Like meditation in action

Valentina

When we make pit stops during the M4810 outings, we usually fall into one of two categories: those who eat, and those who - almost - don’t even have the strength to eat. 

Jokes aside, these are always intense moments, in which we look at the road behind us and at the climb to come. And, usually, there isn’t time for much more than food, water, and rest.

And then, there’s Valentina. 

I turn to face a mountain in the distance when, between the green of the grass and the yellow of the mountain flowers, I see a Salewa-clad bottom rise up. Then a head. Then a knee.

I’m not the only one to notice it: it’s as if some people give off a particular energy. Some watch her with interest, others admire her, and some even dare to get close and join her in an impromptu yoga session. They seem to forget about food and water and about the climb that is to come. 

Valentina P. (there are 3 Valentinas in our group today!) joined Methodos as an intern a year ago – exactly when the M4810 project was established and the first outings were starting to take shape. She was taking her first steps in the company and in the field of change management while we were hiking in the mountains.  

Vale P

“I found out about the project during my first meeting as an intern. It came up by chance, while discussing Methodos’ activities, and I felt a wave of excitement. I was quickly disappointed to find out that, as I should have imagined, interns were not expected to participate. I hid the let-down – in the end it was understandable. I put my mind at rest. Until I received that phone call. I remember it perfectly: I was in Tuscany for work, a long day had just ended and I was enjoying my solitary dinner in an idyllic place. I was at peace, satisfied with my work and what I was doing. That thought of not being able to participate in M4810 was the only thing that ruined the moment. And it was just then that Viola’s phone number showed up on my screen: they had decided to include me in the project and she was calling to ask for my size for the Salewa gear!”  

It’s a perfect project for her, another team member that grew up with the mountains in her eyes (even though she didn't pick their color, like Martina). From Pinerolo, her hometown, to Scotland, where she attempted participating in Munro bagging – the challenge of climbing all the 1000-metre-or-more mountains in the country. She explains that there aren’t many, and none are particularly tall, but the hikes are often complicated by snow and fog. 

And so, coming back to Italy for Methodos and finding herself involved in a project that could bring her to climb the Mont Blanc seems pretty in line with her life. 

But there’s more. It’s perfect for her also because, in the mountains, Valentina finds the natural continuum of another essential element in her life: the energy that comes from yoga, a practice that she has been applying for years in every aspect of her life. A practice that, as she says, is “like breathing” - that she does whenever she has the opportunity, and that she followed all the way to India, in the peace of an ashram. A practice that she brings with her everywhere, from the office to the peaks of M4810. 

“The parallels between the mountains and yoga surprise me more and more with every outing, almost more than those between mountains and change management! In the end, they all seem like manifestations of the same thing, of the same lessons. The mountains become moving meditation practice, a form of introspection that follows the rhythm of your steps. They’re always the same, but constantly changing. They seem immobile only to our frantic perception when, in reality, every pebble and piece of ice is in movement.

Above all, we’re also constantly moving. It’s the most interesting part of this project: M4810 is always the same – we change peaks, but it’s always a hike in the mountains. It’s us that change.”  

Vale P

I smile, thinking of all the harmonies that the mountains can lend themselves to. It’s a truly introspective experience that is connected to meditation, yoga, spirituality, and a series of other elements that you can only understand by participating - when you begin a journey like the one that we’re on now. 

It has that capacity to free your mind and body, the same one that Valentina experienced after long days in the ashram. 

That challenge that you encounter when you’re faced with something big and difficult in work or in life - a mountain to climb - and you have a feeling of exhaustion.

But, concentrating on the strength within, you find the power to start climbing. Or to overcome the resistance that others present, like clients sometimes do. 

It’s all a product of the same mindset, of the same way of facing life and its changes. 

It comes in different forms: sports, spiritual practices, or work. But it’s always based on the same capacities: resistance, resilience, patience, the ability to overcome limits, always in an aware and well-paced manner. 

In the end, isn’t this is why we’re doing it?

“In the beginning, I underestimated the educational, almost metaphorical, power of all this. I was excited by the idea of hiking in the mountains, of the group spirit, and the common challenge that it presented. But it’s only along the way that I’m beginning to truly understand what a long way the parallel between what we do in the office and out there can go. 

When I started doing yoga, it was like starting to drive without autopilot. You start being more aware of everything – of the responsibilities and decisions. You have the car in your hands. 

With M4810 I have the same feeling: the mountain guides, CAI, our colleagues, and the vision of the project can push us, but they can’t take on the journey for us. No one can. At a certain point we have to decide that we’re ready and take the lead. 

Which ever way it goes, wherever I end up, yoga has been the common thread in my life, in relationships and in work. And now it’s beautiful realising that it’s here with me, even in the mountains”. 

 

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.