“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” – Jeffrey Rasley
In my day job i am used to the loss of friends, colleagues and others who share my occupation. it is “par for the course” in a way. If you stick your head in the lions mouth then occasionally it will get bitten.
Horrible, sad, and unjust. But it happens.
One of the principle reasons i “escape” as often as i can to the mountain environment is for the yang that it brings to the ying of the day job. For calm , space, mindfulness, and to decompress.
Because of this, as i read the profiles of Herve Gourdel on the global media, not just on the BBC and Reuters but on climbing blogs and photography blogs and across the mountaineering community of France, I was filled with a certainty that the truth would out. That the love that Herve had for the natural environment, for his clients and friends and the adventures that he shared with them would save him. The truth would out and he would be free to return to mountain guiding.
Surely the utter fucked-upedness of religious hatred, jihadism and slaughter in the name of whichever splinter group you were beheading people on behalf of this week had no place in the world of a fifty five year old silver haired mountain goat. Surely some uncrossable line. some milligram of common sense, of respect, of reality, would save Herve.
Jund al-Khilaffah had a different plan.
When a practitioner of one of the most peaceful (in both the political and environmental senses) of occupations suffers the fate that befell Herve somehow it just seems extraordinarily wrong.
The mountains, and by default, in my humble opinion, belong not to any call to arms but to the call of the eagle, to the jangle of the climbing rack, to the banter of happy times and the clink of post-route beers.
Miniscule condolence it may be, but I sincerely hope that in those wretched last seconds Herve could draw on the experiences of over three decades spent in the mountains. That all he could see and hear was the smiles and banter of his climbing partners and the call of the soaring eagle over a mountain vista.
I hope he can rest in peace.