Monte Sagro

by Lorenzo Piccoli

It appears this year I have been better than the previous one in keeping up with my resolution of doing more ski touring. The main reason for it is quite simple: I read a book.

Books have a powerful effect on me. They get me trying to do things I would probably not have enough motivation to do otherwise. I already wrote how after reading Andre Agassi’s Open I started playing tennis – badly, but consistently, for the last year and a half. This year it was the time of Into thin air, by Jon Krakauer. A very fine book, somehow in between journalism and narrative, Into thin air details the chain of events that contributed to the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, when eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a rogue storm. I suspect you will hear more about the book in the upcoming months, for it has been turned into a blockbuster, Everest, which is due to come out in September 2015. However, the reasons why I read the book were completely unrelated. I read the book because I was looking for motivations to start using my ski touring equipment that I brought down to Florence one year ago and never used ever since. It worked.

Carola had been offering me ski touring excursions for more than a year now and I always had to turn them down, one reason or another. One week ago, after finishing the book I promised myself I would never say no ever again. And there I was, on a snowy Saturday afternoon, in a cabin above Carrara, just on the border between Tuscany and Liguria, headed to Monte Sagro with Carola and her group of friends – and what refreshingly wicked friends they are! Now, there are at least a couple of major differences between the story of Into thin air and our ambitions upon leaving for the weekend expedition. First of all, we did not intend to go for a 8000 – in fact, we never aimed higher than 1750 m. Secondly, we had no intention of sleeping out in a snowstorm – yes, we very much welcomed the comfort of a cabin. But maybe most importantly of all, we really had no plan of having eight people killed – in fact, we almost killed only one, and not quite. Considering the circumstances and our initial plan, we did pretty well.

Below are some original pictures of yesterday’s expedition. And, I must say, there are at least two shots that are quite stunning even in spite of my poorly developed photographic skills