A continuous challenge

Towards the second M4810 training outing
Methodos - M4810 - Una sfida continua

The first outing in preparation for the M4810 project was a powerful experience. As always, when we walk off the beaten track - when we try to do something innovative for the first time - we navigate a rudderless course. It’s a long trial and error journey, in which sometimes we learn from the past and improve as a consequence. 

This is even more so when we talk about a mountain trek – a topic so far removed from a typical company activity! What do staff and collaborators that work on change management know about organising hikes? How do they manage to define something that is at the same time a challenge but not a struggle? It’s not at all easy.

Before the first outing, which brings us to the Artavaggio Plains, they held a preliminary meeting on how to face the mountains and the respective training. And on that occasion, it was clear that the group was not on the same page regarding this adventure. They’re all curious and interested, but often not sure about being up to it. Each person starts at a different level. There are some that wake up every morning to run before work. Others consider grocery shopping after work a great effort. There are some who pass every other weekend in the mountains, and some who have maybe put on skis once. And from what I learn about this challenge is that it’s really about changing mindset, discovering your own potential and training it – and some find it harder to do than others.

M4810 - Una sfida continua

And so, after the first outing, beautiful but also challenging, it’s important to debrief in another meeting. To add up our experiences, and to learn from the mistakes to get better next time. To remind group members that one of the fundamental points of the project is inclusion, and that each person can find and choose their own way to participate.

And so, here they all are again, gathered in a room to look at some slides with mountains for backgrounds. They were all asked two questions: “How prepared do you feel for the next steps?” and “How much do you want to continue this adventure?” The anonymous responses form a graph. For the first questions, the peak is in the middle, a generic “not too little, not too much”. For the second, instead, to everyone’s content, the great majority of answers lean towards the “very much”!

M4810 - Una sfida continua

A happy end for the first outing, a great starting point for the second. It was a great sign that the company’s leaders stayed at the intermediate stage, which empowered everyone. But reaching the peak as a single body is an important part of this training. And the climb brought out beautiful work dynamics – mutual support between colleagues and friends. But it’s still clear that something needs to change. The fact that we weren’t able to reach the top together, having had to separate into two groups, made some people feel the weight of their lack of training. From here we need to plan the next stage! We need a goal that is within reach for everyone, a collective victory.

This is how the Val Masino was chosen as an ideal objective: a challenging journey, a real mountain environment. Beautiful landscape to take our breath away. There is a single hut to reach, all together, to then only maybe continue in separate groups. A challenge that is difficult for all, but impossible for no one.

Will our heroes reach the peak, not only from a personal point of view, but also as a team?

The journey

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Mont Fallère

Methodos - M4810 - Mont Fallère

It is the first peak over 3.000m of our project

Mont Fallère is found in the Grand Combin Alps in the Aosta Valley.

Found between the Gran San Bernardo Valley and the Valdigne, it’s a great introduction to the magical world of the 3000s. Mont Fallère, situated in the heart of the Aosta valley, proposes a 360° panorama of all the Aosta valley peaks. Its layout is not the be underestimated, but overall it doesn’t present great difficulties, even if we need to be really careful in the final part of the ridge.

We go up in two stages: the first day up to the Fallère Hut; the second day we arrive at the summit and then we go down to the valley.

Read the story :)

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Pointe Lechaud

Our first alpinistic climb to a summit

Pointe Léchaud (3.128m) is located along the borderline between Italy (Valle d'Aosta) and France (Savoy).

It is located south of the Col de la Seigne (2.512m) between the Veny Valley and the Savoy Valley of the Glaciers.

We climb in two stages: on the first day we walk from La Visaille to the Elisabetta Soldini Hut (2.195m); on the second day up to the top and back to La Visaille.

From the hut we go up to the Col Chavannes (2.603m); from the hill we have to leave the marked path that begins to descend into the Chavannes valley, following a path on the right that crosses the very steep eastern slope of Mount Lechaud. The trail continues on the right, again not far from the crest of Mount Lechaud and crosses a small valley of stones or snow, reaching the wide basin where the Chavannes Glacier is located. Once we have put on crampons, we set foot on the glacier going diagonally to the left. From this point we gradually turn to the right pointing directly to the top, which can be reached by overcoming some easy rocky steps. What we see is a vast and spectacular panorama on the Italian side of Mont Blanc.

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Vallée Blanche

Methodos - M4810 - Vallée Blanche

Crossing the Gigante glacier towards the Aiguille du Midi

Although it may seems like a "scenic walk", the Vallée Blanche should not be underestimated, as it is an itinerary that involves crossing the Gigante glacier. It is always necessary to be accompanied by an Alpine Guide who knows the itinerary very well and knows how to avoid the dangers.

We go up by cable car to Punta Helbronner (3.462m), we wear harnesses and crampons and we tie ourselves together.

The first section makes us lose altitude and then we start to climb towards the Aiguille du Midi. The last section includes the ascent of the snow-covered ridge of the Aiguille du Midi, reaching 3.842m.

The return is with the panoramic cable car which takes us back to Punta Helbronner.

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Gran Paradiso

Methodos - M4810 - Gran Paradiso

The Gran Paradiso is the only mountain over 4000m that is fully on Italian territory

The Gran Paradiso is the only mountain over 4000m that is fully on Italian territory. A classic and fascinating climb: after a first part on ice, to be able to reach the peak marked by a statue of the Virgin Mary, you must pass some simple rocky crossings.

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Monte Rosa

Methodos - M4810 - Monte Rosa

2 full-immersion days of technical alpine skill training on Monte Rosa

The Monte Rosa is a mountain range that is found in the Pennine Alps, along the watershed line between Italy (on the border of the Aosta valley and Piedmont) and Switzerland. It gives name to the Monte Rosa Alps supergroup, which in turn is composed of various important groups and subgroups, east of the Cervino and south-east of the Mischabel range. It is the most extended range in the Alps, and second in height after the Mont Blanc. It is the highest mountain in Switzerland and the second in Italy, and has the highest average height, containing 9 of the 20 highest peaks of the chain.

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Monte Bianco

Methodos - M4810 - Monte Bianco

Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian) is a mountain situated in the North-occidental Alps, in the Graian Alp range, on the watershed line between the Aosta valley (val Veny and val Ferret in Italy), and Haute-Savoie (the Arve valley in France), in the territories of Courmayeur and Chamonix, which give name to the Mont Blanc Massif, belonging to the subsection of the Mont Blanc Alps.

It’s 4808,72m (the last official measure was taken September 13, 2017) make it the highest mountain in the Alps, in Italy, in France, and in general in Europe if we exclude the Caucuses. This is why it’s called the King of the Alps. It shared a spot on the list of the highest Seven Summits with Mount Elbrus in the Caucuses.

Primarily granite full of peaks and crests, cut by deep glacial valleys, it is internationally renowned for its climbing and, from a historical point of view, the birth of mountaineering coincides with its first ascent: August 8, 1786.