On Top (Dec. 11)

The wind is strong, the air is thin, and the cold is biting, but beneath the white shell of my coat and thick Irish wool, I am warm.  The sun is bright on one side, and a shadow keeps the snow cold on the one side.  I can see for miles, and Dave produces a compass from one of the many pockets that populate his pants so that we can point ourselves South in hopes of seeing the Matterhorn.  Nearly three thousand meters in the atmosphere, and all I see are white-tipped spines and low, wispy clouds that cover a few choice summits.  Eventually we speed down on waxed planks clamped to stiff boots, looking for occasional pockets of powder amongst the runways of ice.  Legs aching and nose stinging from the descent, we climb back into line to pack into a cable car to taxi us back to the top.  I think I like being on top about as much as I like going down.

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