We begin the third year of this project driven by strong winds of novelties and Foehn.
In these last weeks you will have surely suffered for the absence of updates on the lines of these virtual pages, despite icy winds, bad conditions and the new horizons previously only dreamed, I’m still here typing about adventures, boundless nature and above all
sweat sweet astonishment.
But let’s start as always in chronological order.
About halfway through December I returned after a ski season (or about three regular seasons) on the A13 highway of the Swiss cousins, where last year I had been struck at dawn by the aesthetic shape of Pizzo Uccello, promising myself to return as soon as possible .
But the time has passed tyrant, never giving the coincidence of good conditions of skiability and time availability, having therefore to postpone the appointment until recent weeks.
Loaded by the enthusiasm for a rise that promised to live on the aesthetics of mountaineering we immediately clashed with wind conditions that were, to say the least… chilling, if not completely freezing. But this was not enough to stop us, and we went ahead with our heads held high (or rather, heads down for the cold) crossing the stares of the first chamois that sifted the scant snow in search of a fresh breakfast.
Starting early gives the opportunity to be the first of the day to pass through these valleys uninhabited by man, and above all allows to savor in solitude all the nuances of these places, including the icy winds accompaning us from beginning to end .
But perhaps it is true that beauty will save the world, and between a frostbite and an endless series of turns we finally reached the top overcoming a stretch of shiver, being recalled by the extreme aesthetics of the summit.
In the descent we touch an avalanche and thanks to the wind (which still does not seem to diminish) we are forced to slalom between the spiky stones emerging along the valley leading to the start. Beauty and brutality follow each other on these shores and we return home with the bittersweet taste of tremendous aesthetics, which yields nothing without claims.
But with the end of December comes the very coveted time of rest, which we decide to inaugurate immediately on the first day with a night-time exit to the summit of the northern Grigna. We start on a cold full moon night lighting the frontal torches only in the first stretch of wood, and letting ourselves be guided by the silvery reflection of the snow for all the remaining hours of march.
After about four hours of walking, alternating pieces on ice, outcropped rocks, snow and a beautiful stop in the Riva Girani bivouac we reach the winter bivouac of the Brioschi hut, which we open by shoveling the snow obstructing the entrance with our bare hands at 2:30 in the night. Maybe it’s cold, but happiness heats us so much that the blankets are almost superfluous, at least for the first two minutes. In the night the sleeping bag reveals its years and abuses leaving the feet unprotected, followed by a night alternated between short sleeps in a fetal position to warm the body and consequent relaxations in a cadaveric position to resolve cramps in the legs.
In the morning, however, all this pain is found useful and a candid sunrise envelops the cliffs with pink tones.
Under this cloak of clouds, the cities awaken in the dim light of a coming Christmas while we resume the march to descend towards our homes, diving step by step towards that curtain of foam slowly swallowing the plain.
Christmas’ eve brings a first gift sweeping with Foehn all the clouds in northern Italy, from a simple room facing North it almost seems to hear the knocking of Monte Rosa, as I open the window it feels like it’s coming right into the room: there it is in all its splendor.
Could there be a better time to test the new 400mm toy? Just a few seconds and the virtual eye of the faithful Fuji turns to the tip Gnifetti peak and it is him, that dark dot perched on the most central tip, the Regina Margherita refuge!
It takes a little ‘eye and faith to see that tiny spot, but try to strain the eye and you will see enough to hear the strong call of ascent.
The parties do not go quietly but I will need a new page of this book to be able to tell you everything, so here we come to the crucial point of this update: the story.
These pages were born three years ago as a personal challenge in trying to improve the photographic technique by following a weekly project of small tasks, but it evolved almost immediately into a more personal diary addressed to the relationship between man and nature, between big and small, between concrete and earth, turning the eyes more and more upwards.
Especially in the last year the stories have increasingly focused on the relationship between man and mountains, because here I hear the call of a farther and pure horizon vibrating more and more strongly, and because in these landscapes I hear the voice exhorting me to the ascent: both physical and mental.
The followers of these pages are slowly migrating from a global distribution toward an increasingly restricted origin within the Alpine area, and among those of you I had the pleasure of talking with it has always emerged the topic of the language that was unconvenient to consult for most.
Moreover, the natural evolution of these chronicles would require some more detailed insights on the routes, roads , advices and notes on the covered trails… a sort of guide to be clear.
After some reflections I decided to make some changes to these pages, starting from the language and maybe even arriving at the final form of the site for how you are now used to know it. From the next update I will include (or at least I will try) GPS tracks, places and other details that will help you to retrace these adventures in autonomy. The reflections you have learned to appreciate and which have characterized these pages in the last few years will not fail.
What can I say then, if not to…