price range is the problem. Turned out nice again, people say in Britain, when it means there’s no rain.

Le Vignemale is a very dramatic mountain and worth exploring photographically. I got video here too. It was the favourite mountain of an eccentric chap called Henry Russell. He spent a great deal of time exploring Le Vignemale and cut three caves into the rock where he slept and apparently held dinner parties. You need a large amount of money to indulge yourself in such a manner and that was his background. A few times, wandering the Pyrenees, I’ve considered what I would do with great wealth. You could buy or build your own refuge, helicopter in and out, and indeed hold dinner parties. That would however radically change the experience and thus the meaning of the mountains. It’s a curious thought. In normal life wealth protects you from unpleasant circumstances and provides you with comforts and pleasures. Everything changes in the mountains. They’re a kind of existential playground. If you don’t recognise them as such you lose the essence of it.

 

Pyrenees Photography: Le Vignemale Approach

Monday November 17, 2014