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The icefall Bonne année, Valle di Gressoney, Val d’Aosta which collapsed on 16/02/2017, killing Mauro Franceschini, Antonella Gallo, Antonella Gerini and Fabrizio Recchia
Photo by Soccorso Alpino
Fabrizio Recchia and Mauro Franceschini
Photo by archivio M. Franceschini, F. Recchia

Passion, alpinism and risks

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A thought for Mauro Franceschini, Antonella Gallo, Antonella Gerini and Fabrizio Recchia who yesterday, Thursday 16/02/17, lost their lives when the icefall Bonne année collapsed in Valle di Gressoney, Valle d’Aosta, Italy.

"Sometimes you become enraptured by something beautiful, that fills you with a curiosity that is satiated only if you manage to satisfy it. And even if deep within your heart you believe this conquest is feasible, this doesn’t matter, what matters is getting out there and trying, experience every brief moment spent trying to realise your dream." This is how the report began, sent to us by Fabrizio Recchia after the new route he and Mauro Franceschini established in 2012 up Aiguille de Chatelet (Val Veny, Mont Blanc).

Yesterday, Fabrizio (51, from Vezzano, engineer) and Mauro (58, from Caprigliola) lost their lives along with Antonella Gallo (from Spezia, 51) and Antonella Gerini (50, from Carrara, architect) when the entire second pitch of Bonne année collapsed high in Gressoney valley in Italy’s Val d'Aosta. Only Tino Amore, the fifth member of the group, survived.

All were expert mountaineers and climbers. Both Fabrizio Recchia and Mauro Franceschini were Italian Alpine Club instructors. For all four of them, mountaineering represented an irresistible passion.

Apart from the news that has appeared on all the media and also the discussions that invariably follow tragedies such as these, it is this love that interests us at now and which should be placed at the forefront. And, at the same time, their full awareness of the risks that mountaineering always entails.

It is true that one never gets used to tragedies such as this one. Those who share their same love for the mountains struggle at getting to grips with these catastrophes, let alone their families. Our first thoughts, our display of warmth and affection, should go to them. And then we should also think about that fact that we too, just like them, chase that same dream.

by Vinicio Stefanello

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