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Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

On Mountains Photographs & Stories

Foreword by Journalist Carlos Pinto Coelho & by Climber Jo達o Garcia


On Mountains | Joテ」o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

JOテグ Miguel Pissarra Coelho GIL has since young been interested in photography, through reading and practice. His work has been recognised in several international and national contests, exhibitions, his signed and numbered photographs, and the photography workshops he offers. He mostly photographs landscapes, peoples and cultures. After 10 years in another profession, he founded Alma Lux Photographia in 2007, as a professional photographer. His passion for photography is linked to that of being in the mountains, travelling and making contact with other cultures. He has visited several mountains and natural parks in Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, United States, Cape Verde and the Alps, with mountaineering clubs or friends. He is a member of the Mountaineering Club of Espinho and of the Portuguese Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (FPME, in Portuguese). He holds a PhD in Telecommunications, from the Technical University of Lisbon. He was a lecturer and researcher at the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria and at the Telecommunications Institute in Coimbra and Lisbon. He was born on the 10th of September 1971, in Coimbra.


On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

NUNO Filipe VERDASCA da Costa Pereira started enjoying photography in his teens, after attending a Beginners Photography Course at the Youth Institute in Leiria. He has participated in several international and national photography contests, winning several prizes. He photographs landscapes, travels, urban environments, sports and abstract themes. In his spare time, besides photography and other sports, he usually practices mountaineering and alpinism. He has developed activities in Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Alps and the Rocky Mountains (BC). He is a member of the Mountaineering Club of Espinho and of the Portuguese Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (FPME, in Portuguese). He holds a Biology Degree from the Sciences Faculty of the Classical University of Lisbon. Since then, he works at the Virology Centre, now the Department of Infectious Diseases, of the National Institute of Health, in Lisbon. He was born on the 26th of November 1972, in Leiria.


On Mountains Photographs & Stories


© João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca Editorial Design: João M. Gil Editor: João M. Gil Production:

www.imagens&letras.pt Translation of texts: João M. Gil Translation of forewords: Brian Goodfellow ISBN - 978-989-8153-20-3 Printed in Portugal All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Authors.


Foreword I From the clouds they brought us a book Everyday, in the comfort of a warm plane cabin, thousands of people fly over the frozen Iberian summits, drinking coffee and reading magazines. These weary travellers no longer look at the scenery through the window; their only concern is the minutes remaining until landing. The white curd down below, still and distant like an old painting hung on the living room wall, lies silent. So, why do some travellers decide to forsake the easy way and undertake arduous efforts by foot, with heavy rucksacks, over rough terrain? Why do they wander, sometimes in error on the wrong paths, and suffer the harsh air of high altitudes? And for what reason, as most of these landscapes have already been discovered, their sceneries observed, photographed and filmed ad infinitum? What impulses, what inner energy is required to repeat what is known and has already been explored? How does the inner clock of these travellers run? What are the beliefs and desires of these pilgrims? What obscure objective do they pursue? And when will they finally feel satisfied, knowing that there will always be one more path to follow, one more danger to overcome, one more adrenalin filled moment, and one more surprise to be revealed? Where does THE END appear on the path of these adventurers? All seems senseless. But, of course, in the end, it all makes perfect sense. Think of the blissful voluntary isolation of the hermit, the joy of the lone sailor with only the sea and sky, or the pianist striving for perfection. Think of the way in which an athlete sacrifices himself daily to build an existence. All these struggles are what thousands of diverse lives are built on. As the great symphony of existence plays on, it is these arrhythmias that give colour to its harmony, it is these dissonances that flavour the music, it is these harmonics that lighten its chords. Without these struggles there would not be a large enough palette to accept all the hues that make up the colours of life. 1


Having seen the reason for such book, we still need to understand it. As a pure and simple diary, this book kindly shares with us the authors’ experiences; this in itself is a reason for the book to exist. Many hours and days of roaming among stones, clouds, trees and horizons, laced with smells and heavy with tiredness. Many hours of fright, contemplation, heat, cold, always in the shadow of immense landscapes. This book shows all this in a serene, tranquil and always passionate way. Here photography does not dominate the text, but rather enhances it. ‌ And you end up liking the characters in this story. They show that, to go up the mountains and look at the world from above, one needs to know where to securely place each foot, one after the other. They report their deeds, with an accuracy that lures us, and a candidness that comforts us. Carlos Pinto Coelho A Photographer and Storyteller

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Foreword II Climbing mountains is my life’s endeavour. But I am not the only one. Reading this book gives me a sense of déjà vu, since the experiences described here seem very familiar to me. In Portugal many have found that the experience of the mountains have matured and developed them as people. I have been one of them. I say this having trod most of the mountains photographed and described here. I grew up on them in Portugal, I have matured on many of them in Europe, and later I went to the Himalayas to develop further. This book also tells the story of one of many friendships that have strengthened due to the magic of the snows, of the altitude and of the elements. The key element of course is the weather…..always playing tricks on us. These photographs and stories, linked together in this book, are worthy of appreciation and allow others, which still haven’t had the good fortune of observing the rare beauty that mountains have to offer, to see what they are missing. This book should be read silently and should be an inspiration to all those who wish to visit the mountains for sheer pleasure! João Garcia A Man of the Mountains of the World

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On Mountains | João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

Introductory Notes A Book and an Exhibition of Photographs and Stories

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he work On Mountains (OM) drives from the friendship between the authors and their admiration for the Mountains and for Photography. It is explained by a spiritual and sensorial relation towards mountains. Though the acronym OM has by chance emerged, its great spiritual relevance to Buddhism and Hinduism, also sharing roots with Yoga, totally makes sense. It is also fascinating how “Om” means “spring”, “source”, “river” or “running water” in some ancient Celtic origin languages (such word may also be the etymological root for some river names in Portugal). These running waters originate in the mountains and run down from them. Its title carries a blend of meanings: it refers to the photographic vision that the authors have on these issues; these are views taken on things at altitudes higher than those of their daily lives; these are ways of seeing upon the less obvious, besides the photographic commonplace; these are views of mountaineers, while practicing the sport, but also views that originate from the mountains. Initially this work took form as an itinerant exhibition. But, since its foundation, we concluded that we did not want just another photography exhibition. We did seek the creation of a work that, while being simple and by means of photographs, would reflect the multiple emotions and sensorial experiences of being in the mountains. In our views, we felt that the right formula would be merging the two components together, Photography and Text. And, in fact, the response of the people that attend the exhibition has been the one we so much desired for, even astounding. This also led us to taking a step further, towards the accomplishment of this book. Our objective is to, here down below, among these houses and in the comfort that they provide, take the mind and the heart of the observer up there, among valleys and peaks, to the snow and Sun, the cold and the heat, the trees and rivers, the sharp cold wind and the cosiness of a nocturnal shelter. We invite the reader to make random incursions through the book, depending on the areas and themes that provide the best imaginary escape, at the 5


On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

end of the day. The sequence does not follow any chronological order, and the stories are independent from any other. The correlation with photography film rolls has determined the number of photographs and respective texts (36). These have been registered between 1999 and 2008, during several outings in several mountains of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Cape Verde. Also, following a natural technical and information demand, at the end of the book we indicate the photographic equipment used for taking these photographs. We hope that the book, as is the case of mountains, may be appreciated by people of any age; for some, bringing up the interest for them; for others, recalling memories of past experiences; but always motivating all for a respectful and wise assembly with mountains. Along its instructive and interventional role, the work includes a simple glossary explaining some of the mountaineering jargon used in the stories, as well as two Credos written by two people that live for and by the mountains, pointing at important issues in their protection. We prefer to go to the mountains, to see them, smell them, touch, hear, savour them, feeling small in them. But until then, we leave you to these views and minds on mountains, full of the emotions and experiences of those unforgettable moments. We wish you good outings in the mountains.

The reason that I keep writing is that all my most powerful messages about the fates of wild places that I care about need to have words as well as images. Galen Rowell 6


On Mountains | JoĂŁo M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

For the Mountains

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e see that, sadly, mountains are very much mistreated and disrespected. There are the frequent Summer forest fires, mass tourism trends, the indiscriminate use of the existent environmental resources, among other issues. Also, there is a profound phenomenon, imperceptible to some, that has gradually been setting in, in the evolution of our societies, towards more sedentary habits, mechanisation, more time engaging and excessive work. This is also linked to an increasingly great divide between people and soil, land, rocks, trees, forest and Nature. Many times it is as if, for the most busy citizen, the news about these matters are curiosities coming from afar, from places that one visits for special occasions, a party, holidays or corporate meetings held for team-building. For many, going to the mountains is something radical and dangerous. It is where you are cold and everything is uncomfortable. It necessarily means snow. It is where accidents happen, judging from the news that often come up in the media. For others it has become a chance for using new clothes, manufactured with the most varied fabrics, brands and rich colours. It is an occasion for using new electronic equipment and, once more, to keep contact with machines and technology. Truly, for many, going to the mountains has become a way to develop urbanity, to feel updated, trendy and adventurous. But Mountains is much more, and much less, than this. We consider that, in appreciation for mountains, we should do something more to defend and help preserve their ecosystems and environments, so ecologically, culturally and socially fragile. We should act more to disclose them further, in their essence. The truth is that, only by making them more acknowledged and by knowing them better do they stand a better chance of better protection, to access them in the best way and to evolve as better citizens. In the same way as an artist’s piece , it needs to be known and accessible, in order to be valued, understood and even protected. We defend that a good and useful way to do it is to respectfully show it along our views about them. We want to convey the simple approach with which we face moun7


On Mountains | JoĂŁo M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

tains, coexisting with them, not colliding or competing with them. You can be in the mountains without large apparatus, enterprises, dependencies, costs or, even, unnecessary risks to your life. You can go without feeling cold or thirsty. We can and should go there with an open mind, for the communication with local cultures and peoples, whose very much empirical knowledge has been, in itself, historically respectful towards the mountains. As with everything in life, as in a simple bus ride in a city or in crossing the street, going to the mountains has its rules, if you want to make the most of your experience and repeat it other times. But, again as in everything in our lives, including in Photography, such rules must not limit freedom, or help create fears, justify or feed prohibitions. Those rules are made for, in the freedom and in need to contact with Nature, make maximal use of what it makes available to us and to repeat it, in only one way – a natural way!

To photograph : it is to place the head, the eye and the heart in the same line of sight. It is a way of life. Henri Cartier-Bresson

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On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

For Photography

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he way that On Mountains makes use of Photography intends to go beyond the aesthetic and technical exercises commonly linked to Landscape and Mountain Photography. It is through the blend of photographs with the respective texts, short, simple and descriptive, that Photography gains greater dimension and depth. It is in the emotional and sensorial dimensions that the photographs develop on, when in a second look at the photograph you admire it in the context of the described experience. Though this combination, we help the reader to travel to the mountains. And to accomplish the defined objectives, we used several ingredients to which we have kept loyal in their application, regarding Photography: we have sought and used the best quality film, using professional slide film for best visual acuteness, resolution and colour depth, so vital for large sized quality prints; in the field, we have resorted to techniques with rigour and the necessary care; along the rules of composition, we have followed them or not, conscientiously; each one of us, on his outings and following his own instinct, have made numerous photographs in numerous places, along several years; we have applied the judicious exercise of choosing the best photographs, leaving many behind; we ourselves have carefully digitally scanned the film, and digitally processed the files fully respecting the photographed reality, never twisting it, nor cropping and nor altering colour; for the exhibition, we have printed the photographs ourselves, keeping all equipment calibrated, for the best exceptional quality in large prints. If all of this is Photography, and if Photography is much more, this book also aims at being a small but definite contribution for this immense field that goes much further beyond the cameras.

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There is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it. (...) What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. George Mallory


On Mountains | João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

Lines in the sky

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he TMB (Tour du Mont Blanc) is one of the oldest and most well-known European treks (if we can call it that). By going around the Mont Blanc massif on foot, it goes through France, Italy and Switzerland. For people with normal physical preparation, it takes 9 days, average. Along the route you follow through cols and valleys with diverse characteristics and landscapes. This photograph was taken on the second day, in the area of La Balme (approx. 1700 m), on the way up to the Col de Bonhomme. The sky was drawn in lines of high altitude clouds and the temperature was pleasant. In the photograph you can see our path coming up, in a beautiful area of grazing fields and forest. Above, there would only be rock and small bushes. In the Alps, considered to be the birth of Alpinism and of mountain sports, we contacted with the life habits and importance that mountains have to those people, with no barriers between generations to enjoy them. On the TMB, we saw men, women and children, with ages from 8 to 80, and of various nationalities. The spirit of these people, and also ours, was remarkable, saying and hearing many “Bon jour!”. This helped us forget the pains in our legs and to carry on the long journey. There was no rubbish around, people didn’t step over each other, there was communication and visual contact. There is visual contact only when you are at ease and tranquil. Clearly, it was Man in the mountains at its best. 12


Alps

On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

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On Mountains | João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

It looked like the summit

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he peak of Peña Trevinca (2127 m, Sanábria National Park, in Galicia) was never visible along the way up, from the mountain hut in Vilanova. We had been surrounded by dense fog, all the way. Our world was made of us, some meters around us, the sound of the crampons on the ice and of water streams far away. When reaching a top, the fog disappeared, to leave us with the blue sky that the photograph shows. It was beautiful, the ice was excellent, and or euphoria led us to believe that this top was “our” Peña Trevinca. On the way back, the fog closed around us again and, without realising it, us four turned towards South, instead of going North. Some minutes after that, already off our previous tracks, we suspected the way we were leading. We checked the compass and the map. It was difficult to be convinced, but the fog and surely a ferrous mineral vein had completely mixed our references up. The same with the compasses. After putting some though, talking, using the reference points possible, we returned to our previous correct path. The fog is capable of creating other worlds around us, and making us loose references completely. The experience of that day confirmed us that even 4 mountaineers may easily get lost if they get too distracted, all making the same mistakes. The map and compass are a must but, even though, must not be the only orientation means.

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Pe単a Trevinca

On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

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On Mountains | João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

In the country of smurfs

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e arrived at Folgosinho in the night. After a quick check on our rucksacks and having a light dinner, we started our walk under a magnificent starry sky. We bivouacked in a forest area, for a restful night. Next day, we carried on along several diverse woods. In Senhora de Assedasse we paused for a rest, admired the peace and made the most of the shade from a centuries-old oak besides the chapel. Along the valleys, we crossed local “resisting” residents that still work in those fields. Upon arriving at Covão da Ponte (in Serra da Estrela Natural Park, in Portugal), the autumnal Sun was going down. We gathered wood and twigs for a fire, prepared our bivouac and dinner. Everything very light, quick and really simple. But the night was different from the previous one, with temperatures dropping seriously. The decision to take our light sleeping bags cost us a freezing cold night. We got up before the sunrise – it was time for lots of photographs. The fields were covered with thick frost. River Mondego, the woods and the morning mist contributed to a quite mystic atmosphere. There was a profusion of enormous mushrooms (Amanita Muscaria), that seemed also to be waking up. Everything made us think that we were in the country of smurfs, all awakening. On the way back, we went through part of the Roman ways, a sign that those places had already long been used by many peoples and cultures. In Folgosinho, we just gave in to another meal, worthy of the place. 28


On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

Serra da Estrela

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On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

Alps

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On Mountains | João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

The great and the tiny

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ur   final day in the area had arrived. We had reached Zermatt through the Europaweg, 3 days before, having until then seen little of the Matterhorn. In fact, in this last day, the Sun won. And so did we. We went up on the touristy train to Gornergrat. The “touristy” is something that we usually do not seek. It was Summer and in Zermatt anything “touristy” just is so, no chance. At the top, totally overcast, the world seemed to be made of dreaming tourists. For them, that was being in the pure mountains. We were fed up with seeing clouds and some of us had a feeling of antropophobia – the experience was worse than what we had expected. Sometimes the great wall of Monte Rosa, Liskum, Polux, Castor and the Breithorn would appear and all the mob reacted with the same Pavlovian instinct – run in the same direction, open the mouth, say “Ah!” and shoot with their camera. After despairing and waiting for the Sun, we went down one single train stop and left the train. There, the Sun was part of that world, and the tourists had been left behind. The Matterhorn and its neighbours appeared with all full splendour and great power. The reflections in the lakes were excellent, with no wind. Our slide films were running out. The space was ours, the sky included. The silence was only slightly broken by the train going down, full with our tourist “friends”. Some of us walked with their hands in their pockets. Others, silently, risked getting a tendinitis in their right forefinger, seeing the world TTL (Through the Lens). This photograph is a proof of that. It also shows how in a chill-out day, after having sweat and gained some pains in our feet, after many days, feeling big or small is really very relative.

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On Mountains | João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

The green woods

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he remains of a night in Queima das Fitas (the student’s feast in Coimbra) were still visible, when we arrived in Coimbra. We were meeting with a friend that would come with us for his first outing in the mountains. The long journey to the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park (in the Aragonese Pyrenees) followed. Doing some catching up helped pass the time. In the following day, with the rucksacks in our backs and walking poles in our hands, we head to the Góriz Hut, at the heart of the Park. The Spring mild temperature followed us. There was snow only at high altitude and on the walls facing North. Along the way, we were frequently greeted with the presence of marmots, allowing us to get very close. I don’t know if they were weak from their hibernation, or if they wanted to make the most of the solar heat. Or maybe they knew that we presented no threat. Those were very relaxing days, with many excursions around the hut. On one of the hikes, at the top of Punta Arrablo (2520 m), we found an element that didn’t fit into that mountain environment – a scallop shell! Still today I am eager to know how it got there. Had it been left by someone on the Way of St. James? I didn’t find any references of any route close by. Maybe it had another special meaning. From there we could see the Cañon de Añisclo, the Cilindro de Marboré, Monte Perdido and the whole Ordesa Valley. Its woods, that in Spring show new bright green foliage, result in beautiful chromatic bands along the valley. This photograph was taken in the great beech (Fagus Sylvatica) wood, on our return along the valley. The green tonality that we observe comes from the light that crosses the thin tender beech leaves, helping them wake up for the new cycle. The trip didn’t finish until the bravest of us had the courage for a dive in the cold waters of river Arazas.

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Pyrenees

On Mountains | Jo達o M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

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Snowf lakes falling with the silence

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enter   a clearing, leaving the dense oak forest. I had walked through a very visible path, under magnificent oaks. Along my steps, I had decided that such would be the very best forest hiking route that I had ever known, and that such track should not be used by those that are careless towards forests. I, myself, had mentally signed a treaty on the principles of returning only with people that would be special to me. Not others. Was I being fair? I had felt welcomed by that centuries-old forest, almost divine, while walking among impressive trunks, as if I was being awarded for something whose explanation I didn’t understand. Maybe because of the simple fact of being there, and in respect. Such simple fact, then, was the important thing for my

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On Mountains | João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca

Serra do Gerês

Being. And in the future, I had a deal to keep, in favour of loyalty towards those trees. The day had begun lousy, in terms of light for photography. I knew, however, that towards late afternoon a cold air mass would be arriving, from the East. It might bring snow. And, actually, when getting to that clearing, as if in celebration for the previous magical socialising moments with those trees, I was saluted with the first Autumn snowflakes. And when snow falls, a unique silence also sets in. I feel the noises of streams and of a car being muffled. I say to myself, aloud, “Aaaahhh. I come to the mountains for this”. 87


I knew that victory isn’t getting to the summit, but coming back down below, safe and sound, and sit around a table with friends, recalling how things were. in “A Mais Alta Solidão”, (The Upmost Solitude, in Portuguese), João Garcia


Photographic Equipment For the making of the photographs in this book the authors have used: João M. Gil Camera Bodies: Nikon F80 (35mm); Hasselblad XPAN II (panoramic); Mamiya M7II (6x7, Medium Format, MF) Lenses: Nikon 24mm f/2.8D Nikkor AF, Sigma 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical Macro HF for 35mm; Hasselblad Xpan 45mm f/4 and Hasselblad XPAN 30mm f/5.6 for XPAN; Mamiya 7II N50mm f/4.5L for M7II Films: Kodak Ektachrome (E) 100VS and GS; Fujichrome Velvia ISO 50 and 100 (35mm and 220) Tripods: Manfrotto 190MF4 MagFiber with Manfrotto 484RC2 Mini head and RC2 plate; Posso P5200 (cheep, useful, light and simple tripod) Filters: UV, Polarisers, Neutral Density Grads, Kaiser, Tiffen, Cokin, Sigma and Hasselblad Film Scanning: Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 (35mm) and Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 (35mm and MF) scanners, using Ed Hamrick’s Vuescan or Nikon Scan Exhibition Prints: Epson Stylus PRO 7800 printer, Acid Free photographic paper and Epson Ultracrome K3 inks (prints executed by himself ) Nuno Verdasca Camera Bodies: Nikon F90X; Nikon F80 (35mm) Lenses: Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8, Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX Aspherical D, Nikon 24mm f/2.8D Nikkor AF Films: Kodak Ektachrome (E) 100VS, SW, GX and G; Fujichrome Velvia ISO 50 and 100; Provia ISO 100; Sensia ISO 100 Tripods: Manfrotto 055C/HE 30 with Manfrotto 056 3D Junior head; TITAN (cheep, useful, light and simple tripod) Filters: UV and Polariser, Kaiser and Hoya

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Glossary Autonomy - the characteristic of a mountain activity when food and shelter depend solely on the mountaineer’s pack. Bivouac - to spend the night in the mountains without the shelter of a mountain hut or tent, or setting a simple tent up between sunset and the following sunrise. Bivvy bag - the bag used to cover the sleeping bag, usually waterproof and breathable, for bivouac. Circus - an area surrounded by peaks and ridges, concentrating several water or ice streams in a single valley. Col - the lowest point between two peaks, along the same crest, linking two distinct valleys to opposite sides of the mountain and being a good passage point. Corridor - steep area with snow or ice, surrounded by rocks, providing access to higher altitude. Crampons - metallic tools with defined sharp points (8, 10 or 12 points) that are fit into the base of the boots. These are necessary for climbing along hard snow and ice, safely. First layer - piece of clothes that is worn in direct contact with the skin, for efficient sweating and for keeping body temperature. Gite d´etape - french name for a simple house for accommodating mountaineers, usually typical and inserted in the villages where routes cross. Haute Route - Great Route for mountain hiking or climbing, linking two towns in the Alps, Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland. Ice axe - small tool with the shape of an axe, for helping in moving safely along steep walls of snow or ice. Mountain hut - housing prepared and managed for accommodating mountaineers for comfort, shelter and safety. Thermal blanket - plastic film sheet with a metallic coating, used to cover the climber and reduce body heat loss, in case of emergency and rescue. TMB - the Tour du Mont Blanc is the Great Route for mountain hiking around the Mont Branc massif. Transversal trail - type of mountain hike, between two distinct areas and involving several hiking hours. Trek - long and tough hike, especially in remote areas and for many days. Walking poles - poles such as those of skiing, for relieving strain and balancing weight from knees and ankles towards the arms, useful in long hikes with a backpack or in crossing streams. (Some of these definitions were based on the Climbing and Mountain Dictionary (in Portuguese), by Luís Avelar, at http://luis-avelar.planetaclix.pt/dicionario/dicio_a.htm).

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Authorship of Photographs Photographs by João M. Gil: pp. 18, 21, 26, 28, 33, 38, 40, 43, 48, 51, 52, 60, 63, 68, 70, 76, 82, 88 and cover Photographs by Nuno Verdasca: pp. 15, 17, 22, 24, 31, 34, 45, 46, 55, 57, 59, 67, 73, 74, 79, 80, 85 and 87 All photographs are for sale, signed and numbered. Contact us at: on-mountains@alma-lux-photographia.com

Acknowledgements Several people have helped us in several ways, in the making of this book. We hereby show our kind gratitude to: Carlos Pinto Coelho and João Garcia; José Maria Saraiva and José Carlos Pires; António Costa, Amândio Albuquerque, Brian Goodfellow, Maria João Verdasca, Teresa Galvão Lourenço, João Barroso, Víctor Gil, Augusto Mota, Luís Avelar, Joaquim Pinheiro Brites, Fernando Mendes, José Antunes, Carlos Gomes, Rui Gameiro, Sandra Portela, Luís Jordão, Agata Rodrigues and João Carlos Martins. We would like to thank all our friends with which we have been sharing these adventures, for the good moments of companionship and socialising that they have provided. A special word of appreciation to the Mountaineering Club of Espinho whose members we both are, for their civic action, energy and lightness of being and good spirit that they take up to the mountains.

Thanks to the mountains and the lenses of a photographic camera. 92


Credos for the Mountains Great events always start with small nothings! Climate, environmental and biodiversity problems go together with the gradual reduction of forested areas, worldwide. I hope that the insignificance of “a million oaks for Serra da Estrela” (in Portuguese), whose wave has spread to many other small actions, will be reflected in many waves of people (that will never be too many) to bring back the forest that Serra da Estrela deserves, and that we so badly need! Let it on day spread to other mountains of the Portugal and of the World. José Maria Saraiva A Sower and Defender for the Mountains

The signs of the presence of Man in the mountains are lost in time, much beyond the archeological revelations and the historical reports of territorial occupation. The so rich and unique ecosystems and biodiversity of Peneda Gerês were, most of all, kept by the knowledgeable action of Man in the management of natural resources, along millennia and without the interference of the disturbing actors of the Estate and of modern sects. And, identically, this is happening in other mountains of the World. Them, the mountains, call for us again, to help reestablish the balance that they were used to having. They long for the vezeiras, the flocks and for listening the songs of their shepherds. They respond for each drop of sweat, magically, with the charm and pleasure of living such complicity. Count on us! José Carlos Pires A Communicator and Defender for the Mountains

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Support and Collaboration


Some opinions on the Work “On Mountains” “Thanks for the sweet journey of Peace and Dreams that has been given to me. Thank you! Continue to bring us the voice, the silence, of Mother Nature.” Maria Alexandra Cristino “Thank you for having taken my breath away! Thank you for being able to see beauty! So emotive this is!” Inês de Sousa Amorim “A photographic camera isn’t enough to make photographs such as these. One needs great love for photography and for Nature.” Margarida Lima “Very High Quality Work” Olivia Perin “Wonderful photos! They come from those who live the mountains with the hart. Thanks for your attention.” João Simões “It is difficult, sometimes, to be able to put on paper all emotions, feelings, fears and anxieties. But you guys have done so with wisdom and very eloquently. Thank you for the wonderful photos and for the words that have contributed a lot for changing the way I look at mountains.” Patrícia Martins “The photographic camera has great value with you guys, wherever you are.” João Dias “Splendide, c´était comme si on avait fait partie du voyage!” LS “We leave with the will to live the mountain experience.” Ana, Brian and Sara

ISBN 978-989-8153-20-3

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Profile for Alma Lux Photographia

On Mountains | Photographs & Stories  

This is an extract of the book “On Mountains | Photographs & Stories”, by João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca, launched on the 20th of March 2010.

On Mountains | Photographs & Stories  

This is an extract of the book “On Mountains | Photographs & Stories”, by João M. Gil & Nuno Verdasca, launched on the 20th of March 2010.

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