Walter Bonatti would have turned 90 today
In order to remember the great mountaineer and extremely special man who passed away in 2011, we’ve published the thoughts and memories of his inseparable life partner Rossana Podestà.
90 years ago, on 22 June 1930, Walter Bonatti was born in Bergamo. The Italian is recognised universally as one of the greatest mountaineers of all times and his legendary climbs on Mont Blanc, across the Alps and in the Karakorum were, are and will always continue to be a source of inspiration for entire generations of climbers who see in his light and clean approach a style regarded as the apex of pure and fair mountaineering.
There are simply too many climbs to list, and one might start by citing the east face of Grand Capucin, his route climbing solo up the southwest face of the Petit Dru, his winter ascent on the north of the Grandes Jorasses, his solo climb in winter up the North Face of the Matterhorn, that terrible bivouac he endured at 8000 meters on K2 or the tragedy of the Central Pillar of Freney. And of course that great first ascent of the Shining Wall, ie. magnificent Gasherbrum IV.
There are plenty of other routes and undertakings that should be mentioned. Other achievements that should be recounted. But in order to find out more about the human aspect of the man described on various occasions as "the king of the Alps" or "the father of modern alpinism", we recommend listening to the person who knew him best of all: his life partner Rossana Podesta. Filmed in 2012, a year before the death of the famous Italian actress, this is a historical document that attests to Bonatti's greatness as well as - to put it in his own words - his "way of being”. As well as their great, abiding love.