Simone Mondino & Romina Manassero
RECOVERY OF BIVOUACS - VALLE GESSO
We’ve been strongly connected to the mountains ever since we were kids. Today, (thanks to our work) we feel compelled to share our stories of and in the mountains with you. In the mountains, tourism is not as widespread as elsewhere – you can still feel the “call of the wild”. To a certain extent, we see these places as “ours”.
Whether we are on an assignment, or up in the mountains for pleasure, we're looking for solitude, trying to grasp the real spirit of the places we visit and to become one with the nature around us.
Italy has a large number of remote mountain shelters, known as “bivacchi”. We decided to start our “I Bivacchi” project at Valle Gesso – the heart of the Maritime Alps and a place that is very dear to us. Despite its close proximity to France, Monaco and Liguria, the atmosphere here still feels natural. the feel brings you back to the early days of mountaineering.
Argentera, Corno Stella, Monte Matto and Asta are just a few of the peaks that reign supreme in this part of Piedmont, and the Gelas glacier still stands here. Together with the Monte Clapier, it forms the southernmost glacial mass in the entire Alpine region.
We couldn’t possibly start anywhere else but here. The beloved Cuneo area of the Alpi Marittime is remote and has wilderness bivouacs situated right at the foot of its magical mountains: Guiglia, Varrone and Moncalieri. As each hour and mile pass, the noises become extinct, our minds slowly open and free of thought. The mountains have already started to help us to recharge.
Making our way up the slopes to the first bivouac, we find ourselves wondering what we might find there. Climbing on, we feel a sense of peace and lightness, despite our heavy packs. The mountain fills us with positive energy, it’s hard to find the words to do it justice. We are able to disconnect here. Up here, everything is just simple. We end the day with a meal of pasta and beans cooked on a gas stove and a book that we will read by candlelight - the day slowly draws to a close.
The last rays of sunlight still illuminate the highest peaks, presenting us with a heart-warming display of color. A small group of wild mountain ibexes keep us company, curious about our presence. The stars start to appear, slowly becoming the main attraction in the evening sky. A wood fire crackling in the moonlight; the beam of our head torches picking out the path.
We believe that bivouacs bring people together by the unforgettable moments that are created and shared there. Like books, each bivouac shelter holds memories and tells its own story. Bivouacs are a testament to our mountaineering heritage and always bring you to beautiful landscapes and life-enriching wild places.
“In life, it is only if we are ready to conceive the inconceivable that we are able to discover something new”. - Goethe