Pakistan
Winter project Shimshall Valley

January 2010

Although I was happy and motivated for this new adventure, I felt a great responsibility to myself. I was the organizer of this winter project which tried to include humanistic and social issues as well as the typical alpine goals. During a twenty day expedition, apart from the opening of new icefalls and, under favourable conditions, of new routes in some unexplored mountains, I would have put mine and my friends’ knowledge at the Shimshal Climbing School’s disposal (the first mountaineering school in Pakistan allowed also for women). Moreover, thanks to the collaboration with Dr Marco Cavana we were to organize a dispensary in order to deal with the problems related to the inadequate health-care service in that area. The moments spent in Shimshal, either because of the intense emotions or the strong human relations, were an opportunity to live an absolutely new and very fulfilling experience. Besides, during this cold Pakistani stay I had an experience which deeply changed my life: while climbing an icefall I was suddenly hit by a hail of ice and debris, and it’s a miracle I’m still alive! On that occasion I learnt the most important lesson that mountains could teach me.
At times an alpinist needs neither harder training or more difficult mountains to improve himself/herself to become stronger. Sometimes an experience is just enough to think over and understand that we have only one life to live. Today’s renunciation means the chance of having other glorious alpine experiences in the years to come.