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To a Climber unknown

Page Type: Article

Object Title: To a Climber unknown

Activities: Mountaineering

 

Page By: Gabriele Roth

Created/Edited: Oct 2, 2007 / Oct 29, 2007

Object ID: 343294

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Page Score: 92.04%  - 37 Votes 

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A small tribute to a Climber unknown

(by a pygmy) to mountaneering (unknown) giants
(da un pigmeo) a (sconosciuti) giganti dell'alpinismo

an Hymne to modesty ... someone we'll never forget ...

...

I started to climb in the summer 1963, easy mountains ...
After that holiday, while speaking with one of my childood friends (two years older) I told him about my new "keennes" : so I heard that he was a rock climber (one day he showed me the loft of his house: in the wooden beams he had driven some pitons so that he could train in aided climb along long "overhangs")
Some months later he dropped from the summit of the Sigaro (one of the Grignetta's spires) dying (his name was Lucio and many years later I set up a rock climbing school named to him).
But this is another story ...

Two years later I was looking for something more difficult and giving more satisfaction, so I started to join the climbers that used to train in the Grigne group : fine people, cheerful, accessible, nice straight forward chaps, but some of them were among the most skilled rock (and not only) climbers of the moment.
Almost none of them weighted their ability or their climbing curricula, none used to pontificate from the height of his horse and none of them used to show the badge of the CAAI (Club Alpino Accademico d'Italia) that was the club of the best climbers.
None of them had the minimum exception to rope with a beginner and lead him to the easy or difficult routes of the range, they only were looking for the amusement of climbing in high spirits.
We used to meet in the SEM Refuge : the keeper was Luciano Tenderini whose name could tell something to the ones that know mountaneering history.
(recently dead for illness)

I can remember, at the beginning of 1968, I ended up at the refuge, it was a bad weather day, the Grignetta was full of snow, there was only one guy having his breakfast: Luciano told me "He is Paolo Armando, and has come here just for a little rest after the winter ascension of the NE wall of Badile" : few simple words and we went out to climb together ... I could see what a very good climber can do on a rocky wall covered by ice and snow.
(dead in 1970 while escaping, during a violent storm, from the N wall of Petit Gruetta)

Another time in another winter, I happened to make a climb together with some members of CAAI, among them there was also (coming from far away) Desmaison, we made the whole route chatting ... amusing!
(recently dead for illness)

Another time, in spring, I was passing a lazy afternoon with my girlfriend under the (usual) Medale (we used to climb the Cassin in the morning to avoid the heat), and Giorgio Brianzi came to me asking to go with him to the Taveggia (at that time this route had been recently opened and was considered as one of the hardest, and had only 2 pegs for a route of 300m)
I answered him I had something else (better) to do, he smiled and half an hour later we heard him singing at the top of his voice while climbing, alone and without any rope, the route.
(windswept in 1980 on Monte Rosa)

I remember Franco Gastaldelli "Califfo", he had already stopped his climbing activity and was spending his summer holidays in Val Ferret with his family, when he heard that we were going to climb the Chardonnet he wanted to join us, not to climb, only to spend the evening with us at the Albert I° and give a look to an area he had never seen, and when we descended after the route he offered to carry our backpacks to the valley.
(dead for illness few years ago)

I remember the face of Angelo Pizzocolo "Bufera" while filling the backpack of some of us with stones : one, big, in the bottom, another one, smaller, in the top so that : "when he opens the backpack he find the first one, says that we haven't fooled him, and goes down carrying the heavy one".
(dead in winter for an avalanche in Grignetta)

And the smile of Gigi Grana introducing me his wife : he came back from Schio (he had moved back to his home town after changing his job) just to let me know the new
(dead for illness few years ago)

I remember .....

Now many of them are dead and their names are marked only in many guide-books and in the memories of their friends.
Many others are (I hope for long and good time) still alive and their routes are among the most difficult classic routes of the Alps.

... and none is going to write a book about them !
... so none is going to speak about them here ...

PS
when I was very young I was thinking to mountaneering like a struggle, a continuous fight to dominate them ... that's what I felt reading the books of Bonatti and similar ...
Nothing more wrong: these men I named here (and others of course), taught me that mountains can/should/must be fountain of life, amusement, friendship and we never have to think to mountaneering as a battle because (just what I say in my profile info) we are only small ants ... mountain always wins !

Italian version

Ho incominciato a salire montagne nell'estate del 1963, facili ...
Alla fine di quella vacanza, parlando con uno dei miei amici di infanzia (più vecchio di me di 2 anni) gli raccontavo di questa mia nuova passione : ho scoperto che lui arrampicava (una volta mi ha portato nel solaio di casa sua : aveva attrezzato con chiodi le travi di legno, così poteva allenarsi a fare gli strapiombi con le staffe)
Qualche mese dopo è caduto, morendo, dalla cima del Sigaro (una delle guglie della Grignetta). Anni dopo ho avviato una scuola di roccia intitolandola a lui.
Ma questa è un'altra storia ...

Due anni dopo, cercando qualcosa di più difficile che desse più soddisfazione, ho incominciato a frequentare gli alpinisti che si allenavano abitualmente in Grignetta : simpatici, disponibili, senza grilli per la testa, ma fra loro ce n'erano alcuni fra i più forti del periodo.
Quasi nessuno di loro faceva pesare la sua classe, il suo palmares, nessuno saliva in cattedra e nessuno ostentava il distintivo del Club Alpino Accademico
Nessuno di loro si faceva problemi a legarsi con principianti e portarli ad arrampicare, sul facile o sul difficile, volevano solo divertirsi
Ci trovavamo, di solito, alla SEM : il custode era Luciano Tenderini (morto di recente) che non è sconosciuto a chi conosce la storia dell'alpinismo

Ricordo, nel gennaio '68, arrivo al rifugio in una brutta giornata, la Grigna era impestata di neve e ghiaccio, c'era un ragazzo, solo, che stava facendo colazione : Luciano mi dice : "è Paolo Armando, sta facendo un po' di relax dopo l'invernale della Nord Est del Badile" : poche parole e usciamo ad arrampicare ... ho visto cosa sa fare un bravo alpinista (lui diceva di essere un "Epidemico" del CAI) su una parete di roccia ricoperta di neve e ghiaccio

Un'altra volta, un altro inverno, mi capita di essere in mezzo a un gruppo di accademici, c'era anche Desmaison, abbiamo fatto tutta la salita chiacchierando

Un'altra volta, in primavera, stavo crogiolandomi al sole con la mia ragazza sotto il (solito) Medale (salivamo la Cassin al mattino per evitare il caldo), si avvicina Giorgio Brianzi e mi invita a fare la Taveggia (era stata aperta da poco ed era considerata fra le vie più dure, c'erano solo 2 chiodi in 300m).
Gli dico che ho di meglio da fare, sorride e va via, dopo mezz'ora lo sentiamo cantare a squarciagola mentre arrampica solo e slegato

E Franco Gastaldelli (Califfo), aveva già smesso di arrampicare, stava passando le vacanze con la famiglia in Val Ferret, sente che andiamo a fare la Chardonnet: "vengo anch'io, al rifugio, non ho mai visto quella zona". Quando siam scesi voleva portare il nostro zaino fino a valle

E la faccia furbetta di Angelo Pizzocolo (Bufera) quando metteva i sassi nei nostri zaini : uno, grosso, sul fondo e uno, più piccolo, sopra : "quando apre il sacco trova il più piccolo e dice che non lo freghiamo, così porta a valle quello grosso"

E il sorriso di Gigi Grana che mi presentava sua moglie : era venuto apposta da Schio (sua città natale dove si era ritrasferito dopo aver cambiato lavoro)

e tanti altri ...

Ora tanti di loro son morti e i loro nomi restano solo nella nostra mente e nelle guide.
Tanti sono ancora (spero per molto e buon tempo) vivi e le loro vie sono fra le più difficili classiche delle Alpi


... ma nessuno scriverà mai un libro su di loro
... e nessuno qui parlerà di loro


PS
Quando ero molto giovane, alle prime armi, pensavo che l'alpinismo fosse una guerra, una continua battaglia per dominare le montagne ... l'avevo dedotto leggendo i libri di Bonatti e simili ..
Niente di più sbagliato per me (adesso) : queste persone (e altri ovviamente) mi hanno fatto capire che la montagna dovrebbe/deve essere/è fonte di vita, di divertimento, di amicizia e non dobbiamo mai ragionare con Lei in termine di lotta perchè (come dico nel mio profilo) noi siamo formichine ... e la montagna, se vuole, vince sempre !

Images

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Comments


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Viewing: 1-18 of 18    

desainmeMakes you think-

desainme

Voted 10/10

I met ranger Ralph Heath several times at Chimney Pond. I remember he was young and easygoing- he died while I was a teenager in a heavy autumn snowstorm while attempting a rescue on the east face of Katahdin.
Posted Oct 2, 2007 1:27 pm

Gabriele RothYes

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

there are many humble-bottomed up people that often are much better than the famous ones
but even mountaneering became a stage, loosing the big part of feeling and humaneness that was its mean feature
Posted Oct 2, 2007 1:38 pm

BorThanks Gab!

Bor

Voted 10/10

Thanks for this interesting article. I understand your last sentence and it is right in that way.

Cheers!
Posted Oct 2, 2007 4:38 pm

Gabriele RothRe: Thanks Gab!

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

keeping alive the memory of some of my old friends has been a nostalgic pleasure for me ...

Posted Oct 2, 2007 5:10 pm

LupinoIt's the same history.....

Lupino

Voted 10/10

also in other fields of human "activities". How many "great" men and women did you meet in your life? I knew interesting and admirable scientists whose work deserved higher attention. They were not at the right moment in the right place ....but I was lucky to know them and they influenced my life. None will write a book about them or will remember them!

Impressive article.
Paolo
Posted Oct 5, 2007 11:08 am

Gabriele RothRe: It's the same history.....

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

"They were not at the right moment in the right place"
...unfortunately some of them was in the wrong moment in the wrong site !
...and I haven't told about the still living ones, it's really fine to meet them and chat about memories :)
Posted Oct 5, 2007 11:33 am

jvarholakThank you gabriele...

jvarholak

Voted 10/10

for a glimpse into a part of your life and the lives of those that touched you.
john
Posted Oct 5, 2007 4:59 pm

Gabriele RothRe: Thank you gabriele...

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

happy you liked it :)
I forgot the details of the routes, I can't forget the climbing partners
Posted Oct 6, 2007 1:31 am

Gabriele RothRe: Thank you

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

Fine, I'm waiting for it !
I don't see them as heroes, only as fine people whose kind of behaviour should be copied
ciao
Posted Oct 8, 2007 1:42 am

franza moscobella, gabriele

franza mosco

Voted 10/10

grazie!
Posted Oct 27, 2007 8:52 am

Gabriele RothRe: bella, gabriele

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

lieto ti sia piaciuto :)
Posted Oct 27, 2007 12:45 pm

julesblaiddHmm...

julesblaidd

Voted 10/10

It could be hard to lose your friends. RIP for all of them.
Posted Oct 29, 2007 6:22 am

Gabriele RothRe: Hmm...

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

It was not a Requiem (many people die every day, not only on the mountains) but a simple way to remember that mountaneering is made by mountains + men (not competitive supermen)
:)
Posted Oct 29, 2007 6:59 am

julesblaiddRe: Hmm...

julesblaidd

Voted 10/10

Somehow it made me a little bit introverted and I tried to value climbing and life. That's all. :-)
Posted Oct 29, 2007 9:07 am

p-mikeThanks..

p-mike

Voted 10/10

..mountains is fountain of life, amusement, friendship..
like SP when you are at home, at work..

Grazie Gabriele,
Ciao Paolo
Posted Nov 8, 2007 6:54 am

Gabriele RothRe: Thanks..

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

:)
Posted Nov 8, 2007 7:17 am

DiveriaRight!

Diveria

Hasn't voted

Fighting against mountains is nothing more than fighting for your own glory or pride.
In the years of Bonatti mountaineering made at top levels was nothing but a kind of competition.
I prefer the frankness of Ignazio Piussi that calls the "fights against the Alps" of those years with teir true name: a race.
Normal people earn joy from hiking, climbing and skiing and leave the fights to the jungles below mountains.
Maybe we are weaker than greater mountaineers, less heart, less strenght or maybe we love mountains just for what they are and not for the glory they can give.
Posted Nov 8, 2007 11:27 am

Gabriele RothRe: Right!

Gabriele Roth

Hasn't voted

competitiveness can give big results but normally drops humaneness, friendship and similar values ...
Posted Dec 1, 2007 9:07 am

Viewing: 1-18 of 18