Saturday 29 August 2015

A rocky existence.

This summer we've done lots of walking up to 3000m - well above the tree line of around 1800m. At these higher altitudes the terrain is harsh and exposed, and snow patches can last all year. But somehow things still grow - a quick glance across a grey scree slope just below the Hohtürli pass and it appeared to be just thousands of stones and certainly no soil. Look a little longer and your eyes adjust to see splashes of green and pink - a 'field' of Glacier Crowfoot grow in splattered patches across the slope. The record for high alpine flowers goes to Saxifrage biflora, a pretty pink flowering plant, which has been found at above 4000m in the alps

Just below the Hohturli pass - Glacier Crowfoot - Ranunculus glacialis
A little lower down, a crack in the rock becomes the perfect 'flower-pot' for some Dwarf Rampion

Dwarf Rampion - Phyteuma humile

At the mouth of the Zinal glacier amongst large rocks Alpine Toadflax blooms and Pansies cover another scree slope

L: Alpine Toadflax - Linaria alpina. R:Alpine Pansy - Viola alpina
Dwarf Soapwort and Harebells flourish in hairline cracks in boulders near the Cabane Bec de Bosson and above the Moiry reservoir

Dwarf Soapwort - Saponaria pumilio 
Dwarf Harebell - Campanula collina
A small depression in a boulder is filled with Moss Campion near the Gemmi pass

Moss Campion - Silene acaulis
And along a much travelled path, Alpine Saxifrage manages to survive the altitude and passing walkers tramping through.
Alpine Saxifrage - Saxifraga nivalis

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