The mountains, a new dimension

Angelo
angelo larocca

Besides the rustle of the wind, the sound of the water torrents, and the rhythm of our boots against the rocks, there is always another sound that accompanies us on our M4810 outings. That of infinite chitchat which - no matter what height we reach – doesn’t cease.

And among this forest of voices, there is one that particularly struck me during this last outing through the power and the cheerfulness that it exuded.

It’s Angelo’s, a tall, dark-haired guy with a bright, smiling face. In the last phase of the adventure, our path was a bit different from that of most members of the group, and he made me discover a new dimension of the mountains - his.

We start chatting because I heard him make a joke that identified him as a psychologist without a shadow of a doubt. And, to my curiosity, I discovered the existence of a fantastic field: the psychology of wellness!

“Amazing! So there couldn’t have been a more natural choice than Methodos, right?”

“Yes, actually, but I never would have thought so. Also because I never know something like it existed until I ended up in it. I was working on my thesis and I collaborated with someone that ended up being my colleague. It was serendipitous, both the situation and the time: it coincided with the launch of the Methodos start-up, Digital Attitude.

Using technology to help people change - the founding principle of DA, is what pushed me to join the team - my academic background, and my specialisation thesis all integrated perfectly into what I was doing. And like that, for exactly a year and three months, I’ve been part of the family!”

angelo

Chance, good luck, or fate. The same that, just months after being hired, in Italy’s most important change management company, makes you find yourself dressed in mountain gear at 2000 metres. A real climb to success. I ask him how he experienced the news of M4810, and he bursts into one of his contagious laughs that makes me laugh as well.

“The first time that I heard about it I thought it was a joke! I’m not the mountain type – give me a beach and the sea and I’m happy. Actually, I hadn’t even been in the mountains, not even to ski! When they told me that for work I would have to try to reach the peak of the Mont Blanc, I thought I was in a different dimension, that I was on the other side of the mirror without even realising it. And it’s almost that… the mountains are like being in a different dimension.”

While we continue chatting and walking, the sun disappears behind the cloud. What was an annoying cold wind now feels more like a freezing slap, coming directly from the glacier a couple of kilometres away. I shiver like a leaf while I put on all the layers that I have, even more so looking at Angelo, who had taken off the bottom part of his Salewa technical pants and was flaunting his bare legs and branded socks, displaying the Mont Blanc logo with the red line that represents our expedition. He starts laughing at my amazement and takes my hands in his: they’re boiling – unbelievable! He may be the sea type, but he has an amazing predisposition for the mountains, this guy.

angelo e diletta

And, in fact, he goes on to tell me that he’s discovering a new world. The views, the nature, the new, fresh air. But also the fatigue, the cold, the effort towards reaching the top that doesn’t seem to get any closer. This is the reason why he hasn’t yet won over the mountain – not completely, at least.

“It’s like going into the Russian mountains. While the train goes higher and higher, with that unsettling sound of wheels and metal, and the earth that is with every minute further below, you ask yourself who the hell made you do it. You’d like to go back down, you want to turn back, but at this point you’re stuck and you can’t do anything about it. When you get to the top, and the force of gravity starts pulling you down, you’re terrified. But then a scream of fear becomes one of pleasure, you laugh and laugh while you enjoy the view and the route. And when you come back down to earth, you can’t wait for the next trip.”

I laugh at the metaphor, cheeky but true: it’s true, above all in this context. The people who make up the M4810 expedition are very different: there are those who love the mountains and those who have never set foot, those who have always dreamed of this kind of adventure, and those who would have been much more comfortable on the couch. But, in the end, they’re all enjoying the journey. The challenge is in making it stimulating and accessible to all. And, in fact, Angelo sometimes asks himself how far he’ll get, when he’ll reach his limit.

“I’m starting to train, but I don’t know how far I can go. So far, I’ve always been able to reach the top, but at a price. After the first outing I thought I’d die!!! Powered by I’m not sure what force, I did it – but I was destroyed. Actually, when we got back down to the valley and got the car I couldn’t even drive. No, really: one leg was so stiff and painful that I couldn’t even change gears, I had to do the whole trip in fourth.

I realise that my level gets better very time, though. The third outing, in Mont Fallère, was the most beautiful, the most challenging, but also the one that gave me the most: in terms of views, atmosphere… and then there was the via ferrata, my absolute first one. The emotions of the peak, walking on the crest. Of being tied to one another, of having to always be present in your rapport with the person in front of you and the one behind you in order not to risk making everyone fall. A beautiful metaphor for what we’re doing, of what it means to be a team.”

The journey

1

M

3061

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 :)

2

M

3128

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.

3

M

3842

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.

4

M

4061

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.

5

M

4559

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.

6

M

4810

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.