In memory of Giuliano De Marchi
On 5 June Giuliano De Marchi, a doctor and strong mountaineer from Belluno, died on Monte Antelao, Dolomites. Michel Barbiero, his companion in Alaska 2007, remembers him.
On Friday 5 June Giuliano De Marchi died while ski mountaineering up the normal route of Monte Antelao. Separating the Cadore valley from the Boite valley, this colossal peak was well known to the strong Bellunese mountaineer as he had ascended it on numerous occasion. But as often happens, a simple slip and the violent impact against the rocks proved fatal. Nothing adventurous nor inexperience therefore, but a tragic mountain accident which proved fatal. Marchi's body was located and recovered by the Mountain Rescue squad late on Sunday afternoon after two demanding days spent searching, obstructed by prohibitive weather conditions.
Giuliano De Marchi was a urologist at the Hospital San Martino in Belluno. He was well known and held in high esteem in the mountaineering circles, both in Italy and worldwide. He had climbed numerous routes in the Dolomites, had been to Everest and K2 and had participated in numerous expeditions to the Greater Ranges. In 2004 Agostino Da Polenza had made him expedition leader of the 50th anniversary ascent.
In 2005 he was awarded with the Pelmo d'Oro together with Mario Rigoni Stern. In april 2007, at the age of 60, he carried out the first Italian traverse of Denali (McKinley, Alaska). Michele Barbiero, his partner during this beautiful undertaking, remembers him as follows:
In memory of Giuliano
by Michele Barbiero
I was circa 3.00am: after 18 hours non-stop Giuliano and I were finally on the top of the Karstens Ridge, a 5km crest which runs along the wild north face of McKinley. It was -40°C and while we attempted to pitch our tent at 5000m Giuliano pointed out the extraordinary Aurora Boreale on the horizon: for a minute we remained immobile, gazing at the spectacle which Mother Nature was giving us for nothing in return.
This is the Giuliano I knew: a person who remained enchanted in from of the colossal 8000m peaks, but who was equally taken in by the song of a little bird hiding in the bushes next to a ditch in the countryside.
All those who were fortunate enough to know him well will continue to appreciate him above all for how he was, not only for his extraordinary life as highly esteemed surgeon and first class mountaineer.
I still have clear memories of the great adventure which we lived together and I'm sure they will remain with me forever. Crazy recollections, as for 22 days we continued to make fun of each other without ever changing mood, even when the storm ruined our tent during the night, or when we spilt boiling hot chocolate over our sleeping bags for the nth time during our attempt to do everything... carefully.
And I remember his 60th birthday, celebrated in the same tent reduced to rags, dipping improbable biscuits in a terrible instant coffee. As usual we just laughed about it all.
We continued to state that the journey is the aim and this is how it was. A journey where reaching the summit represented a detail, a part of something much greater. A journey which finished with an embrace which I wish would continue on forever.