Franz Nicolini, not only the 82 4000m of the Alps in 60 days

People & History

When in june Ueli Steck start his project 82 Summits I saw a video in the Facebook of a friend, it was some images of him and another friend doing many summits, in fact all the 4000m summits in the Alps, linking all them by cycling or running, and they did in only 60 days. Everybody was looking at Ueli project with the only references of Patrick Berhault. I wanted to talk with him about this adventure. Earlier this year, in April Franz, Franco Nicolini, 55 years old reach the finish line of Adamello Ski Raid, the longest skimo race in the Alps, in position 14th. His team mate, Kikko, was 21 years old, his son. Some time after Elena, his daughter, finish 3rd. Is a mountain family. Franz is a Mountain Guide and has a mountain hut in his loved Dolomite mountains. After many years of alpinism opening new routes and winter ascents in Dolomites and rest of the world (Cerro Torre, Paine, first ascents at 6000m summits in China, and some 8000’s) On the nineties he start a strong career in skimo races, becoming Italian Champion and 2nd in European Championships. He has a 360 (days and angle) vision of the mountain, here is his history:

A long history the one of the Link Up’s

An idea that has always fascinated me, perhaps because I live at the foot of the Brenta, where you will naturally draw with the eye the profiles of the spires of Sfulmini and other peaks of Dolomia.Because concatenate is a synthesis of our own will. And effort. And humility.
Then, link the peaks is a way of living the mountain without a break, which brings you to enhance remote corners of which even imagined beauty.
As I progress is like stepping into the rock, the feelings become more intense, such as those that try admiring the great works of art.The spark goes back more than twenty years ago, in winter, on the fifteen towers of Kiene, reached in one day.
From this experience, along with my good friend Felice Spellini in ’89 we developed the idea of ​​”Via Dolomieu”: concatenate sixteen peaks of the central chain of the Brenta with steps up to the fifth grade. With Felice we performed a extraordinary test, new, in just thirteen hours.And always in the nineties, chaining in winter Lagorai and other “collections” on the Brenta and Presanella, exciting, unforgettable, all done during the day.In spring 2006, with Michele Compagnoni, the new goal: to climb continuously all 82 “four” in the Alps, a project long and demanding, requiring a complex organization.
Everything was born from the desire to develop the idea of ​​the great French climber Patrick Berhault who lost his life in his attempt, on the crests of Taschhorn.
On that occasion, an important turning point, it was no longer the fast climb in one day, but for new horizons of time.
Environments endless, wild, sometimes unthinkable. The performance was only part – more subtle – of the adventure.
Counted new values, feelings, instincts, balance, knowing how to share the daily life together with your partner without the waiting times of Himalayan mountains.
The meetings at high altitude were rare in the tough spring; bad weather, storms, avalanches. But were meetings that made you think about every word, every gesture, as the precious common sense and the experience of those who lived there.
We had to leave with 25 peaks and only 7 days of acceptable  weather after 40 days. Defeated.Only in the fall with the consolation and the lonely ride quietly on the crests Ortler, Zebru, Cevedale Königsspitze and in thirteen hours. Reborn.Then the idea of ​​chaining had evolved into “live the mountains” and the following year we start the great adventure of “Three thousand of Dolomite” with Mirco Mezzanotte: 106 peaks connected in 50 days with all the links between the valleys by bicycle.
Mirco with an old partnership cemented by ski-touring races and the climb Cho-Oyu and Nanga Parbat. But here our Dolomites did a “regular” lifetime: Wake Up, evaluation and weather condition of the walls and then off for seven summits in one day, and maybe the evening bike to a new group refreshed by a nice summer storm.
No television, no newspapers, just rock. The essentials.And finally “Line 4000”, lived in 60 days, from June to August 2008, with Diego Giovannini and usually Mirco that unfortunately due to an injury and despite his determination he had to leave us for a while ‘, then join together to end .
We had finished our old dream of the Alps as a tribute to Patrick.Franz Nicolini

The most beautiful mountains? For me the most beautiful mountains in the world are the Dolomites where I was born and where I live, then surely the mountains of Karakorum.
Other sports you practice? Another sport I love is cycling.
Scientific training or anarchic? Training in the mountains is hard to do in a scientific manner, much better feel the feelings and have a hard head.

Inspired by? mentors? I’ve always been a lover of philosophy “Light and fast = security” and the examples were the French Profit or Berhault.

What you answer at persons who say you take big risks? The activity ‘sports in the mountains involves risk. Those subjective decrease with training, those related to the environment must be evaluated from time to time with the experience. In projects very difficult and so important, we need to develop and train consciences physical – psychological and use the full potential of the experience for the risk assessment. I have taken risks in the mountains but also a lot of experience which more than compensated. Something very beautiful but difficult for me is to assess environmental conditions and consequently make the decisions for the climb.
And now it confirmed that an incident often occurs for a chain of errors.
A think you will never do in mountains? A mountain activities that do not like is the canyoning, because I can not swim !!!

Alone or with people? When I’m alone, increases satisfaction, since all the decisions I have to make alone, but in my work I am use to that, when mountain guide is always alone to decide.

Rest days in a year? where? I prefer to exercise discreet but every day with few breaks per year.

 Best memory on the mountains? The moment with more satisfaction in the mountains it was when after two months of continuous ridges, channels of snow, steep walls I got on top of the ‘last of the 82 x 4000 Alps.

Franz website: http://www.franznicolini.it

—– ITALIANO:

Una storia lunga quella dei concatenamenti.

Un’idea che mi ha sempre appassionato, forse perché vivo ai piedi del Gruppo del Brenta, dove ti viene naturale disegnare con lo sguardo i profili delle guglie degli Sfulmini e delle altre cime di Dolomia.

Perché concatenare è sintesi della propria volontà. E’ fatica. E’ umiltà.

E poi, unire le vette è un modo di vivere la Montagna senza pausa, che ti porta a valorizzare angoli remoti di cui nemmeno immaginavi la bellezza.

Man mano che progredisco è come immergersi nella roccia, le sensazioni si fanno più intense, come quelle che si provano ammirando le grandi opere d’arte.

La scintilla risale a più di vent’anni fa, in inverno, sulle quindici Torri di Kiene, raggiunte in solo giorno.

Da quella esperienza, insieme con il mio grande amico Felice Spellini sviluppammo nel ’89 l’idea di “Via Dolomieu”: concatenare sedici cime della catena centrale del Brenta con passaggi sino al V grado. Con Felice come regista eseguii una prova straordinaria, nuova, in sole tredici ore.

E sempre negli anni novanta, il concatenamento invernale del Lagorai e altre “collezioni” sul Brenta e sulla Presanella, appassionanti, indimenticabili, tutte compiute nell’arco della giornata.

Nella primavera del 2006, con Michele Compagnoni, il nuovo obiettivo: salire ininterrottamente tutti gli 82 “quattromila” delle Alpi, un progetto lungo e impegnativo, che richiedeva un’organizzazione complessa.

Tutto era nato dal desiderio di portare avanti l’idea del grande alpinista francese Patrick Berhault che aveva perso la vita nel suo tentativo sulle creste delTaschhorn.

In quell’occasione una svolta importante, non si trattava più delle velocissime scalate di un giorno, ma di nuovi orizzonti temporali.

Ambienti sconfinati, selvaggi, talvolta impensabili. La performance era solo una parte – sempre più impercettibile – dell’avventura.

Contavano nuovi valori, le sensazioni, l’istinto, l’equilibrio, il saper condividere la quotidianità insieme con il tuo compagno senza i tempi di attesa himalayani.

Gli incontri in quota erano rari in quella primavera così dura, maltempo, tempeste, valanghe. Ma erano incontri che ti facevano riflettere su ogni parola, su ogni gesto, come il prezioso buonsenso e l’esperienza di chi viveva lì.

Dovemmo abbandonare con 25 vette e soli 7 giorni di tempo accettabile su 40 trascorsi. Sconfitti.

Solo in autunno la consolazione con la cavalcata solitaria e in sordina sulle creste dell’Ortles, Zebrù, Gran Zebrù e Cevedale in tredici ore. Rinato.

Ormai l’idea del concatenamento si era evoluta in “vivere la montagna” e l’anno successivo partì la grande avventura sui “Tremila” dolomitici con Mirco Mezzanotte:106 cime collegate in 50 giorni con tutti i gli spostamenti tra le valli in bicicletta.

Con Mirco un vecchio sodalizio cementato dalle gare di scialpinismo e dalle salite al Cho-Oyu e al Nanga Parbat. Ma qui sulle nostre Dolomiti facevamo una vita “regolare”: sveglia, valutazione meteo e condizione delle pareti e poi via anche per sette vette in un giorno solo, e la sera magari in bici verso un nuovo gruppo rinfrescati dal un bel temporale estivo.

Niente televisione, niente giornali, solo roccia. L’essenziale.

E infine “Linea 4000”, vissuta in 60 giorni, da Giugno ad Agosto 2008 con Diego Giovannini e il solito Mirco che purtroppo a causa di un infortunio e nonostante la sua determinazione aveva dovuto abbandonarci per un po’, per poi ricongiungersi per terminare insieme.

Avevamo concluso il nostro vecchio sogno sulle Alpi in omaggio a Patrick.

Franz Nicolini

Per me le più belle montagne del mondo sono le Dolomiti dove sono nato e dove vivo, poi sicuramente le montagne del karakorum.

Altro sport che amo è il ciclismo.

Allenarsi in montagna è difficile farlo in modo scientifico,molto meglio sentire le sensazioni e avere la testa dura.

Sono sempre stato un amante della filosofia ” Leggero e veloce = sicurezza” e gli esempi sono stati i francesi Profit o Berhault.

L’attività’ sportiva in montagna comporta dei rischi. Quelli soggettivi diminuiscono con allenamento, quelli legati all’ambiente si devono valutare di volta in volta con l’esperienza. Nei progetti molto difficili e quindi importanti, si devono sviluppare e allenare delle coscienze fisico – psicologiche e usare il massimo potenziale della esperienza per la valutazione dei rischi. Io mi sono preso dei rischi in montagna ma anche tanta esperienza che bilanciava.

Una cosa molto bella ma difficile per me è la valutazione delle condizioni ambientali e di conseguenza prendere le decisioni per la salita.

Oramai e confermato che un incidente si verifica spesso per una catena di errori.

Una attività di montagna che non mi piace è il canyoning,anche perché non so nuotare!!!

Quando sono solo, aumenta la soddisfazione ,in quanto tutte le decisioni devo prenderle da solo,ma in questo sono abituato.Quando lavoro da guida alpina sono sempre solo a decidere.

Preferisco attività fisica discreta ma tutti i giorni con poche pause all’anno.

Il momento con più soddisfazione in montagna è stato quando dopo due mesi continui di creste, canali di neve, pareti ripide sono arrivato in cima all’ ultimo degli 82 x 4000 delle Alpi.

The anonymus idols #2

People & History

A friday evening the headlights of a van light up the routes of the mediterranean coast to the east. Some hours before the eyes of a fireman and a policeman shine when they see the a sunny weather forecast on the Alps, some hours after, the backpack is always ready, they start driving from the Catalan Pyrenees to some part of the Alps. They know well each other, for the last few decades this team have been climbing on the walls all around the world. Is early morning and they start walking, fast, to the feet of a big mixted face, both having a past (and present) on ski mountaineering international and national races the pace is light. The climb starts and they progress together on a hight speed, not for going fast, but because they are strong. Taking pictures and making jokes on few hours they reached the pitches where normal alpinists takes days. On the crux of the route they put the rope and continue enjoying to the summit. On the evening they drive back home.

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The Alfons; Alfons Valls, “el abuelo” and Alfons Gastón, are both from the first UIAGM guides generation on spain, both far from guiding but shearing the passion of the mountains with the other on hard and technical routes around Pyrenees, Alps or Patagonia, with friends on any rock or ice route or with young’s as me on any ski tour around the world. Shearing the mountain knowledges with everyone who is there to learn, and shearing the emotions of the north faces with the friends. You can still see them on any trail race on august, on a skimo race on february, on a Alps North face on october or on a climb trip on Patagonia on spring.

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The first time I meet Alfons Valls he was coach on the skimo catalan team, he learn me how to do a correct conversion, how to be safe on avalanches and make a good route on a mountain. He takes me to climb some mixted routes and couloirs, and on the races on the end of the season he was fighting with all the young’s of the national team. During this time the other Alfons, Gaston, was racing on skimo world cup and on between races they was together climbing Matterhorn, Cerro Standhardt and other “fast” scales to the Alps. I has been shearing with him some seasons on the spanish and catalan team on skimo and learning everyday going on the mountains with them. Learning, technique, security, but more the passion of wanting to go everyday on the mountains, not matters where. The passion of climb by themselves, the passion of shearing with the young generations.

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Blog of Alfons Gaston: http://agaston.blogspot.fr

The anonymous idols. #1

People & History

All of us has been vibrating with the images of alpinists as Ueli Steck, Steve House, Mark Twight, Jean Cristophe Lafaille, Cristophe Proffit and many more who with them images and books has been inspiring us. I will not talk about this heroes, I will talk about other heroes, who nobody knows if you don’t meet them on a route, on a race or a mountain.

End of November 2013 on the Pyrenees, not many snow on the mountains as normal, but enough to take out the skis (and skins) to go up on down in between the rocks. Young racers are excited to show how the autumn training was good, and far away from the important races of the season are warming up as on the world championships on the first vertical races during the Saturday’s night. But not only young are here. 6 hours ago start to drive from Madrid, 8 h of distance from here a 50 years old informatics engineer. He don’t remembers how many seasons he has been traveling to do races all around Spain and the alps, but on the start line he is (almost) more excited that all the juniors and espoirs. Pum! Start and his skis start to glide up, his lambs to take all the cold air from freezing winter nights and his mind focusing on keeping the pace. He finish exhausted, as all the other racers, and in front of many “youngers”, in fact, is not many racers in front of him excepting the professionals and semi-professionals. Not long time ago he was on the Spanish team of ski mountaineering, participating on World Cups.

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image: Desnivel

Middle august 2013, just a few days before I did one of my biggest goals ever, I was on Cervinia, Italy, coming back on the afternoon to the car after one of the last trainings on Matterhorn, I saw a Spanish van park on side of mine. A familiar voice is inside. His round face with a 2 days beard and round glasses appears on the door. Him and his girlfriend Marta are in vacations on the Alps to do some easy trekking’s and some rock climbing, tomorrow they will leave to Madrid. We’re talking and his eyes cannot look on Marta or me but they’re fixed on the mountain back of us, his eyes shine as a kid with a new toy. He ask me about the conditions.
The day after I wake up and I saw Marta on the van. On the afternoon, he was going to buy a speedcross running shoes and early this morning he was running up. Some hours after he arrives with a half smile of embarrassment, like a child who has ben doing something hidden from his parents.
“Going up I was feeling well, I reach the summit on 3h, after down it was hard, I’m getting old…”

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image: barrabes.com

June 2004 he is in the K2, in a expedition with a famous alpinist and other Madrid climbers, after a month preparing the route and fixing ropes is finally the good day to attempt the summit. Is the 3th year he is here with Carlos, the year before, waiting for a window on K2 he has been climbing Broad Peak on 2 days and in 1990 he was on Nanga Parbat, a few meters from the summit he feel a pain on the chest, thinking it was an edema he turn around, realizing after that it was a brake rib. He has his opportunity to climb K2, a mountain that in alpinism minds a lot. Weather will be great, conditions are safe and is rope fixed the way up. The expedition is ready to attack. He says to Carlos:
“Carlos, now is all ready, you will not need me anymore right? I will not go up, I has coming here to do alpinism” and during all his friends has been reaching the summit of K2 he was climbing alone on Cesen route, forgotten the summit.
Some weeks after, back on Madrid, he was climbing a 8a+ in La Pedriza.

People who knows him thinks he is a competitor (he has been doing thousands of races, including many world cups, many Pierra Mentas…). Climbers don’t consider on of them, but he has been climbing many big walls as The Nose, Salathé, North American Wall, Half Dome… Alpinists don’t consider one of them, but he has been climbing in solo Peuterey on winter, North face of Eiger, Jorasses, Freney… and many more we don’t know, because Jorge Palacio “Palas” he will be as motivated and excited to do a small vertical race on December, a Pierra Menta on March, a Big summit on June, a North face on October and a climbing route on November, going back home happy as a child with a new toy. And if you was not there to see him, nobody will know.

Julien Irilli Speed solo paragliding

News & Infos, Others

Julien Irilli, born in Annecy (France) realized a proliferated summer in tha alps. In two months time he leave his marks on the North wall of the Jorasses and Matterhorn and the Supercouloir in Mont Blanc de Tacul, climbing (really fast) in solo and paragliding the descents.

Julien is a polyvalent athlete, climbing and paragliding guide, He climbs 8a with a preference for the long alpine routes, in ice climbing with a M11 grade he has been soloing some 5 and 6 ice routes as Polar Circus in Canada, Fil a Plomb, Carli-Chassagne in Chamonix… In Paragliding he has been France Champion and many times on top 10 on World Cup. He has been also racing on Speed ski world and european championships and racing on ski mountaineering and trail running races.

Captura de pantalla 2014-11-05 a les 17.58.50

4 september, Julien arrives in Zermatt early morning, at 11h30 he is in the foot of the North face. 4h30 after he is in the summit after climbing Schmid route (1100m – TD) Climbing down Hornli ridges he paraglides from Solvay to Zermatt.

here his narrative: http://www.voyages-escalade-parapente.fr/solo-en-face-nord-du-cervin-une-aventure-interieure/

14 september, 9h30 Julien paraglides from Aiguille de Midi, 10h he poses on Leschaux hut, 11h30 he starts climbing on Jorasses North face Colton / MacIntyre. 15H05 he is in Pointe Walker after 3h35 of climbing. at 15h30 he paraglides from the summit, landing on Chamonix at 16h.

here his narrative: http://www.voyages-escalade-parapente.fr/speed-solo-aux-jorasses-en-parapente-recit/

5 october, Julien climbs Supercouloir in Mont Blanc du Tacul (ED,5,5c,800m) in just 4h. 9h30: Aiguille du midi 10h15: starts Supercouloir 11h30: Attack Gervasutti 12h15: begining goulotte 15h: Summit of the route 15h30: summit du Mont Blanc du Tacul 16h30: back in Chamonix.

here his narrative: http://www.voyages-escalade-parapente.fr/speed-solo-parapente-au-supercouloir-du-mont-blanc-du-tacul-ed55c800m-4h/