Gronell Experience

Stories, feats and emotions of those who, together with Gronell, live his passions.

Mario Merelli

Mario Merelli

May 15, 2011 It is summit. Only by hearing the magic phrase, Mario Merelli understood that he had made it, that he had won the Dhaulagiri. An immense satisfaction, which came after two unsuccessful attempts (in 2001 and 2007) and both marred by the disappearance of a teammate: the Spaniard Pepe Garces and Sergio Dalla Longa from Bergamo. He arrived alone. Everyone, including climbing partner Marco Zaffaroni, gave up due to the blizzard and wind and the dense fog. "The final climb was terrible: I couldn't see anything anymore, I didn't know where I was anymore. I understood that I had arrived, because there was nothing more to climb ". But the doubt remained until, on the 19th, the international community of mountaineers certified the achievement. «To get to the top of an 8,000, you have to put your skin on it. Because it's not like classic mountaineering, where two are linked, where temperatures are acceptable and breathing conditions are normal; when you try an 8,000, everything goes to the extreme, so everyone has to think for themselves, they just have to think about making it. On May 15, I left the tent at 4 in the morning and returned at 4 in the afternoon: 12 hours of climbing and descending, with a difference in height of about 800 meters. Dhaulaghiri is not a simple mountain, it is characterized by strong meteorological instability and cold (often 40 degrees below zero), in the morning it is generally clear, at noon it begins to cloud over and before midday and a half you can be sure that it snows. When enormous avalanches are seen coming down from the base camp, you are there thinking that tomorrow you will have to go there ... To console yourself, you say to yourself: if it broke off tonight, tomorrow it will not happen ».

What do you do before facing the last effort?

«The Puja is celebrated, a religious ceremony that invokes the blessing of the deities who reside in the mountains. Branches of juniper and incense are lit and the swirls of smoke rise towards the sky, taking with them the prayers of men. It is always a moment of strong emotion ».

Is the goal to reach all 14 eight thousand?

"The goal is the pleasure of climbing; there must always be the desire to leave, to start over, to get involved. Because, at certain heights and in certain weather conditions, you must want to get out of the tent. If one day I find myself facing the last 8,000, it will be like the first time, with the same passion for the mountains. Not for a ranking, for a record, but for myself ».


MARIO MERELLI, 49 years old, from Bergamo, lives in Lizzola (a hamlet of Valbondione). Always passionate about the mountains, he has followed the teachings of his father Patrizio, a well-known mountain guide, from an early age. Mario has assets of 10 eight thousand (of the famous 14 highest peaks in the world), the last one, Dhaulaghiri, the white mountain of the Himalayas, in central Nepal, 8,167 meters.



"In memory of Mario Merelli, passionate explorer, mountaineer, and dear friend."

GRONELL


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