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Interview                
  
text and photos by Simone Moro
27/07/2000
ice axe

It was 9.00 am, 24 May and a -40 ºC Himalayan storm was blowing right into me.

I was on top of my Everest, this time it was the real one though. The one which, at almost 9000m, imposingly dominates our planet. And all of a sudden my ambitions seemed so distant and insignificant while my fears so rational and strong.

Because, contrary to common belief, up there you don't challenge anything or anyone, you don’t command or dominate - you are dominated. You are at nature's mercy and, if anything at all, simply accepted. Nothing more. That is why, for the third time, I was trying to reach the summit but, as in life's other Everests, I had been forced to turn back. Even though I had "fought" against all adversities and with all possible means.

Climbing the highest mountain on Earth has always been one of every mountaineer's most sought after goals. The same holds true for me, for in my 20 year courtship with the mountains I've always dreamt of reaching the highest point on Earth. Bearing in mind though that this is neither a challenge nor a conquest, otherwise you risk dying of your own ambitions. They render short-sighted in the face of the obvious difficulties posed by such a demanding climb.

What induces a mountaineer to set off towards Everest are the desire to experiment, the thirst for simple, strong emotions, the great love for life and the will to satisfy our desires.

We are considered irresponsible madmen constantly in search of trouble who have lost the meaning of life. This is probably the duty, but if it is the price to pay, then I'd pay it twice over, because the joy I get is simply too great. Pure, spontaneous joy, nothing else…



Everest
The summit of Mt. Everest from the South Col
photo S. Moro






"Everyone has his or her own personal Everest.
They probably know it, but who knows how many really reach the summit of their dreams."







S. Moro - Everest











Simone Moro on the summit of Everest.
photo S. Moro archive






"
We are considered irresponsible madmen constantly in search of trouble who have lost the meaning of life. This is probably the duty, but if it is the price to pay, then I'd pay it twice over, because the joy I get is simply too great. Pure, spontaneous joy, nothing else…"





Everest and Lhotse
The big two: Everest and Lhotse.
photo S. Moro



This philosophical approach is obviously backed up by plenty of realism. Hours and hours of training which, as the years go by, are increasingly done outside instead of indoors. Work-outs with weights, running for kilometers on end on every terrain and slope imaginable, hundreds of cycling sessions and countless days spent climbing over rock, snow and ice to hone my techniques and capabilities and to awaken my instinct.


Even if there are many different personal motivational factors, my alpinism is similar to that of so many others, carried out by a boy who was just like all the rest, who then decided to interpret the activity not as the end all of life but as a means to discover and love life.

Climbing mountains is a way to discover different cultures, peoples and the problems of this world. And also a means to discover one's personal physical and psychological limits, remaining aware that these can be overcome with determination, motivation and training.


Because, in the end, the stimuli that motivate people to evolve in emotional, social and working spheres are all the same. So if, therefore, individuals are motivated by the same stimuli, even in such widely differing environments, isn't it perhaps time to stop defining mountaineers as madmen?

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