How often do we remember what we did last year or the years before on this day, month? Not often. One such memorable adventure was put in my calendar when I joined LaMunt this summer. The first thing my team told me was, we’ll take you on an adventure in Alta Badia for our first photo shooting.
…but here in South Tyrol, I learned quickly that being in the mountains you need different skills, that nature up there has a mind of its own…so I was trying to prepare myself best way I could mentally for the early August morning, where we in the middle of the night got up to climb up the Gran Cir to see the sunrise. I was mostly thinking about how will I deal with my fear of heights that I developed in the thirties that I never had earlier. I did a bungee jump in my 20s – 125 meters of free fall and I enjoyed it. But over the past years, I’m just super aware when it goes higher.
The evening before when we reached the area and I saw the mountains getting closer, I was thinking – live life full blast and don’t be afraid. Because if you are, you will miss out on a great moment. The one thing I never, ever allow myself is to stagnate. Going out with my team and our photographers and filmmakers that all grew up in these wild mountains meant I can learn and grow.
It was completely dark when we reached the parking at the Grödner Joch in the early morning to start our way up to the Gran Cir / Grosse Cirspitze. Far up on the mountain, we could already see the lights of some mountaineers going up. We had a lovely full moon, but I honestly couldn’t see anything except the steps before me. Which was good in its own way, because I definitely didn’t think any more of my fear for heights.
Everyone told me the little piece of ferrata was for beginners, but I had respect when I saw the first cables along the way that I took hold of…soon I stopped overthinking my steps and just kept moving, trusting my body, my shoes, and our wonderful guide, Barbara, in front of me. She continued to encourage me and explain me the way, it was just what I needed. I couldn’t talk and only focused on one step after another. I felt so present like I hadn’t in years. We reached the summit of Gran Cir (2,592 meters) around 5 am when the sun slowly started to rise, it took my breath away. We all were so happy to have made it in time to see the sun come up. At the top we just enjoyed the moment (trying to stay out of the wind) and did soak in the first rays of sunshine and this stunning experience. The view is simply panoramic and you see beautiful valleys around. Our guide and my team enthusiastically described to me what I saw. On the south, a gigantic colossus of the Sella group is rising. It covers almost half of the horizon. On the south-west, you see the mighty Langkofel / Sassolungo. Behind it, we could recognise also the massif of Sciliar / Schlern. On the northern and eastern side before us, we could see the whole Geisler-Puez. It was simply amazing to have started in the dark and now enjoy the beauty of the Dolomites.
By going down I could see every stone and wall, I could see that it wasn’t that complicated and felt good on the way down. It is a route for beginners. What was challenging was dealing with my mind in the unknown of the early morning. Exposure and technical difficulties are limited on this via ferrata. So, if you think of trying it for the first time, or if you’re looking for another scenic route to add to your list, I can highly recommend it.
But what was the best part, even better than this great view, was that I had pushed myself further, to be able to see my limits are nowhere near where I thought they were. Now that I’ve seen, I can do what I thought I couldn’t, not only did I feel a great sense of achievement, but I’m also not able to use that story of ‘I can’t’ anymore. I thought afterwards why didn’t I do this before?!
My lessons from this team adventure:
• Be prepared. Don’t go out there without being mentally prepared for the little and big challenges to face.
• Be in the moment and be mindful. Focus on the small section in front of you, and then the one after that. I found this can somehow be adapted to other areas of my life.
• Just do it in your own way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going at your own pace and there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it more if you do.
… and put something big in your calendar each year. After finally making it back to the bottom of Gran Cir looking up the mountain, I was thinking that there are so many things we cannot control (especially this year clearly has shown us), but what we can do is put some “year defining” activities in our calendar, that let us grow and create memories. Life memories. With everything going on in our lives from family, meetings, appointments that fill our calendars and we try to stay afloat, prioritize something big for yourself in 2021. Maybe it is a special mountain to climb, maybe something completely else …but what is certain: It’s worth it, ten times over. I will do it for sure.