This September, Lorenzo D'Addario, after the summer spent working as an Alpine Guide making his clients experience the mountains with this philosophy, left for India.
As soon as he returned, we asked him to tell us, with the mountaineer's gaze and the philosopher's head, about his spiritual journey.
Hi Lorenzo, first tell us about the team: who were you? How did you decide on the composition of the team and the location of the expedition?
"The team was composed of Francesco Ratti, Jerome Perroquet, Alessandro Bau' and myself. A strong friendship binds me to Francesco, together we have already done several expeditions and numerous adventures in the great north of the Alps. The desire to do an expedition together had been in the pipeline for some time, but work and a few small incidents delayed it.
The opportunity came...and off we jumped at it! Jerome gladly joined in, and Baù also joined the team.
The location was born from the desire to discover a wild place, outside the usual alpine routes, where the mountaineering-exploratory component had a significant weight.
India inspired us a lot, and we set about organising the expedition."
Moving in a 4-person team: how did you deal with it? Is it successful compared to the usual 2 or 3-person teams?
"It's different. You get to know more people, it's a group relationship rather than a personal one. Mountaineering rope teams, however, with two, three or four members, live, to quote the name of a route I opened in Brentino, close to home, 'on the edge of a double abyss'. It is up to the sensitivity of individuals to manage not to hurt others, always taking care not to invade the small world that each of us has created in our own way. But this is a situation we experience every day. Simply roped up and on the wall it is exasperated, but I think this is the beauty of our world: it lays bare and takes any situation and emotion to the extreme."
Did you, being four of you, have different specialisations or different roles?
"Among the four of us, there was no predefined role: we all had a great desire to climb and be on the wall as much as possible. We then had an ancestral desire to repeat and open new routes, personally I could have stayed a whole year..."
Rock or ice? Did you have definite ideas or were you ready for anything?
"We were ready for anything. The important thing was to climb, learn and discover.
Certainly opening new routes on rock, if there was the possibility, was our first choice!"
Tell us about the three ascents you made, each one different and each one particular.
"When we arrived at base camp, we entered the Takdung Glacier, to start observing and identifying our main objective: the Neverseen Tower.
First, however, in order to familiarise ourselves with the environment, to acclimatise ourselves and to study the logistics, we climbed the South East Ridge of 'Enzo Peak': an easy ridge on beautiful rock up to grade IV, but still a first ascent.
On the Neverseen Tower we opened our "Wind of Silence", a wonderful route.
First part in a snow couloir, then comes eleven pitches of rock up to 6b+, finally 200m of snowy ridge. The route is named after Silence.
Silence was our companion during the eight long hours of approaching Neverseen to set up the high camp. Silence is like a magic cauldron where a witch brews potions to create ideas and fantasies within our memory.
Silence is a virtue and a quality that is now rare. In this society and in this mountaineering world, it is a disappearing value. Our team consisted of four guides, sometimes it is not easy to accept even small choices. The ability at times to remain silent I believe was also in some way the salvation of this wonderful expedition. I believe that each of us made this effort from time to time.
Finally, the name of the route reminds me of a beautiful song by Simon & Garfunkel.
As a last ascent, we opened a route on the shoulder of Mt Moudit, an unclimbed peak. I, thinking of this Peter Pan-like world, christened it 'The Invisible Tower': it is a tower of unique beauty, with exceptional granite. A tower that if it were in Italy, or in France, would have a multitude of incredible routes.To go, to look, to decide where to climb on a still white canvas, I think is an incredible experience and so it was for us.
The apparition of the invisible tower came right away, the first day we climbed to the high camp. At night before falling asleep I would look at the line, fantasise and hope that sooner or later we would be able to climb it.Between the police, bans and calls for civilisation, cursed factors that seemed to have to interrupt our expedition early, there was an almost magical interlocking that led to the birth of this beautiful route.
We named the route Super Thuraya, in memory of the misadventures this name brought us. It is 400 metres of wall up to 6c."
You did mountaineering, but yours was also, or above all, a journey to an unknown land
"I believe the Journey is created by our eyes and our imagination. If we are ready to embrace beauty, the journey is every day. When we add to this a land and a people we have never seen, the mix is great and sets off a firework of unique beauty. This is the Miyar Valley and its people."
How did you personally experience this trip and its preparation?
"I enjoy climbing, always. It is my life. In general, in my understanding of mountaineering, preparation is above all a mental factor: to this day I am always motivated, I always have a great desire to climb, so I felt very prepared and enthusiastic about setting off on this adventure."
What amazed you about the Miyar Valley?
"The Miyar Valley is pure magic. A place that, if you manage to enter it, will change the way you relate to things and human beings."
Explain yourself better, you seem to have been bewitched! Do you plan to return to Miyar Valley?
"If I could, I would go back tomorrow. The trip to Miyar Valley reminded me of a book by Murakami: In the Sign of the Sheep. A dreamlike scenario in which the everyday becomes surreal and vice versa.
A journey in search of a sheep, or a mountain, the Neverseen: one or the other matters little. On this journey you realise that human weaknesses are like gangrene that rot your body.
One must try to understand that there are many ways to overcome these weaknesses, but they will come back because nothing is without change.
To leave is to seek.
The dimension of searching is fascinating and so it was for me this journey, in search of a sheep with a star on its back and a Neverseen mountain."