Stelvio Diaries

My beginnings in the world of the splitboard were due to an injury, so I started to splitboard to Cerler (elevation 2000) to make sport. There I had fun with my friends and then we went back to chair lift. Later, I took courses and trips to the mountain and I started to be fond with this growing discipline. One day, my friend Pablo encouraged me to make a crossing t by the Stelvio National Park (Italy Sub Tirol), linking a refuge net. We were travelling around those incredible landscapes and climbing mountains of 3800 m for eight days that I will never forget.

Days 1 and 2

After sleeping few hours Valen, Elsa, Pablo, Diego, Alberto, Àngel, Julia and I have crossed France and Italy to get to Santa Chaterina. When Diego and I have arrived the rest of the crew have checked my bag pack with the intention just to take the bare essentials. They have cleared almost everything!

Day 3

After a good breakfast and feeling joyful we quietly started to climb to Punta Sant Mateo to get to Cesare Branca refuge which is under the mountain. Even though the most of us had very light skis I didn’t see the difference on that. But I had some complication when going down

in telemark. When climbing, the snow was very heavy and that’s way Alberto and me we decided to used that snow when we have arrived to the refuge before the rest of the group. It was a hard drop but very fun. Everything is new to me. There’s a place for the skis in the refuge and I kept my splitboard there so it was the only splitboard during of all adventure. Once we were in the refuge we had to hang up all the wet clothes all over the place. The anecdote: I felt like an idiot when all of them had told they have climbed Aconcagua, Montblanc, and some fool, the K2. Both Angel and Julia had climbed a 7000m mountain making the artificial ascent themselves. To be honest, they cracked up when I said I had climbed Aneto last summer… even I did it with the same enthusiasm as if I had climbed the top of the world!

Day 4

We quickly woke up. The aim: get to Palo de la Mare and walk to the next refuge. The sky was dark and the weather had quickly get worse. The hikers started to walk faster to avoid the bad weather. All the people have put their sheets on when we have arrived in the glacial. Meanwhile I was so nervous that I didn’t do it and I found a heavy slope and a lot of ice. Thanks to Diego I overcome this situation using the sticks to hold myself on them. Then I could put my sheets on. I swear I will never be so rash! It was very hard to reach the top. Pablo had fallen into a coast because off the bad visibility. We’d been lucky: it has all been a fright. Considering the bad situation we decided to undo the path to reach back the refuge. The drop was very complicated; we even had to use the GPS. Bad consequences of the day: I don’t feel right and I’m taking Ibuprofen.

Day 5

We had to improvise a new route because off yesterday change of plans. We decided not to walk over the tops to reach Pizzini’s refuge. Some people of the group had skied and the rest we stayed to learn how to read maps and how to use the compass. It’s snowing right now as every night does. As yesterday I’m keep on taking Ibuprofen.

Day 6

The sky is blue and there’s fresh snow. We were the first to go out of the refugee and we nervously had to climb to Cevedale’s top. We quietly advance at steady pace. Pablo, Valen, Àngel and great Julia (an incredible woman) were on the front. I was walking along behind the trail the skies were leaving. In the middle of the path we had to stop to fix Alberto’s bindings. After a few hours when we were at 2300 m we have arrived in a zone of a heavy drop, full of snow and cracks. We separately walked ones from the others for safety but there was another group of hikers that have crossed this part all together without considering our advices. We did get worked up. We finally could reach the ridge that takes to the top. I decided not to continue and wait on one shelf over there. It’s been 90 long eternal minutes standing on there without seeing a thing because of a -15º blizzard that had finally reached us. Angel fell in to a crack hidden under the snow and he only could hold himself with his arms. We started a complicated drop still horrified. Furthermore, we got the wrong direction reaching a plain valley. When we realized it the expert ones started to look at the maps in the middle of the blizzard. Thanks to the compass we could discover where we were. We finally decided to climb the entire valley we had left behind as we ca get an alternative refuge. Thanks to Julia’s bearings we got the clue 2 ( canyons from the 1st World War ) to reach back the refuge. We heard the siren from the refuge after a little time; it’s usual with this weather. We prepared a great supper to celebrate the end of the day. Today we feel more alive than ever! We also phoned the refuge we were supposed to reach and the one that Alberto was waiting for us. As it’s usual in me I took an other ibuprofen.

Day 7

We calmly went out waiting for the sun because the ascent to the next refuge is quite hard. Tomorrow is an alpine day in which we will have to leave the splitboard on the mountain base to get to a groove that will leaves us a wide ascent that we will have to climb with crampons and ice ax to reach the top of the Gran Zebru.

Day 8

It’s been a brand new shinny day with a lot of fresh snow. Considering the high risk of avalanche we decided not to climb Gran Zebru. So, we’re back to Santa Chaterina. At high noon we have arrived at the hotel and we started to ski for all the ski slopes of this entire empty place. It’s been a great experience with an unbeatable companion with an only thought in my brain: the splitboard still needs to improve but to improve we need to use it and promote it. I think this is going to happen. It is going to happen because there’s a lot of inventors and conquerors; there’s plenty of brave people, quite a fool, stubborn and also romantic that never surrenders despite setbacks. Because I am a snowboarder and I also want to reach mountains.