Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
Dispatches tagged as:
mountains (29)

So. We had one last mountain to climb on this day, and on this walk: Le Brevent, at 2525m. And, along the way, we would make two big decisions that would change our memories of this walk forever....   (read more)

The sun is behind the escarpment, and so off of our little lofty bowl of lake and refuge. But it is still emphatically lighting up the massif, including the grand old white beast, Mt. Blanc herself, out to our west. The sight is completely majestic and magnificent. “This is it,” Tim says. And I know he's nailed it. This is everything we came to see, in one sprawling, stunning, glowing, larger-than-life tableau. This is it....   (read more)

Today's walk was to include: * a leisurely ramble through a flower-and-butterfly-filled valley; * a climb up to an entirely decent col overlooking a big ole glacier, with a herd of ibex down on some cliffs below, and which took us over the border into Switzerland; and * a couple of hours of actual rain, and a slog therethrough - the only real rain event we experienced on a TEN-DAY WALK....   (read more)

Day Five of the TMB was a day of superlatives, including: * The longest, hardest climb I (for one) have ever done; * The biggest single hunk of towering massif we'd ever see in one place (the Grandes Jorasses) - at the foot of which sat: * By far the most amazing refuge (or, perhaps, lodging of any kind) most of us had ever enjoyed....   (read more)

The photo above depicts me in, or just before, the moments when I felt, more than at any other time before or since, that it was possible I might lose my life. Obviously I didn't die, and reasonable people seem to disagree about how much danger I was actually in. But there can be no question that I've never been so scared. In my mind, at the very least, this was a no-bullshit, breath-stealing, pulse-supercharging, this-could-really-be-it (the end of my whole story, right here and now) tango with death....   (read more)

Morning douches, a killer snow descent, shin betrayal, a murderous slog in the sun, the ascent of death, raging runoff, the most stunning col yet, my best photography ever, God's front room, badass Aussies, shower follies, and Tim's sledding fail....   (read more)

Planning catastrophes, sniffy French, closed-out mountain passes, crushing climbs, severely beautiful mountain vistas, dicing with death on snow diagonals, braving ridicule in snow gaiters, assault by the sun, the best refuge spot ever (so far) - and of course the titular miracle....   (read more)

TMB Day 1, Les Houches to Les Contamines: to include the first punishing climb; the first stunning mountain col - and (not unrelatedly) the first snowfield across the path; the first knee-murdering, endless descent; plus the amazing Refuge di Miage, Lynchian cows, and also much witty banter....   (read more)

Gobsmackingly beautiful mountain vistas... ass-smashing, neverending, unprecedented, merciless climbs... traverses over treacherous icy escarpments and steep snow diagonals... at least one genuine, no-bullshit, breath-stealing, this-could-really-be-it dice with death... climbs over cols and around glaciers of soul-tweaking beauty and grandeur... close encounters with Alpine wildlife (such as ibex, chamois, and marmots)... and nights in remote refuges perched in absolutely unbelievably stunning mountaintop settings (that could only be reached by Alpine trekkers, and resupplied by helicopter)....   (read more)

So when we last left our heroes, I was banged up with a bum leg, nursing pints in the Glen Nevis Inn, counting curios; Tim had hiked off alone to Ft. William, just by way of something to do; and we were both locked in a death struggle with boredom and unaccustomed idleness - and wondering if the jewel in the crown of our hundred-mile Highland hike, Ben Nevis, was going to be forever out of reach....   (read more)

Given that my foot/leg hurt like hell overnight, just lying in bed, I figured mountain climbing today might be out. And when Tim threw the curtains back at 7am, outside was: soup....   (read more)

Well, it was the last walking day, and all we had to do was climb out of this strangely industrial Shangri-La. That of course meant Up....   (read more)

Awoke from a series of long, vivid, detailed dreams (probably something to do with being in a real bed!); and Tim and I went down to the dining room (a dining room!) for a leisurely continental breakfast (breakfast!)....   (read more)

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the well-appointed, if slim, West Highland Way Sleeper dining room. The morning train went by outside....   (read more)

Well, the Large Hadron Collider had gone online. And we were still there. That was a nice start to the day - not having been sucked into a small black hole, nor woken up to find that stranglets had devoured the entire planet, leaving only an inert hyperdense sphere 100 meters across....   (read more)

At 3295 feet, glowering over the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond is Scotland's southern-most Munro. Today was the day we would pause our northerly march to climb it. ...   (read more)

During our breakfast at the big table in the big kitchen of the bunkhouse-y B&B, we were joined by a man leading a tour... So then it pretty much a matter of getting ourselves down off of Conic Hill, and onto the shores of Loch Lomond - the bonny banks of which we'd be walking along for the next two days....   (read more)

Morning, breakfast in an amazing upstairs room with, reassuringly (to, you know, me) several guns on the wall. Rather less reassuringly, there was this countour map of the West Highlands, which our hosts thought they were being helpful in pointing out to us....   (read more)

Morning, breakfast in an amazing upstairs room with, reassuringly (to, you know, me) several guns on the wall. Rather less reassuringly, there was this countour map of the West Highlands, which our hosts thought they were being helpful in pointing out to us....   (read more)

Morning now, and I am standing on the stairs to the slide of the camp site playground, soaking up the first sunlight. I am not sitting here, nor anywhere, due to the dew, which is just a monster. The surface of the world couldn't be any more drenched if a thunderstorm had stopped five seconds ago....   (read more)

Awoke rather dreamy and refreshed - especially after an extra, post-rollover hour of sleep. The new sun and fresh breeze were both blasting in the window - ah, another glorious day, imagine that. Perhaps I am God. How would you know for sure, really?...   (read more)

Yes, of course, I know, it's always the Michael Show here. However, it is about to become All Michael, All the Time / Too Much Michael Is Never Enough / I Want My M(ichael)TV Channel. Walking alone, the dispatches inevitably become more or less the Story of Me....   (read more)

Awoke ten minutes before my alarm was to go off (I know - but we were meeting for breakfast, and generally wanted to get an early start) to an absolutely glorious morning. While languorously performing my toilette in the sparklingly lit mirrors of the immaculate bathroom, the radio reports: "Twenty-two degrees today, clear skies, cool breezes - and plenty of sunshine!"...   (read more)

Oh, and by the bye - would you have any interest in taking a crack at Ben Nevis, perhaps in August?...   (read more)

And so morning arrived at the gloriously well-appointed camp site that was somehow wildly inferior to all the pub back yards we'd camped in. Note to self, I thought: Four pints is one pint too many....   (read more)

As well, we couldn't afford to get lost up here. Miles from any town, isolated up in the peaks, hemmed in by weather . . . we could end up doing circles, or heading off in some wrong direction, until we succumbed to the weather and exhaustion....   (read more)

So the Retained Technical Consultant on our Coast to Coast Walk was one Josh Schroeder - extremely experienced hiker/camper, Eagle Scout, and all around prince of a guy....   (read more)

So did I forget to mention the American? (Aka the Quiet American, aka the Ugly American.) We first met this august gentleman at the station in Carlisle, where our rail connection to St. Bees was cancelled and replaced by a bus service....   (read more)

So I actually spent a lot of time worrying about, and trying to figure out how to avoid, dying in that Land Cruiser we took to Serengeti....   (read more)

about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (2014); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of spec-ops zombie apocalypse dark action thrillers. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book , by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
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