Do your part
Now more than ever we are called upon to do our part. We must stay at home for everyone’s good, in order to regain happiness and also the freedom to return to the mountains.
"I'm doing my part." These few words from a young anaesthetist working on the devastating frontline in one of the many Italian intensive care units certainly provide food for thought. They’re so simple yet at the same time so definitive they pierce straight into the heart. A bit like that providential ray of light that penetrates though the clouds and indicates which way to go. Because, right now, there’s not much that needs discussing and there aren’t too many decisions to be made. All we can do is make sure we’re doing our part. A bit like up on a rock face when things aren’t going as planned. Or when we have to escape from the mountains in order to save ourselves.
How many times have we experienced situations like these before? How many times have we read about ordeals that pushed great climbers and "legends" to their very limit? From Walter Bonatti to René Desmaison. From Chris Bonington to Joe Simpson. From Reinhold Messner to Kurt Diemberger. The little, great history of mountaineering is full of these tragic and at the same time exemplary turn of events.
The time has now come to put into practice everything we have learned. Now is the time to do something that really matters to everyone. After all, it's not even that difficult! Most of us are only asked to stay home. Nothing, when compared to an emergency bivouac in the midst of a raging storm. Nothing, as a friend pointed out, compared to the two consecutive months spent on a portaledge by the Spanish Gallego brothers, or the 32 days spent alone on a wall by Sílvia Vidal. Staying at home pales into insignificance compared to what doctors, nurses and all healthcare workers are doing in our hospitals. But also what all those who continue to guarantee our essential services are doing. Because supermarket employees are heroes, too! We have used and wasted this term so often in the past with reference to achievements in mountaineering, but never before has this word, hero, seemed more apt at describing all our fellow citizens who are fighting for us. They are doing their (immense) part.
And so I imagine that climbers and mountaineers will know what is needed, as they do when out in the mountains. Without second thoughts, without hesitating, they will face the problem, just as they always have. As they’ve always known. Fighting against gravity, for life, sometimes against reality itself. Always giving their very best. Doing everything in their power. part. Because staying home now means defending and reclaiming our future freedom. It means fighting in order to climb, rocks and mountains, once again.