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Themes:     Spirit & Humour (24)    Sport & Health (31)  
Tags:    Activities     Summer
Pippo Monday, 5 September 2016

A school of life up in the peaks

There are often brothers and sisters out together on the excursions and they certainly do argue between themselves, but ...
A school of life up in the peaks
"The mountain guide has two eyes, one looking up the sky above and the other keeping a close eye on the group."
I am an Alpine guide. People usually seek me out and say where they would like to go and together we decide how and when to go about the activity in question. However, being a guide at La Perla is somewhat different, for the crucial thing is always to appreciate what type of person I will be accompanying and to understand their capacity, will, and the extent of their intention. A good bit of psychology is involved. The most exciting aspect of the job is when I take kids and youngsters out on an excursion. If I meet them in the hotel I often ask them to come outside with me and we sit on the wodden benches oppposite Murin, and afer a little chat I invite them to pick a place in the mountains they would like to reach. Perhaps up there above Colfosco, towards the Gardena pass. ‘Look up there’, I say ‘up a bit higher and then to the right. Those ridges are called Cir, there is the higher one and the slightly smaler one. Tomorrow we will go right up there’. Usually they look a little open-mouthed at me, in their eyes a little apprehension, and a sense of excitement abounds. And as for myself, I am already happy for I know that tomorrow is going to be a great and enjoyable day. There are often brothers and sisters out together on the excursions and they certainly do argue between themselves. Or at times there are friends who have developed a strong sense of competition between themselves. It really is incredible to see them all when we get to approach Cir and we prepare the ropes and tell them what they need to do. Any arguments or competitive streaks vanish and there is silence and concentration as they listen intently, and they are always ready to give each other a hand should need be. When something needs to be done and requires complete attention there is respect for all. The mountains command respect and I have seen this over and over again. The mountains are like a school of life where solidarity and friendship come to the surface. And another thing too – the mountains make you do things which you did not consider possible. As we go higher and higher I sometimes tell of my exploits, not out of a sense of personal vanity but to share the magic of the mountains as I have experienced them. I point out peaks, trails, ascents which have been achieved. I have been to most of these places and done most of the ascents so all is easy and gratifying for me to point out. I also throw in mention of our Ladin history and why we as a people have learned to love and respect the mountain landscape. And then we have a lot of fun too. For example just before we begin the main ascent of Cir there is a spot where many rocks have fallen over millions of years. It is an ideal spot to set up a rudimentary cable line and the youngsters can enjoy themselves pulling up and sliding down for 50 metres or so. As we go further up I tell the goup what I was once told when I was learning to climb, that is that the mountain guide has two eyes, one looking up the sky above and the other keeping a close eye on the group he or she is accompanying.
Just recently a child came up to me and said ‘ You know Pippo, if a teacher back at school asks me to write on a beautiful experience I am going to write about the day we climbed Cir together’. I looked him in the eyes and smiled and in my heart I really was happy for him. Indeed, the mountains are special places and they enable you to live special experiences. It is important for families too, for at times you see fathers and sons together and sharing the joy of the mountains. At times fathers are away working for a lot of the year and have liitle time to spend with their children but to see the proud father witnessing his child achieve something is satisfying indeed. Such observations make me appreciate that the job I do is a worthwhile one. And so with this thought I begin to focus on tomorrow’s day in the mountains.

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