Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year

Hello Guys,

I'd like to wish you and your beloved ones a very safe, prosperous and happy 2012. In addition I'd like to thank you for your support in 2011 and looking forward to kick-off the preparation for the next challenge "Cho Oyu 2012".

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cho Oyu Expedition 2012

I’d like to announce that I have decided to climb Cho Oyu in August 2012. My preparation program will start with February 2012. It is with great excitement that I look forward to the hard days of training and to what I expect being the most challenging experience of my mountaineering career. More news and details will follow in the coming weeks. For the time being, just enjoy the amazing picture of this beautiful mountain.

Andrea comunica ufficialmente che sta cominciando ad organizzare la spedizione al Cho Oyu che si svolgera’ in Agosto 2012. La preparazione specifica cominciera’ in Febbraio. E’ con trepidazione che mi preparo alla sofferenza dei prossimi allenamenti, con la consapevolezza che ho nel cuore che la prossima impresa mi da una gioia immensa. News e aggiornamenti a seguire, per il momento godetevi questa bellissima imagine della “Dea Turchese”.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back from Mustagata

I am back from my climb of Mustagata: it was a great experience.I was lucky to be surrounded by a very good team, a great expedition leader (Arnold Coster) and very good support staff. I have had a few close call, with my left foot having very minor frost-nip and a few bruises, but nothing that cannot be fixed quite quickly. I am taking some time resting, mainly sleeping and catching up with friends. Life is good back home but the call of the mountain and new adventures is very strong. I have published some pictures on Facebook, but will republish them here in the next few days.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6 days to go

It's hard to describe the excitement of these days. The base work has been done, now I need to remind myself that it is show time and I should simply enjoy every bit of it. The coach reminded me to stick with the second slowest climber in the group, because feeling too strong could push me to do "too much, too early" and put my body under strain. Progressing too fast could be dangerous up the mountain. I have gone through the technical refresher on knots and medical base knowledge about symptoms and "prevention" of AMS, HAPE and HACE (High Altitude Pulmonary/Cerebral Edema).

Mentally I am ready and I have started the process of visualising the camps and the different days of climb. Modern technology (e.g. youtube video, google search engine) is really helping the process of preparing the trip: visualisation of different camps, and different routes has never been easier; and knowing the background of the other climbers and reading my team leader bio is just one click away.

The main doubt in my head is about the weather conditions. Will the weather hold up, or will my summit attempt being ruined by 3 days of intense snowing at camp 3 (@6,800m)? I do not know what will happen, but like someone told me "I do not worry about things I control because I do control them, and I do not worry about things I cannot control, because I cannot control them".

Thursday, June 16, 2011

13 days to go - Mustagata, Xinjiang

13 days to go and counting: in the evening session of yesterday I climbed for 1h, raising 1890m, moving horizontally for 8km. Constant 8km/hours output on an incline of 24.9% average, average heart rate of 176bpm. The legs were shaking, I could barely stand, but nothing could take the grin off my face. It felt great not to give up to pain, to feel the muscle around the knee burning and yet hang in there for one more minute, one more km and then keep pushing even more. It feels good to train knowing that I can push myself harder than the 99.5% of people around me, not because I am physically stronger, not because I am better, but because I am mentally committed to what has become my mission of being ready for Everest in 2014. It is nice and exciting to feel inside that I am peaking now, both physically and mentally, less than two weeks from the trip. There is a feeling that I cannot describe in words, but it’s like everything is finally falling in the right place, at the right time, and make me feel like every drop of sweat was worth. I feel strong and most importantly, I feel happy.

Ultimately, the God of the Mountain will decide if I can summit, but I leave knowing that I have done everything I can to be ready to take that one chance to make it. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

33 days to go - Getting anxious

Training is progressing very well, I am basically ready. I have all the items required in my check list with exception of a few thick plastic bags and a compression sack. All the rest is already at home and ready to be packed. Here some pictures of the latest gear.

33 days from departure and I still don't have my VISA. The process of getting a VISA has been really interesting and I will book my 3rd appointment with Chinese officials. I must admit I begin to get a big anxious about the whole thing. I cannot say much more at this point in time - until I (hopefully) will get my VISA stamped on the passport. Will keep you posted!

Super warm Black Diamond mitts (-30C)

Liner for sleeping bag adding 11C

19mm ice screw (just in case)

New spare crampons

Tempered front point, for hard ice

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good news from Everest

In January 2011 I went to NZ for a training session. Planning to go back to January 2012 to train again on Mt Cook. These guys have just summit Everest "Adventure Consultant guide Dean Staples just called from the summit of Everest. He was sitting up there with Paul Hameister from Australia who had dreamed of this moment".

Well done guys !

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hard work

You know you have had a workout when holding the phone hurt. I have nothing left after the most intense 60 minutes of weights training ever, but at least I have completed the session. Bring it on, looking forward to tomorrow.50 days to go!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

51 days to go

Today is all about the gear. Just placed an order for the following pieces:

Black Diamond Cyborg Pro Size One Size
Black Diamond Express Ice Screw 10 cm to 22 cm Size 19
Black Diamond Absolute Mitt 10/11
Black Diamond Powder Baskets
Sea to Summit Reactor Compact Plus Thermolite® Liner

Pictures will follow as soon as the pack is delivered! It hurts the budget but I love it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

So much for my recovery run

The coach planned to have a recovery run, only 9km, to run at a slow pace (@5m30s/km). Went out to the TAN and my legs were initially sore, and heavy. Obviously I have been working on weights and steps/stairs and while I am getting stronger, I am losing some flexibility and speed.

2km into the run I saw someone in front of me running at a good pace, in good style and I decided to follow him. As I was getting closer I realised his pace was increasing and it was obvious that he had finished his warm up and he was now pushing hard. Suddenly we were running at 3m48s/km, passing through hundreds of walkers, joggers and runners who daily meet at the TAN. As he saw me running beside me, he stepped it up a notch, and I decided to stick with him. We were now running at 3m32s/km. "So much for my recovery session" I thought while hanging in there and I knew already that the coach would have not been happy at all with me.

I must admit it felt good to run side by side at that pace. He stopped on top of Andersen Street, I was left with two more km to go and decided to run them at 4m30sec and by that stage, 4m30s seemed like a very slow and relaxing pace.

Today I'll run a 15% incline for 45minutes, possibly covering 1000m rise which is more than my normal day on Mustagata. I will also complete my usual routine on leg press, shoulder, lower back, chest press, push-ups, chin-ups and forearms. Total workout is about 1h45min, 2100kcal and lot of pain!

Monday, May 2, 2011

58 days to go - Stepping up prep

There are only 58 days to go, but the next four weeks will be the longest. The last month will be about securing my Chinese VISA, buying the last few gear that I am still missing and time will fly.

Now it's the time of working hard, every day, pushing as much as I can. It has been confirmed that my partner will not join me and that has put a bit of pressure on me as I will be joining 3 other climbers directly in Kashgar, China. I will have to trust my instinct and determine how much I wish to rely on new partners. Ideally, the answer should be "don't rely on them".

Since yesterday, I have entered Phase 3 (out of 4) of my preparation, which means an increased workload on my quads: working on weights session, squads and the evil stepper machine which is clocking 300 floors of stairs in 30 minutes, at L19 (average of 10 floors of stairs in 1 minute). My legs and my lower back are pretty sore, but today is rest day and hopefully will recover fast. Possibly will go for a gentle swim to help the recovery process. Also working hard on core muscles, abds and lumbars in particular and then shoulders and back to help supporting the backpack.

In addition, I have made arrangements for the hotel in Kashgar. It's called Seman Hotel and used to be a Russin Embassy about 30 years ago. Reviews are mixed, but my benchmark is a cold tend in the middle of a glacier, with no runnign water and no toilette, so this place will be fine. I have attached a few pictures just to give you an idea of what we're talking about, certainly mountaineering is not loved because it's a comfortable sport, but in my view (call me crazy) the trip and these sort of placess are part of the experience.

Thank you so much for all your support and please keep following my progress.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

71 days to departure

The result from the "Run for the Kids" was encouraging (
I know I will not run up to Mustagata but a general fitness level is good to support my objective of climbing the mountain. 10 weeks from departure is time to step up the preparation. My trainer has prepared a series of hard session to strengthen my shoulder and the muscles on my back and arms so that I will be able to swing my ice axe for hours. This morning we started at 5.30am and my body didn't want to kick into 1st gear. Hopefully the night session will be better. Hopefully I will still be able to lift my arms tomorrow morning. I know it may sound insane, but I am happy to put myself through the pain, if this is what it takes to get up that Mustagata and continue to chase the dream of climbing Everest by 2014.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The week before the trial run

The week before a race is always a bit different. I am not training and I sit here wondering if I have done enough to prepare my body for 60 minutes of pleasure (pleasure??). There is always the temptation to go out for an extra run, and I am almost forcing myself not to let it happen.

Sunday, on race day, I will hit the road and in within few kms I will know if I am having a good day or not. The more you push your body and the more you are likely to get to the point where you want to stop. That’s when I will dig dip into my mind, thinking about all the mornings that I woke up early to train, in the cold, with the rain, thinking about the reasons why I am running in the first place, and in particular I will be thinking about that reason called Mustagata which is only 76 days away. Up there, you cannot just give up when it gets hard and painful and I need to have the same attitude on Sunday. The result of this run is important to give me the confidence that I have reached a good fitness level, which allows me to move to the next stage of my training. With Monday I will start training on weights, on improving the strength of my upper body, back and shoulders in particular. I have scheduled a meeting with my trainer and hopefully he’ll target my preparation so that my peak will by early July.

The Gods of the mountain will decide if I am allowed to climb her, but I must do everything I can to be sure that I am ready for when the moment will come.

Friday, April 8, 2011

81 days to Mustagata

There is something magic about running at night along the Yarra river. During the day the road is busy of cyclists, commuters, runners and walkers but at night, everything is much more quiet. The lights of the city reflect on the water, and running on the floating platform along the river becomes magic. I find myself clocking 16.8km/h, and as the breathing gets harder my mind fly away, thousends miles away to Mustagata. The pain is numbing and after 18km the body start questioning the brain about how much longer it is supposed to work hard. But the brain is not responsing, it is still up there, somewhere between camp 3 and the summit, with the snow reaching the knees, with no more strength left, with the body cramping. That's when stopping is not an option because in the cold wind at 7,000m stopping mean serious consequences, sometime it could mean the end of the journey. And so that's when you put your head down and push even harder so that the pain will last for less, this is when you dig into your memories, thinking about how much time and effort you have put into the trip, thinking about all the days you woke up at 5am, in the cold, with the rain, with the body hurting and kept going, you think about all the people who believe in you and support you back home. One step at the time, hang in there one more minute and then one more again....

Suddenly, the view of Eureka tower indicates that the city is close. It's 6.58am, the sun is rising. The city is only 4km away. The stretch home is always so sweet if you have been able to complete your workout. A smile slowly materialise on my face because I know I am now one step closer to the summit, one day closer to the departure. Mustagata, I am ready, 81 days to go.

In case you wonder, let me spell it out for you: every single drop of sweat is worth because this is not simply about a man climbing a mountain, but it is about chasing a dream and make it come true, it is about the pursuit of happiness.

See you folks!