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Women and the Mountains... towards Gran Paradiso


Between 6 and 8 August 2013 Valle d'Aosta wishes to pay homage to female mountaineering with the initiative "Women and the mountains 2013"; three teams of female alpinists will climb Gran paradiso via three different routes. The Italians Anna Torretta, Eloise Barbieri and Roberta Vittorangeli will team up with the Russians Svetlana Smaykina, Natalia Priletskaya and Olga Gorodetskaya.

Mountains, summits, ridges... in Italian all these nouns are of feminine gender which, however, in the popular imagination, tend to be associated with courage, ardor and physical strength of male type. Men have always been seen as the real conquerors of the peaks, mountaineers with the capital "A" ready to challenge the rocks, the ice and the thin air. For centuries, the mountains and the women were opposed to each other by virtue of schemes, stereotypes and prejudices by which the gentle sex never ever could get close to high altitudes for obvious reasons, physical and mental, even in the eighteenth century, some doctors believed that if a woman had tried to climb a mountain, the effort would be so great that would cause infertility.

Women for centuries have been only the wives of the mountaineers, the women had to stay home to wait and pray that their companions returned, victims of a prolonged and unjustifiable discrimination both physical and intellectual. Yet women and mountains in a sense, are similar: both require an achievement, both are so beautiful and desired as often inaccessible, mountains and women actually know how to dialogue, they can establish a relationship made of strength and respect in which, in addition to the muscles a fine head/mind is necessary. And women, by nature, are able to suffer, to endure, to fight...

It is to women of this caliber that Valle d'Aosta is paying homage with the initiative "Women and mountain 2013," that, between 6th and 8th of August 2013, will see the start of 3 joint climbs, each made up of an Italian mountaineer and a Russian mountaineer, all to the summit of Gran Paradiso, but following 3 different routes. Every route has particular features which largely reflect the nature and character of the many mountaineers: the tireless solitary traveler Eloise Barbieri will follow the "classical route", driven by the same desire for knowledge that the world of finance, led her to find herself on the mountain, The exploratory Roberta Vittorangeli, medic and mountain guide, will give its more scientific thoughtful approach along a route of medium difficulty, while the adventurous and athletic Anna Torretta, mountain guide and architect, will endorse in the more technical climb. Together the three Italian there will be Svetlana Smaykina, for who the climbing is not a sport but a lifestyle; Natalia Priletskaya that has a deep need for the mountains, comparable only to the need to breathe, and finally Olga Gorodetskaya who lives mountaineering as a salvation of the soul, as something extraordinary that changed her life.

"Women and Mountain 2013" also provides a preliminary literary section entitled "Montagne aux Livres" which will take place in Valsavarenche from 21st June to 14th July, a series of meetings and discussions in the company of writers like Erri De Luca, "The Mediterranean Mountaineer", Nives Meroi, conqueror of as many as 11 of the 14 "8000" that would not even need an introduction so great is her fame in the world of mountaineering, and Eloïse Barbieri who will tell some of her most exciting and intense solo travel experiences.

The demonstration program is quite rich and exciting and it will open with the departure for the summit of Gran Paradiso on June 22, and there will be activities of climbing and canyoning with the mountain guides of the Company "Guide of Gran Paradiso" and interesting cultural walks, where the beauty of the landscape is combined with the traces of history in cooperation with the Aosta Valley section of the FAI. There will also be a space for reflection on the role of women in the resistance with the contribution of the historian Prof. Silvana Presa and special readings curated by actress Barbara Caviglia. The analysis of the relationship between women and the mountains continues with anthropological studies conducted by Drs Valentina Manella and Marcela Olmedo who will explain their research of "feminine alpine anthropology."





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