Spring and Mortality in the Southern Alps:

 

In May 2018 a friend and I decided to go mountain climbing. He grew up in a Franconian spa town. Since a child he is familiar with forests and mountains. For me it was the first time in the mountains.

A gap in the cloud cover and a sportive two-seater-car took us to the Julian Alps in Slovenia, 30 kilometers away from the Mediterranean Sea. It was 8 in the evening already when we commenced our ascent. Around midnight we passed the tree line. At 2 am we were too exhausted to go any further. With one night of sleep deprivation my friend directly passed out. I took the chance to time-lapse the Milky Way.  Lying in my sleeping bag, falling asleep, the camera kept busy photographing in intervals.

Early next morning, we needed two more hours for the last stage to the "frn" (Slovenian for "summit").

The day was still young and fresh of cool air coming in from the northern Alps. There we were. Strong winds and storm driven clouds around us. Then suddenly in the golden morning sun-light, we relished the panoramic experience of this altitude and then again big wisps of thick clouds fleeing away with 100 km/h. On the ridge and between the rocks weather turned into every condition physics is permitting in a ongoing alternate.

 

Further on the way back to Italy, we drove through a former mining town. It was a surprising example for how things can come about. Since the mine had been closed in 1991 only an eighth of the original population is still living there. They remain like the mining shafts, existing inside the mountain, old, begot because of deposits the mountain once had.

Young people can't be found there. The school complex is abandoned. The big residential buildings are mute evidences of vital times long gone.The edifices may be there for 10 maybe 30 more years not so the old residents and their stories.

 

 

 

The mining town: