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silenzi che parlano

by Chiara Gusmeroli




The material deposited on the ground on the compacted snow no longer makes a sound, the wind does not blow and the only living beings there are us, silent.

The light-hearted enthusiasm with which we exulted earlier on the summit has faded. And I, still incredulous, enjoy the 360-degree view that the summit of Fitz Roy offers.

A gift that fills and empties at the same time, stops the moment, chains you there: standing on a rock, while the last rays of sun warm your face and dye the granite yellow, orange and then gold, and the sky red, pink and violet.

It is 9.22pm. Two intense days have passed since we left the country: eyes and hands are both witnesses and victims.
eyes and hands are at the same time witnesses and victims; but the head says that it is not yet time to release the tension, the following day awaits us the descent from the opposite side of the climb awaits us, with uncertain weather conditions.

Eating, drinking and resting as much as possible become the main objective.



I am sitting on the grassy bank, looking out over the Rio De Las Vueltas, sheltered from the wind that in the streets of El Chalten blows the sand fiercely in the faces of passers-by. Thoughts run as fast as the river that keeps me company.

Five days have now passed, but the memories remain vivid, the images firmly imprinted in the mind: moments, sentences, music, everything resonates. Fragments of a fascinating and decomposed puzzle, details that I struggle to rework, moments
eternal moments of days:

Like when we emerged at the Paso del Cuadrado and for the first time I saw the Afanasieff in its entirety,
the immense ridge that took us to the summit of Fitz Roy, and Cerro Torre.

Like when, under the Supercanaleta, I was so stunned that while Matteo was ready with crampons at his feet I was there, standing still, looking up in disbelief.

Like the lengths of the first day, climbed with the eagerness to get my hands on the rock after the eight hours of approach. Lengths almost run, with the uncertainty of "who knows what time we will arrive at the bivouac pitch", which friends had recommended for the first night.

And then again the dawn of the second day, Cerro Piergiorgio behind us in pastel colours, hot tea and warm hands over the jetboil that we began to regret shortly afterwards, when the cracked slabs full of ice did not give us exactly the good morning we had hoped for.

The changes in buoyancy, from booties to boots and crampons, and the heavy backpack on our shoulders that made our movements awkward and precarious balances; the force of gravity that, unexpectedly, also works on the other side of the world.

The immense silences between contemplation, inertia of movement, gratitude and exhaustion that enveloped the last
lengths, encrusted with snow mushrooms worked by the wind.

And then the sunset, the night and the dawn on the summit, the endless descent: the rappels first along the Franco Argentina route and then from the Breccia degli Italiani, the glacier in the scorching sun and the return soaked in sun cream and soaked boots.



A silence to break to thank those who were part of and allowed me to do this.
To Fitz Roy, to Patagonia, to Matteo.

To the companions of this journey, to the beautiful people I have met, people who have helped me, advised me, taught me something, waited for me, people with whom I shared coffee, water from the streams, beer and tinto wine.

To those who, despite having stayed at home, I have always felt closer than ever.

To lifelong friends who, over the years, have taught me how to go to the mountains, how to stay in the mountains; in the delicate and continuous search for balance, between the edges to be smoothed and those to be climbed.

Finally, a thank you to the wind which, despite its blowing, has not managed to take anything away from me: I have everything here, printed on me.



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