This is a very long shot but does anyone recognize this story? I read it somewhere but can't remember where or find it now.
The story starts in the 1910's two young lads growing up in the Dolomite's, they lived in different valley's one in what was then Austro-Hungrier the other on the other side of a mountain in Italy. Despite this they were best mates and both very good climbers, doing some first ascents and both training to become guides.
Then 1914 came along and they were conscripted into their countries respective army's so they were now on opposing sides. During a battle where one army was defending the top of a mountain and the other attacking it, the two friends came face to face. The both stood there looking at the other thinking "what the **** do I do now" then they both screamed and ran away. One was subsequently wounded but survived, the other was shot for desertion.
It sounds perhaps as though it were an elaboration of the real horrors of that confrontation. The person who brought it really to life was the cineaste Luis Trenker who served in that Dolomites campaign. I remember one of his books starts with the new soldier coming up to one of the mountain posts through the forest at night and crossing a troop of horses on the path with bodies strapped on their backs going down to the valley totally unaccompanied as they knew the routine so well.