Altavia 4000 and the dream of climbing 82 4000 of the Alps. By Gabriel Perenzoni
Aspirant mountain guide Gabriel Perenzoni talks about his dream of climbing the 82 peaks over 4,000 meters in the Alps with Nicola Castagna. Their project is called Altavia 4000 and having set off on 4 May, that have already climbed 62 mountains in 60 days.
It all seemed like a gamble, an impossible bet... Two guys who love the mountains and mountaineering, who are trying to transform this passion into a profession. Nicola Castagna and I met at the mountain guide’s course and we immediately realised that we shared the same dream, that of climbing the 82 4000ers in the Alps. It’s nothing new from a mountaineering perspective, but nevertheless it’s our dream. And today, with a bit of courage and tenacity to deal with all the difficulties, it’s slowly taking shape.
On 2 July 2021 we’ve logged 62 peaks in our diary. We set off on 4 May, 60 days have passed since then and our adventure is in full swing. The weather conditions certainly haven’t helped us along our way.
May was really tough, and could even have been defined as winter. Abundant fresh snow, extremely cold, but above all far too much wind. The terrible days we experienced up on Monte Rosa, where the gusts of wind reached peaks close to 100Km/h and the temperatures never rose above -10°C, are still vividly impressed in our minds.
The cold and the wind burned our skin and tested our resistance, leaving indelible scars. At times if was difficult to walk, and sometimes it was even difficult to survive. The gusts literally knocked us over, the cold penetrated everywhere and there was no way of stopping the pain.
Courage, stubbornness, madness? I don't know… maybe simply the desire to never give up and realise this great project. I think that in order to accomplish certain things, always within the limits of playing it safe, you have to go beyond your comfort zone and at some point your body has to be governed by nothing other than sheer willpower.
May and June gifted us with wild mountains, the few mountaineers we encountered were exclusively in the areas where ski lifts were working. We climbed in complete solitude for many days, dealing with long approaches and huge height differences, ,with heavy packs, skis, boots, stoves and meals. The combination of loads of snow, the absence of mountaineers and mountain huts which were either closed or not managed gave us the feeling of magnificent height and isolation, comparable to that of big mountains on other continents.
Breaking trail for days on end through deep or poor snow was extremely tiring. The numerous days of bad weather forced us to navigate with GPS and remain completely focused, and this too proved mentally tiring. For numerous days we drank water we’d melted and ate dehydrated meals. The 70,000 meters of altitude gain and loss have worn our muscles and feet, that now scream for rest. 20 mountains are missing off the list and we certainly won’t stop now.
We’re currently waiting for a good weather window to climb Mont Blanc and cross the great ridges of Peuterey, Brouillard and Jorasses… names that make you tremble as soon as you hear them.
In these two months we’ve experienced the mountains in full and, in return, they have given us so much. We’ve experienced a wealth of emotions, both singularly and as a climbing partnership. We’ve shared every single step and every single effort.
Sharing the excitement of reaching a summit is part of our mountaineering. On the highest point, at that precise moment, all the fatigue disappears and gives way to nothing but joy. We conquer the useless, but it's a beautiful conquest...
THE MOUNTAINS CLIMBED SO FAR
04/05 Gran Paradiso
08/05 Strahlhorn e Rimpfischhorn
14/05 Combin de Valsorey, Combin de Grafeneire, Combin de la Tsessette
17/05 Punta Giordani
18/05 Punta Gnifetti, Punta Parrot, Ludwigshöhe, Corno Nero e Piramide Vincent
19/05 Punta Zumstein e Punta Dufour
23/05 Dent d'Herens
25/05 Dome de Neige des Ecrins
27/05 Barre des Ecrins
30/05 Jungfrau e Mönch
31/05 Gross Fiescherhorn, Hinter Fiescherhorn e Finsteraarhorn
01/06 Gross Grünhorn
03/06 Piz Bernina
12/6 Dente del Gigante
13/6 Corne du Diable, Pointe Chaubert, Pointe Mediane, Pointe Carmen, L'Isolèe, Mont Blanc du Tacul
15/6 Dent Blanche
23/6 Cresta Signal, Lyskamm Occidentale, Lyskamm Orientale, Castore, Polluce, Roccia Nera (Tentativo traversata dei Breithorn)
24/6 Gendarme (Gemello), Breithorn Orientale, Breithorn Centrale, Breithorn Occidentale
26/6 Dirruhorn, Hobarghorn, Stecknadelhorn, Nadelhorn, Lenzspitze
28/6 Taschhorn, Dom de Mischabel
1/7 Les Droites
2/7 Aiguille du Jarden, Grandes Rocheuse, Aiguille Verte