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Silvio Mondinelli gives first Himalayan training course
11 Aug 2009
(Text provided by the Italian Alpine Club - CAI)
ALAGNA VALSESIA – Safety, respect and technical advice. How to manage with only a few things and to work in team. That’s the core values of High Mountain University (Himu), the mountaineering school founded by the Italian climber Silvio "Gnaro" Mondinelli, who after having climbed all the 14 eight thousands peaks, has decided to make a breakthrough in his life and to teach everyone what he has been learning in 20 years of climbing experience in the Himalayas. Obviously, with no intention to abandon his climbs. The first training course on “how to prepare a Himalayan expedition” was held in Alagna Valsesia, on Monte Rosa, last July 25th-26th.
"In two days we have learned so many things - said the 8 students of the Himu school at the end of the course . But we surely won’t forget Gnaro’s passion and enthusiasm for climbing. We all feel like going to the mountains and visiting the Himalayas much more than before”.
Mondinelli, mountain guide and rescuer of the “Guardia di Finanza”, held the first Himu course in Alagna Valsesia, where he lives. It began on Friday evening with a dinner at the Pastore mountain hut, where Mondinelli presented the programme of the course and showed a video about Himalayan climbs.
On Saturday morning, the group moved up to the Col d'Olen, 2800 m.a.s.l., on the slopes of Monte Rosa, and installed the "base camp" of the expedition. The “students” of University High Mountain have lived in a simulated expedition for two days, facing contingencies and field experiences like acclimatization trips and climbs on the glaciers. But also having parties in the tents and chats under the stars.
Mondinelli held some briefings, telling the group stories and tricks of the trade gathered in his several expeditions in the Himalayas, where he climbed the highest peaks of the world but also learned to give up, to save lives and to respect the mountains and the people. Mondinelli revealed tricks to save space in the backpack and to increase safety in climbing, suggested methods of training and acclimatization, told how to deal with trekking agencies, to choose technical material, to plan the climb and to use crampons, picks, ropes and jumars.
"I’d like to teach how to behave in the Himalayas but also on the other mountains – Mondinelli says -. We spoke about climbing techniques, training, organizational issues, saving strategies. But above all about a fair behaviour: it’s one of the most important things in climbing. Fair play, humility, commitment, renounce, truthfulness, determination, respect, culture, friendship and teamwork: they are all key factors for achieving success and overcoming difficulties".
Among the students there were people looking at 7000 m. or higher peaks, but also people climbing in the Alps at various levels. People who had never tried to walk with the crampons and people who simply fell in love with the Himalayas by reading books, or who simply look up to Mondinelli and wants to learn from him how to “live” the mountains. Everyone, without distinction, returned home happy and eager to practice Mondinelli’s teachings in the next months.
We send pictures and video of this historic two days. They speak for themselves.
The High mountain university has a widespread programme of courses and the next is scheduled for September, 2009. For information and registration: www.himu.eu.
High Mountain University was born last autumn in the Himalayas, during the Baruntse expedition lead by Mondinelli. From a small talk among friends in a tent, this idea became an actual school backed by a team of experienced mountaineers, teachers, scientists and doctors who are helping the project to grow. In a few weeks, also the English version of the Himu website will be online.
"This is an opportunity to understand ourselves and this world – Mondinelli explains -. It is not an alternative to commercial expedition, it’s rather an opportunity to better understand how they works and learn how evaluate them. Junior or seniors, beginners or experts: anyone can enroll online using our website. What we teach is a way of life".
Silvio Mondinelli was born on 24 June 1958 in Gardone Valtrompia, Brescia. In 1976 he joined up the Guardia di Finanza and two years later was transferred to Alagna Valsesia, where he became an alpine guide. He started with international expeditions in 1984 and with the 8000 meters peaks in 1993. To date, he has climbed all the 14 8000 meters peak without oxygen. His several extreme rescue operations at high altitude made him an example of courage and humanity all over the world.
High-resolution photographs available at:
Video (tv-format, not edited)
Video (web-format, edited)