Mountain Speed: comments of a rifugista

23/09/2014 17:18 #1402 da Luciano Ratto
Recent sensational speed record of realized in the mountains have attracted many comments. Among these interesting I think what Daniel Pieiller, guardian of Rifugio Crête Sèche, which I reproduce below.
(Rat Luciano)

They have come down recently by the mountain lodge that I manage to 13 years and have seen it in
Television, In one of the rare occasions when the RAI talk of Mountaineering in the early evening, the show "Che tempo che fa" Fabio Fazio invites Burgada, new holder of the record ascent and descent of the Matterhorn, which has undoubtedly made an amazing feat , exciting and spectacular ... in one word: television!

I do not doubt his talent and I admire him for what he did, but if I speak as a tour operator valdostano believe that our image is counterproductive to use that company in order to advertise our mountains, first of all because we humble all
our ideals tourists who are preparing for a long time and come from all over the world to climb "the noblest Scoglio d 'Europe", by using at least 2 days and often also with the help of our guides. Second, because we help to launch what I call the "single message" of the mountain to live racing. Personally I do not find anything wrong to make such undertakings as long as you do not use public financial resources otherwise intended to promote.
I would really much to say about the issue of records and mountain races that I could write for the whole day. I will begin with the following premise: to me too often like to go running in the mountains up here and I think there is room for everyone, both for those who want to go fast and for those who want to go slowly. I do not care the merits of taste (it's nice to run or walk is nicer), everyone decides for himself. I want to analyze the influence of mountain races, aspect related to the promotion and image of the mountain that we intend to give our visitors, because we who live "mountain" to decide which is the more correct message to be conveyed and propagate, both for the sustainable development of mountain environments for a good economic performance for the industry.
A few years ago I decided to no longer organize the usual running race that took place at Crête Sèche (smugglers running) because I wanted to no longer be jointly responsible for the promotion of the mountain "racing". Shortly after I organized the shelter a two-day event entitled "Mountaineering: athleticism, speed and record ... or something else?" we presented Pietro Giglio and I, with Henry Martinet moderator and, as a guest, in addition to some mountain guides of Valpelline and others, there was a mountain climber exceptional: Patrick Gabarrou. It was a really interesting evening which helped me to understand how much we are short-sighted to be obstinate to promote the mountain with competitions and records.
I definitely do not want the moralist, because I am convinced that in the mountains there is room for everyone (tortoises and hares), everyone does what he wants! I do not believe that there is the problem of emulation, because even if we must condemn all hazardous undertakings to which witness then we must abolish many (is not that if today I see a tightrope walker then tomorrow I try to walk a hundred meters high rope. .and if you probably do have other more serious problems ..). Even the problem of the rescuers and the risks they face not overly worried about me because I believe that the rescue professionals are well prepared and do their job well, with passion; also get some good social and economic satisfaction, although some (but are the minority) after each intervention complain about the risk that current and brag about what they have been good: even a mason in danger of falling from scaffolding all day but it makes the martyr every time he ends his day at work. Right now I do not intend to use either the issue of security in the mountains as an antithesis to the mountain races, because it seems that fans of the alpine disciplines are mainly divided into 2 camps: those who go racing and those who study how to get there safely, exacerbating this issue to the point of removing newbies mountaineers. There are for example some companions when they go to the mountains using that theme obsessively, exhausting and boring the participants in the trip, making him forget how much fun mountain climbing or hiking. So the right teaching is in my opinion the one who manages to get you safely entertained.
But back to racing and mountain records. I want to address this issue by "small mountain entrepreneur" (bad word!) Since I'm manager of an alpine refuge from 13 years, Director of Track and, for a year, is President of the Nature-Valp (for the responsible development tourism in Valpelline) and now I am building a structure to 1700 meters above sea level in a wild valley like Valpelline. I believe that in a few years we will realize the mistake we are making (of refuge managers, mountain guides, local and regional administrators, hotel owners and merchants, farmers, etc.) thinking that the best strategy to promote tourist mountain is that of records and the races. In this way instead of offering tourists something different and unique making him enjoy many beautiful moments that only we can have (landscapes, grazing animals, talk to the people, to stop and watch the local wildlife, the quiet, the silence, the products of our land, etc.), we trivialize the mountain into believing a "unified network" that it is beautiful to live with the hit and run, throwing the only message that the best and most rewarding to go to the mountains is running . I mean, when they talk about the mountains, they do almost exclusively telling of records and races (or worse accidents and deaths), local administrators who want to promote a mountain trail or organize a race ski mountaineering, regional administrators who want to promote the mountain trail organize a "piùlungodituttiglialtri" (the sad thing of the Tor des Géants is that for his organization are used most of the funds that were intended to promote tourism in the VDA, as declared Councillor Marguerettaz addressing a delegation of managers of shelters that went to him 4 years ago to understand the estimates of expenditure for the promotion of the mountain: the 80% of these funds were committed for a big event-event: the Tor ...), many mountain guides when they want to promote the mountain organize ski mountaineering races, the races waterfall ice, races drytooling, the trail, time records. In this way we are endorsing us back to those values ​​so dear to today's society and especially to the people of the metropolis: the haste, the frenzy, the hit and run, the image and appearance. All this I think it is wrong, as it was a mistake that we have done in the past trying to reproduce the city in the mountains, convinced that the best attitude for tourism was to satisfy all the demands of visitors, when we know instead the tourist who runs away from the city prefer to find something different. In this regard, I think of Cervinia and Zermatt, two almost opposite ways of development. The first reproduced palaces and public amusements convinced that complying with the habits of its visitors would have satisfied them, the second has enhanced the traditional architecture, has kept almost imposed, to its visitors many local customs and practices. The results are there for all to see: the company of the Zermatt ski lift has a turnover equivalent to that obtained by the sum of the revenues of all the ski lifts of the company d 'Aosta Valley. I believe that we must do to live unique moments to our visitors, making passing very different from those who spend days in the cities, especially eliminating the rush and the rush.
From experience I can tell you many absurd episodes in which I stood in my refuge, such as trips CAI Sunday with sixty untrained equipped with heart rate monitor and stopwatch that after doing the Mont Gelé in 3 58 hours and fell running (!) Up the car to end up eating a sandwich all'autogrill. Or the increasing number of ski mountaineers that Sunday whizzing out of the hut without stopping, wearing lightweight and super super expensive equipment that change rigorously every year, leaving almost all their money to the houses that produce clothing and sports equipment. More and more people calling me to ask the condition of winter tours, the climbing routes, etc., Then people will not see even stopping at the shelter for a greeting. If this is the evolution of our mountains (of refuge managers, farmers, mountain guides, mountain dwellers) we will disappear and there will be no one to tell him of the trip conditions, or to clean a footpath or richiodare a climbing route. In addition to the issue of race is certainly that of the image, of appearance; these values ​​that are emphasized by the competitions and are the basis of our society notice them if we look at the most famous mountains and simple. On the normal route to the French Mont Blanc for example, we find the crowds that flock, salt queued, sleeping in a shelter is crowded, but can go home and say that was the Mont Blanc. On the contrary on streets just as beautiful and interesting, but lesser known, there are very few people because it seems that for some it is more important to tell others about the ascent of a famous mountain that live unique moments of a lesser known mountain.
It makes me sad especially the fact that if the majority of the categories related to mountain tourism are committed primarily to organize competitions, those who remain to speak and promote the other mountain, that of all days made of silence and calm that is so sought above all to 'abroad? An example in a nutshell: those who sell the Valpelline?
With these words I repeat that I do not condemn those who absolutely loves to run in the mountains or the movements that gather sympathizers of these disciplines, but I wish the events related to these activities are not the only methods, or the most important means for promoting tourism used Valle d'Aosta. Especially I would like to see local and regional administrators, mountain guides, tour operators, work at major forms of tourism promotion of our territories that go beyond the races, because we need to launch a different and forward-looking message.
Good mountain at all.

(Daniel Pieiller)

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