The relationship between Karpos and the mountains has always been based on respect for the mountain environment and for those who care for it. It’s a deeply held value that we believe in strongly and that we’ve put into practice in our day-to-day work through Help the Mountains.
For Marco Confortola, an extreme mountaineer and mountain guide who has reached eleven Himalayan peaks, the mountains are a guide to life. It’s the mountain environment that offers him the opportunity to explore and to explore within, discovering the innermost aspects of his nature. Marco’s love for high elevations translates into an untiring effort to protect and maintain mountain areas and the natural environment. It’s his personal way of thanking the mountains for the experiences they’ve given him.
From this shared approach, which has linked Karpos and the Italian climber of the Himalayas for some time, the “Keep the Mountains” project emerged: an invitation to live in harmony with the mountains and preserve them.
“Maintaining means above all respecting the balance of the mountains. Simple actions, like taking your garbage back down to the valley, help protect the animals and plants that live there, as well as preserving the beauty of mountainous areas. Respecting the mountains means keeping them alive by supporting the activities of the rifugi, places that enable us to come together and share our passion but that also play a crucial role in the protection and development of the territory. Finally, maintaining means sharing, passing on the culture and a mindful approach to the mountains. Most of all, it means safety and the awareness that sometimes stopping is the right decision.”
MARCO CONFORTOLA – EXTREME MOUNTAINEER AND MOUNTAIN GUIDE
The project to raise awareness for mountain conservation launched in the spectacular setting of the Stelvio National Park, in Valfurva, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. The key participants included University of Padova students in the “Prevention and Emergency in the Mountains and at High Altitude” postgraduate specialization course, who observed up close an outstanding example of maintaining the mountain environment.
This audience, consisting of nurses and health care professionals, was particularly mindful of the issue of safety education and mountain maintenance, as the course aims to train medical personnel specialized in interventions in a mountain context.
The day on the trails provided them with a total immersion in the environment, featuring the mating calls of deer, animal tracks, and a spectacular view of the deteriorating Forni Glacier. Educational moments alternated with reflections on the role that each of them can play in communicating the principles of maintenance to the people with whom they come in contact during their daily activities.
“The course was designed in response to the need to have personnel capable of operating in a mountain context in the Province of Belluno. A demand, due to the topography of the environment, to which was added the increase in interventions in the area by the Veneto Alpine and Speleological Rescue due to the pandemic situation. With this postgraduate specialization course in prevention and emergency response in mountain and high-altitude areas, we are trying to meet these needs by training young professionals who can intervene using their health care skills.
Being here with Marco Confortola represents an opportunity for these young people to experience a context that’s different from the mountains around Belluno, as well as an opportunity to hear stories, tales, and anecdotes that will further strengthen their passion for the mountains.”
FABIO BERGAMIN - PROGRAM STAFF, "PREVENTION AND EMERGENCY IN THE MOUNTAINS AND AT HIGH ALTITUDE
The group’s excursion ended at the foot of the Forni Glacier, the largest valley glacier and the only one of the Himalayan type in Italy. Standing in front of the glacial structures, now suffering from the climate crisis, created the opportunity to introduce and address another issue that Karpos and Marco Confortola care deeply about: environmental sustainability and the melting of glaciers.
In recent decades, the Forni Glacier has undergone a significant retreat due to global warming — a phenomenon that is affecting not only the Alps but in general all the peaks of the world, including those of Karakorum and the Himalayas. Glacier water is essential because it gives life to the communities located downstream, irrigating the fields and sustaining the livestock.
For this reason, another purpose of the initiative was to enable the students to grasp the dimensions of this problem and the need to preserve the whole mountain environment.
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