An infinite line through the scree made us suffer at every step, until we reached the base of the climb to the notch that divides Passo Gavia from the Val di Rezzalo. And it wasn’t over yet — quite the contrary.
If the scree had made us suffer before, tackling unstable traverses with the tiredness of many hours of effort became even more unbearable. A little further on, the nightmare continued through a crumbling couloir, where we had to always stay focused and carefully consider every step. Meanwhile, we gazed at the sun-kissed green meadows on the valley floor with longing. A distant mirage, which we couldn’t wait to reach.
At last we felt the soft grass under our feet. An unexpected relief, followed by another easy climb that finally brought us to the notch. In front of us was the last remaining peak, the only one on the route not to reach 3,000 meters: Monte Gavia, which stops at 2,987 meters. It was one of the most carefree moments of the whole day — maybe because it was the last summit, maybe because of the straightforwardness of this last stretch. Maybe because of the satisfaction of having completed this crossing of the 13 peaks of the Gavia.
A circumnavigation that we admired while sprawled on the ground, back-to-back, overcome by a tiredness charged with happiness. But we couldn’t waste too much time. The storm was coming. Once again we set off, heading quickly toward the valley — Robert at such an impressive speed that he almost seemed to be skiing. In a flash we reached Rifugio Berni, our starting point.
We’d been out for just over 13 hours, but now we could finally hug each other happily. We would have done it at the summit if we hadn’t had to move on, chased by the storm. It was an incredible adventure that left me smiling for days as I remembered the exhilaration of the continuous ups and downs, of all those peaks reached in a handful of hours along a route that seems designed for those who love the mountains in their authenticity.