Waking up the next day, excitement and anxiety was tremendous. What will I have to expect on the top and before and after? Isaks Varde was the mountain top I had to pass. So prominently placed on my route and on the maps I was wondering and puzzled about the fact that this mountain top had not been referenced to in the internet at all.
There were a couple of aspects that caused some nervousness. The experiences of the days before proved that the Saga maps were quite inaccurate. Height indications differed significantly by some 100 meters from reality. The glacier I was about to traverse was very alive in recent history. The glacier tongue that grew by 10-15 km quite recently certainly led to some changes also in the glaciers feeding area at its top. But how much?
Anyway, the first part of the glacier looked friendly. A steep climb on rock solid ice was expecting me in the beginning. This climb flattened later to a more knee-friendly ascent. The crampons again provided very good grip on the ice and despite the heavy ascent in the beginning progress was good.
Speed kills was something I learnt during the many years of hiking. Speed kills not only due to danger of exhaustion and successive hypothermia but also because it leads to a lack of concentration which is equally dangerous especially when exposed to dangerous areas and situations in which you are totally dependent on your own, your own skills, preparedness, and alertness like here. It was my key principle on this trip, to take the time and hike well below the physical limits of exhaustion, stopping frequently for short rests.
Sometimes, especially right in the beginning of my trip in those difficult parts, where the backpack was still fully loaded, with the route taking you uphill on sometimes very soft ground I made breaks almost every 20 meters. When I was younger this would have caused enormous stress to myself due to the little progress I made. Today, I have much more patience.
A key rule was to stop and make a break, whenever signs of a lack of concentration become evident. Every time I stumpled, I stopped and rested even if would have been just for a minute or two. It was a key principle which I carefully obeyed. Every time, I was in a situation that required particular alertness like crossing a river, walking along a narrow slope, walking across a snow bridge, or even walking in areas of glacier with a lot of crevasses I stopped and rested.