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Your path is to nowhere: environmental awareness and ski mountaineering

By Luca Fontana

Climate change is real and is caused by human activity. My life has been turned upside down by this truth. My life as a photographer and explorer has changed: I was a traveler but I decided to stick to the territory, but it is nothing compared to the interests moved by the economy and politics.

Giovanni Montagnani, a childhood friend with whom I share interests and ideals, during a hike told me: “Lucone, we have to make a difference. We know how to move in the mountains, let’s do it better. “

We got to know about the World Economic Forum, where every year the most powerful people of the world meet in Davos, Switzerland, to decide our destinies. Gio is out of his mind: “They will talk about sustainability but arriving in Davos on private jets. It’s a joke, we have to do something, let’s go to Davos but on skis!”.

We decide to leave from Chiesa di Val Malenco passing through the Engadine and the Preda Valley. 100km and 6000m of positive difference in altitude in 3 days.

We want to respect our philosophy: we will get to Chiesa by public transport, we will bring our food, we will sleep in bivouacs.

At Milan Central Station we are obviously the only ones with skis in hand, destination Sondrio. At Chiesa we meet Don Roberto, who open for us the house of the lord of Chiareggio.

We wake up at 6 am, 40km with 10kg of backpack are waiting for us. The snow is frozen. Keeping up with the others is difficult. I have to take photos and videos. We go down to the Engadine, my friends cross the lakes, I rely on public transport, we meet again in Silvaplana.

4 pm. We still have 1500m of difference in altitude to go and it’s pretty cold. Gio’s optimism is contagious, we have the front lights so we go on.

The next 8 hours are very hard: the Forcla Suvretta never comes. Then a descent in the dark on unknown terrain. One last climb and we get to the Jenash Hut where we turn on the stove of the winter room.

No breakfast: we want to reach Davos by the evening. We climb to the Piz Laviner. At 3100m the wind has swept the little snow that had fallen. It’s hot, certainly above 0 Celsius degree. We descend through spectacular valleys made of still light rocks. In Bergund we find ourselves going up a slope to the south without snow. At the top, at sunset, the view is beautiful.

Giovanni throws himself into a wood, finding the only possible descent line.

The sun goes down permanently. Gio’s dad is waiting for us in Davos with some pasta. Come on! We go up a Neptunian valley to Colle Duncan. From here there’s only a way down.

It is a magical moment. Exhausted, happy, we are in a small little town just above Davos.

A local, annoyed by our shouting at 10 pm, shouts to us “Shut up, stupid!”. Not really the welcome we expected. We try to sleep a few hours and in the morning I look for a grocery store to eat bread and cheese.

It has been an all-encompassing experience, made even more interesting by the limits we set ourselves, by self-sufficiency, by having lived the mountain completely.

A question emerges: to reach Davos, we have done our best in what we do best, move in the mountains. But are the people who professionally manage our destinies, acting at their best for the future of humanity?

“It is a magical moment. Exhausted, happy, we are in a small little town just above Davos. A local, annoyed by our shouting at 10 pm, shouts to us “Shut up, stupid!”. Not really the welcome we expected.”

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