First ascent and descent on skis of an untouched peak in Pakistan for Ferrino Ambassador Enrico Mosetti
The latest expedition of Enrico Mosetti, mountain guide, resteep skiing expert and Ferrino Ambassador, is all about lightness and adventure. In recent weeks, together with his friends Giovanni Zaccaria and Davide Limongi, he made the first ascent and first descent of an unclimbed peak in Pakistan.
A few days after his return to Italy, we contacted Mose to find out more about this beautiful achievement.
Enrico, how did this expedition come about?
Actually, the idea had been floating around in my head for some time. I'd seen the wall a few years ago, scrolling on Instagram, in the profile of a Pakistani photographer. The route immediately fascinated me and, over the next few days, doing some research on Google Earth and FatMap, I was able to pinpoint its location in the Passu Glacier area. Then came Covid and the lockdown and that mountain stayed there in the drawer of dreams... In the first months of this year, I started thinking about it again and, through contacts with the agency that had followed me on my previous trip to Pakistan, I managed to find out that it was a mountain of around 5500 metres, which had not yet been skied down and, almost certainly, had not even been climbed!
So you immediately got in touch with friends to organise the expedition?
Actually, at first I thought of going alone. Then I had the chance of talking to Giovanni Zaccaria, also a mountain guide and mountain rescue technician, with whom, although I had never skied, I had shared some mountaineering experience. He was immediately enthusiastic about the project and, shortly afterwards, Davide Limongi, my compatriot and trusted companion of many skiing adventures, also joined in. We organised everything in a hurry, as our days were numbered: Giovanni had to be back in Italy by 19 May for a wedding, and Davide, being a member of the Guardia di Finanza, he had to wait for permission from his bosses to be able to leave, so we only managed to get on the plane on 25 April...
A decidedly short time for such an exploratory project full of unknowns!
Yes, but luckily everything went well! The weather conditions were optimal and we were soon able to reach our mountain and be ready for the ascent, as the not-so-high altitude meant we didn't have to spend time acclimatising. Once the base camp was set up, we made the ascent in one go, without having to set up intermediate camps, and all three of us reached the summit.
You have described this ascent and descent as the realisation of the dream you have been chasing for so long. What made it so special compared to other experiences you have had in the mountains outside Europe?
It was a combination of things. First of all, the fact that it was the first time out of the Alps since Covid. Then the fact that I felt it was so 'mine', that mysterious mountain that I had spotted by chance on the internet and had been chasing for so long on maps... Also because, in all likelihood, it was an absolute first ascent and certainly a first descent. It's a kind of fulfilment of my ideal adventure. I consider myself more of a skier than a mountaineer, but what fascinates me the most is actually skiing on mountains that have never been descended, even better if they have never been climbed! On expeditions, I look for the perfect fusion of these two aspects: that of mountaineering which is a bit more technical and challenging and that of exploratory skiing.
You also gave this mountain a name, dedicating it to Leonardo Comelli...
This was another important aspect of the experience we had: I was there with two great friends, all three of us gathered on an untouched peak in memory of Leo, the companion with whom I nurtured and developed my love for the mountains and skiing, who sadly passed away in 2016, due to a fatal fall while he was attempting the first descent of Laila Peak with me. Both he and I never looked sympathetically at the various memorial plaques scattered around the mountains, but when we were up there it came naturally to us to christen the summit we had just reached with the name 'Romboss', the affectionate nickname by which Leo was called by all his friends.
After this fine achievement your expedition did not stop....
Yes, things had gone better than expected and we still had a few days to go. It wasn't possible to quickly find other mountains to climb in the area where we were, so we decided to move to the Laila Peak area, among the same valleys that I had visited years before with Leo... We spotted another beautiful 6447-metre peak, only this time I messed it up! Before heading up to base camp, we spent a couple of days in Skardu and, when we arrived under the mountain, I realised that I had forgotten my heated socks there... Unfortunately, after freezing in 2007 during a winter in the Julian Alps, my feet are still very sensitive to the cold and I have to protect them using that kind of equipment. To cut a long story short, after the night spent on the mountain at the intermediate camp, with temperatures dropping to -38 degrees, we set off to reach the summit, but around 6.30 a.m. I realised that my feet weren't doing well at all and I decided to go back in so as not to risk freezing again. Giovanni and Davide, on the other hand, went on, but after a while the latter, probably also demotivated by my giving up, decided to turn back. Giovanni, on the other hand, was in great shape and continued alone, reaching the summit and completing the descent on skis: a fine demonstration of determination, tenacity and skill!
Earlier you were talking about one of your ascents in the Julian Alps. How much did the fact that you grew up as an alpinist and skier in such wild mountains influence your way of experiencing the mountains?
I think it played an important role. The Julian Alps have always been considered a somewhat peripheral part of the Alps, and for years, especially when I was younger, I saw this as a limitation. I often dreamed of moving, at least for a while, to more famous places, those where there are the better known and famous mountains. Gradually, however, I realised that perhaps being born and raised in the Julian Alps was a blessing. As a skier, I was able to deal with an environment that trains and teaches you a great deal, because the conditions are the master there: it always snows a lot, but we rarely ski beautiful snow and behind any trip, even a medium-easy one, there is always something a bit complex and challenging, because of the length, or because of the wild environment or the weather conditions. From an alpinistic point of view, then, the Giulie are even more challenging, because in the summer, if you want to climb there, you have to learn to deal with almost always mediocre rock, and in the winter they are an extraordinary gym for mixed climbs, offering an extremely adventurous training terrain, capable of delivering great satisfaction.
At your side, on this last expedition, as on many previous ones, you had Ferrino's technical equipment. How did they behave?
Very well I would say! We had two tents with us. One was the Piler 3, which has been with me for a few years now and which we set up at base camp. For me it was yet more confirmation that it is a super valid tent for this type of use, even on snow and even in quite low temperatures. The other tent was the new Blizzard 2. We only used it for one day on the second mountain, testing it to the limit of its capabilities and perhaps even a little beyond. In fact, there were three of us in a two-man tent... at minus 38 degrees! An extreme test, but it passed brilliantly! Then I had the Lightec 1200 sleeping bag with me, which is not really a product designed for colder temperatures. Despite this, it did its job very well and allowed me to get a good night's sleep at base camp! Note of credit also for the Instinct 30+5 backpack.... perhaps a bit small in certain phases of carrying materials on the mountain, but that's my fault: Ferrino also produces one with a larger litre, but I dislike big rucksacks too much! It is definitely a piece of equipment that needs to be treated with a bit of care when handling ski edges, but on the ascent it is perfect and it is really, really comfortable even on the descent!
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