A few days ago I came back from the Dolomites, where I spent a few days hiking in the area called the RosenGarten Group, located in the Sudtirol in Italy. It is a stunning place, where a wave of sharp peaks and massive walls takes you into a different world.
One day, high up in the mountains, I woke up around 6 in the morning and decided to cross the pass called Passo Principe to see what was on the other side. There were two routs to choose from. One down, to the valley, and one up, to the ridge. The way up lead through a steep couloir, with a tongue of snow and ice in it.
The curiosity of the view from the top made me choose the couloir. It did not look difficult from the pass, even when on that day, I wore the sandals on my feet. Until about thirty minutes later…
I started climbing up. I reached the level of snow and attacked it with joy and determination. Step by step, carefully placing my feet on the snow covered by the ice, I digged the steps in it. I was closer and closer to the top.
The wall was really steep now, the surface of the snow covered with ice reflected the distant rays of the sun, hiding just behind that ridge I wanted to reach. It was so close… yet so far, as now every step became increasingly dangerous. The area was marvellously beautiful, but what I saw were a few meters of snow and ice. I placed my shoes carefully, balancing on the steep surface of the ice. It was high, and the wrong step would cost me much.
It was in the middle of the couloir that I considered a retreat…
But the way down, to the valley was not an option. Neither was the fall. It was too steep, and slippery, the first step down would be the last one. I would just slide down, like a kid having fun on his sled. My shoes had no crampons on them, only slightly irregular soles. Procrastination? Indecision? They did not exist.
Like a ship you burn on the shore of the enemy(Tony Robbins), I cut off the possibilities of retreat or failure. There was only one option. To go up.
To see the view, to break through that ice, and not to give up. Simply because I had no chance to do it.
many thanks to Bettola for his photo of the Dolomites