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Reaching the top just as the sun comes up

Reaching the top just as the sun comes up Reaching the top just as the sun comes up

Marijn Edelenbosch (22), a Dutch fifth-year student at the Fontys Sports University of Applied Science and a member of student climbing association MaasSAC who has seen 4 per cent of the world.

 

The past six years, Marijn Edelenbosch has gone to the Alps for a few weeks every summer with student climbing association MaasSAC. “The first few years, I took courses; you can’t climb a mountain just like that. This year, for the first time, I was able to go out without supervision.”

Exactly where they are going and how long they will stay there, the climbers don't know beforehand. “We check the weather reports; where the weather is good, that’s where we go. We stay until we run out of money. Switzerland is more expensive than Austria, so it goes more quickly there.” Edelenbosch doesn’t need much comfort. “Sometimes we sleep in an Alpine hut, but more often than not we spend the night in the open air. You just put your sleeping bag down on some grass or a flat stone and you sleep outside. There is hardly any light, so you can see all the stars.”

On the morning of the climbing trip, the alarm clock goes off early. “We get up around 3:30/4:30hrs and walk to the spot where the real climb begins. You have to be back on time. When it gets warmer in the afternoon, the snow starts to melt. Stones that were lodged in the snow can come loose and that is dangerous.” Edelenbosch made one of his most memorable trips at night. “It wasn’t a difficult mountain, we could walk, and we didn’t need to climb. It was really clear. The moon shone so brightly that we didn’t need headlamps. A little before six, we reached the top. The sun was just rising from behind the mountain: Magnificent.”

Even though he does not suffer from fear of heights, Edelenbosch occasionally experiences a moment of suspense. “When you can’t find an anchor point and you are already 15 meters away from the previous anchor point then it gets a little tense.” Another difficult thing to do is climbing rocks with crampons (shoes with metal points used to climb ice and snow). “You don’t always have the opportunity to change shoes. Then you find yourself standing on a small rock ledge with two big iron spikes on the fronts of your shoes.”

Edelenbosch doesn’t need to think long about what the climbing trip of his dreams would be. “I would really like to go to the Himalayas. We are looking into organising an expedition for the thirtieth anniversary of MaasSAC next year.”

Cleo Freriks

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