Via Ferrata and Edelweiss

A few Edelweiss

Via Ferrata and Edelweiss can be combined. I was reminded of this when I was looking at Salanfe’s Instagram account images last night. I saw an image of a chamois and her young and then I saw the picture below of an Edelweiss and I wanted to share that I had also seen Edelweiss.

I saw edelweiss on the Via Ferrata de Rougemont on the 31st of August 2014 according to Google Photos. These are rare but nice flowers that grow in Switzerland. They are also used as a symbol of this country. They are quite small and fluffy with thick petals. They are so rare to see that despite years of hikes, climbs and other sports I have only spotted them once.

A few Edelweiss
A few Edelweiss

“There is a flower known to botanists, one of the same genus with our summer plant called ‘Life-Everlasting’, a Gnaphalium like that, which grows on the most inaccessible cliffs of the Tyrolese mountains, where the chamois dare hardly venture, and which the hunter, tempted by its beauty and by his love (for it is immensely valued by the Swiss maidens), climbs the cliffs to gather, and is sometimes found dead at the foot, with the flower in his hand. It is called by botanists the Gnaphalium leontopodium, but by the Swiss EDELWEISS, which signifies NOBLE PURITY.” Source.

To complete the poetic irony I also took pictures of a chamois on this particular mountain outing. You can see it standing on bare rock with the clouds and valley below. From these two sightings it seems that the flowers are visible in August so that is when we should look for them.

where the chamois dare hardly venture
“where the chamois dare hardly venture”

On the day when we saw Edelweiss it was interesting. As a person who grew up in Switzerland finding an edelweiss had been a decade long project and goal. Other people in our group were indifferent. For me it was a reward from years of looking. For them it was “yeah, so what?”. I was happy and proud when I saw those flowers at the top of that Via Ferrata.

 

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