Not just mountains: the basis of change

The preparation for this project - athletic, mental and physical - will pass many steps that seem small but that are all significant.

In order to transform this team of consultants into mountain professionals, scheduling mountain outings isn’t enough. We need to train and look after every aspect of this change: head, heart, legs, and stomach.

Without the right preparation of each single element, in synch with the others, reaching the top is impossible. The head is needed to keep us from falling into errors, to be prepared for anything; to discover the mountains with awareness and intention, so that the outings aren’t simple excursions, but real trips of discovery and growth.

The heart gives us the strength to face the next step, even when everything else is too tired: it reminds us why we are on this journey, what the final objective is; it pushes us to look inside ourselves at the end of every climb and to be amazed at how much we have changed when we return to the valley.

But we can’t forget the legs and the stomach. It’s our legs that bring us to our destination if we train them well. It’s them that will have to face a bigger change in elevation, a longer time, and a growing effort at every outing. How could they do it without the stomach? Without the right nutrition, without the right balance of all the parts of our body, our physical strength, our resistance?

Winter is almost on its way out, and if for our outings we expect to flourish like flowers in the spring, we can’t stop training all these components. Rather, this is the moment to build the foundations for facing the next challenging steps. And no one is pulling back.

LET’S START FROM THE BASICS

To face any change, we must work on what there is to begin with. How can we improve, grow, if we don’t know our own weaknesses?

It’s with this awareness that the team faced the physical fitness medical appointments and tests at the CONI Sports Medicine Institute. Some showed up sure of themselves and of their physical condition, others a bit hesitant and reluctant to know their results, but all curious to know their body better.

Because this isn’t a simple appointment at the doctor’s office for a cough. There isn’t a signed slip of paper to take home. No, here every physical aspect of the athletic preparation needed for this challenge was analysed: breath, effort tests, recovery times…

It’s a complete check-up that will be repeated in time in order to monitor our changes. It’s a check that will be integrated with other tests, such as the one for hypoxia, which evaluates predisposition to mountain sickness at over 4000 metres in this long journey.

HOW OLD ARE YOU?

This question isn’t enough. And for that reason, there is another important partner that will follow us in this journey and will help us in our training: GetFit. With their philosophy, which is tied to “wellness”, and not just to building muscle, we know that we are truly in great hands. It’s with this awareness that we meet them for the first time in the Methodos offices in Milan. Them, and Tanita, obviously.

Tanita is the real game changer in this approach, the tool that will allow us to know ourselves at a deeper level, and to make the first steps with awareness. It’s a digital scale that does more than just unforgivingly show you your weight.

A bit curious and a bit surprised, one by one we get on the scale, holding in our hands the precision handles. We can’t feel it, but a light electric current is passing through our bodies, exploring and analysing every element that we’re made from: fat mass, muscle mass, visceral fat levels, metabolic age…

Many terms that most of us don’t even know! And from the Tanita analysis each of us gets a colourful sheet full of data, number, and graphs. This is us, at our deepest and most basic level. A knowledge of ourselves deep enough to surprise us!

In the following days, the question that was asked around was “How old are you?” There are people closer to middle age that have a teen’s metabolic age, and others that are young but that, according to Tanita, aren’t far from old age. For some it’s a surprise. For many it’s an enlightenment. Awareness, on paper, that we all have our own journey to undertake autonomously, in parallel to that which we are already on as a team. And that it’s indispensable.

STOMACH AND LEGS

Strengthened by this new awareness, we look to the real work: training in the gym. Once a week, all the Methodos consultant participate in a tailored lesson, and will have access to subsidies on GetFit memberships so that they can continue autonomously whenever they want.

Even this is a pleasant surprise for all: going to the gym with colleagues is just another sign of their belonging to this tribe. More motivation to come together. By now, after nights spent together at 3000 metres, ready to reach the peak the following day, we feel more connected than ever.

But the gym is just another element, an external one. It’s easy to see that something is changing from the inside. The fatty snacks, those heavily based on carbohydrates, and all the other food that could usually be seen coming out of our bags and backpacks during breaks starts to be replaced by dry fruit and healthy alternatives. Walking through the office, you can hear more and more talk about healthy eating and sports. Even weekend plans start to include less TV and more walks.

The river of change is starting to flow. It started as not much more than a spring, but its slowly meeting more and more tributaries. It’s always changing flux and trajectory, and so it’s becoming more and more unstoppable. Just like this expedition.

The journey

1

M

3061

Mont Fallère

Methodos - M4810 - Mont Fallère

It is the first peak over 3.000m of our project

Mont Fallère is found in the Grand Combin Alps in the Aosta Valley.

Found between the Gran San Bernardo Valley and the Valdigne, it’s a great introduction to the magical world of the 3000s. Mont Fallère, situated in the heart of the Aosta valley, proposes a 360° panorama of all the Aosta valley peaks. Its layout is not the be underestimated, but overall it doesn’t present great difficulties, even if we need to be really careful in the final part of the ridge.

We go up in two stages: the first day up to the Fallère Hut; the second day we arrive at the summit and then we go down to the valley.

Read the story :)

2

M

3128

Pointe Lechaud

Our first alpinistic climb to a summit

Pointe Léchaud (3.128m) is located along the borderline between Italy (Valle d'Aosta) and France (Savoy).

It is located south of the Col de la Seigne (2.512m) between the Veny Valley and the Savoy Valley of the Glaciers.

We climb in two stages: on the first day we walk from La Visaille to the Elisabetta Soldini Hut (2.195m); on the second day up to the top and back to La Visaille.

From the hut we go up to the Col Chavannes (2.603m); from the hill we have to leave the marked path that begins to descend into the Chavannes valley, following a path on the right that crosses the very steep eastern slope of Mount Lechaud. The trail continues on the right, again not far from the crest of Mount Lechaud and crosses a small valley of stones or snow, reaching the wide basin where the Chavannes Glacier is located. Once we have put on crampons, we set foot on the glacier going diagonally to the left. From this point we gradually turn to the right pointing directly to the top, which can be reached by overcoming some easy rocky steps. What we see is a vast and spectacular panorama on the Italian side of Mont Blanc.

3

M

3842

Vallée Blanche

Methodos - M4810 - Vallée Blanche

Crossing the Gigante glacier towards the Aiguille du Midi

Although it may seems like a "scenic walk", the Vallée Blanche should not be underestimated, as it is an itinerary that involves crossing the Gigante glacier. It is always necessary to be accompanied by an Alpine Guide who knows the itinerary very well and knows how to avoid the dangers.

We go up by cable car to Punta Helbronner (3.462m), we wear harnesses and crampons and we tie ourselves together.

The first section makes us lose altitude and then we start to climb towards the Aiguille du Midi. The last section includes the ascent of the snow-covered ridge of the Aiguille du Midi, reaching 3.842m.

The return is with the panoramic cable car which takes us back to Punta Helbronner.

4

M

4061

Gran Paradiso

Methodos - M4810 - Gran Paradiso

The Gran Paradiso is the only mountain over 4000m that is fully on Italian territory

The Gran Paradiso is the only mountain over 4000m that is fully on Italian territory. A classic and fascinating climb: after a first part on ice, to be able to reach the peak marked by a statue of the Virgin Mary, you must pass some simple rocky crossings.

5

M

4559

Monte Rosa

Methodos - M4810 - Monte Rosa

2 full-immersion days of technical alpine skill training on Monte Rosa

The Monte Rosa is a mountain range that is found in the Pennine Alps, along the watershed line between Italy (on the border of the Aosta valley and Piedmont) and Switzerland. It gives name to the Monte Rosa Alps supergroup, which in turn is composed of various important groups and subgroups, east of the Cervino and south-east of the Mischabel range. It is the most extended range in the Alps, and second in height after the Mont Blanc. It is the highest mountain in Switzerland and the second in Italy, and has the highest average height, containing 9 of the 20 highest peaks of the chain.

6

M

4810

Monte Bianco

Methodos - M4810 - Monte Bianco

Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian) is a mountain situated in the North-occidental Alps, in the Graian Alp range, on the watershed line between the Aosta valley (val Veny and val Ferret in Italy), and Haute-Savoie (the Arve valley in France), in the territories of Courmayeur and Chamonix, which give name to the Mont Blanc Massif, belonging to the subsection of the Mont Blanc Alps.

It’s 4808,72m (the last official measure was taken September 13, 2017) make it the highest mountain in the Alps, in Italy, in France, and in general in Europe if we exclude the Caucuses. This is why it’s called the King of the Alps. It shared a spot on the list of the highest Seven Summits with Mount Elbrus in the Caucuses.

Primarily granite full of peaks and crests, cut by deep glacial valleys, it is internationally renowned for its climbing and, from a historical point of view, the birth of mountaineering coincides with its first ascent: August 8, 1786.