Two Take A Third To The Top

Dhaulagiri 2017

Dream Wanderlust

Photographs: Cala Cimenti, Matthias Koenig
Category: Interview
Date of Publication: Dec 26 , 2017Vol-03 Issue-01

Italian mountaineer Carloalberto Cimenti aka "Cala" summitted Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167m), the seventh highest mountain in the world, without supplemental oxygen on 8th October 2017 at 11 am. His Swiss friend Matthias Koenig also reached the summit shortly after. On his way down Cala managed to ski from 7200m to 5200m. Matthias also accomplished to ski down from Camp-3, 7200m.

Three friends, Cala Cimenti, Matthias Koenig and Davide Gerlero came to Nepal with a hope of fulfilling their friend, Luca Borgoni's dream. He was a 22 year old university student who passed away on July 8 2017 while on an expedition to Matterhorn. Luca would have graduated in Biology after a few days of the accident.

Dhaulagiri was Luca's dream. That's why the Trio came with a photograph of Luca to place it on the top of Dhaulagiri. Italian Davide Gerlero, a great friend of Luca handed over the photograph to Cala after he decided to go down and return to the Base Camp.

On the summit day Cala went for summit from Camp-3 alone at night. He reached the summit alone with the photograph and kept his promise to David. On his way down he met Matthias, who about two hours (about 3:30 am) later decided to go for summit. The original plan to ski down Dhaulagiri massif didn't materialize. However, Cala managed to ski down approximately 2000m on his way down.

Interview with Cala Cimenti, Matthias Koenig

DW: Many congratulations Carloalberto and Matthias on your great climb and ski descend on Dhaulagiri.

DW: This expedition emotionally revolved around your good friend, late Luca Borgoni's dream. Did his absence make the climb more difficult?

Cala: No, because this expedition was planned in our project, Matthias's and mine. Luca came after our plan and he joined us and when he died, of course it was a big...

Matthias: Very sad, yes.

Cala: But, okay, it was our dream and Luca, he was always with us but he was not the main partner of our expedition.

Matthias: Yes, we were really focused on ourselves. At this altitude, it was very hard to climb, so we didn'tactually think that much about anything else. Of course he was always somehow with us.

DW: When you placed his photo on the summit, was it a moment of catharsis, a moment which would possibly bring about on emotional closure of a lost friend?

Cala: I placed the picture,the photo and when I was there it was very tiring so yes this was a kind of a moment of catharsis, catharsis but, I was so tired, so I placed the photo and I started to go down quick. And when I was on the top, I was happy for the summit and also in a kind of way it was little bit, I felt the presence of Luca with me and so it was nice. But after, I started to go down as fast as I could because it was starting to come to night.

Matthias: yah, I was on the summit actually half an hour after Cala. So Cala placed the photo inside this wrapped flag. So, I didn't see it and I didn't think of the flag at that moment. Just later on I remembered, yah okay, Cala placed it and that was it. I was also late and we tried to move quickly to move on.

Cala: I also knew Luca better than him.

Dhaulagiri 2017

Luca Borgoni

Dhaulagiri 2017

The photo of Luca wrapped with a flag on the top of Dhaulagiri

DW: After summitting and having honored your friend's dream were you possibly emotionally relieved enough to ski down? Would you have done the same (ski down) if you would have perhaps did not make the summit?

Matthias: We have to make it clear that actually we didn't ski Dhaulagiri from the summit but from different points below and not at the same time. So, highest point we skied was 7200m, that's Camp 3. And yah, we skied from there but it was a week before. So it was not after the summit and then it was just skiing because we didn't think of Luca during that skiing. Of course, yes, it was somehow, we thought always somehow about him but when we were coming down from summit on foot and it was different.

Cala: Yah. The day after summit push we didn't ski at all.

Dhaulagiri 2017

Matthias with Skiboards

Dhaulagiri 2017

Cala Cimenti, Skiing

DW: Luca's mother, Cristina, was very excited, happy and gratified that you fulfilled his dream. Did she also ask to keep away from sport that took away her son?

Cala: We don't really know Christina and of course she never talked to us and she never said us to quit our sport.

Matthias: No, I mean each of us, we know many people who die in the mountains and it's very sad story but it shouldn't keep us away from that sport. We somehow make a difference with ourselves and that's it.

DW: Tell us briefly about your climb to summit.

Cala: I started around half past one in the night and it was not so windy. I felt quite good at that time and so I went up quite well, not so fast but quite fast and I thought to be alone until the summit. When I reached the summit I still thought to be alone and I spent on the summit may be half an hour or 25 minutes and when I started to go down I saw a blue spot really far on the ridge, at the start of the ridge and it was Matthias and it was coming to me to the summit and so we met half way of the ridge and it was very exciting moment, it was really very happy moment. I didn't expect that he came and so, it was really happy and unexpected moment. So, I was really happy.

Matthias: Yah, for me it was similar. But I felt bad in midnight, when we actually planned to go, so I said I wait here. I was in little bit in the stomach and there was lot of wind. But I woke up again 3 O'clock, 3.30 and then I thought, yes okay, it's the last chance; I have to go, if I want to summit. Now I go and I went after Cala and I saw him in some places. But he didn't see me actually and yah, I met him when he was coming down the ridge as he told. I was may be 40 minutes after him. I was on the summit just for a short moment may be 10 minutes and it was very cold and I was late. It was 2.30 in the afternoon. So I quickly started to come down again. That was it. Nice day.

Cala: We reach Camp 3 almost in the night, in the evening. So, it was really long day.

Matthias: Big day!

Cala: Big day! Yah...

Dhaulagiri 2017

On the summit

Dhaulagiri 2017

View from summit

DW: What are your future plans in the Himalayas?

Cala: We have a lot of plans all around the world. Not only in Himalayas, may be in next time we will be in Pakistan probably.

Matthias: Yah, we will do something in Pakistan on skies, probably next spring. I'll go to Japan for skiing, to the U.S. in coming years and you have...

Cala: I will spend the winter in Prali, a ski resort in Italy. And after I think I will go to Pakistan to ski again with Matthias and after that in future years again in Himalayas.

Matthias: Yah, always Himalaya.

DW: Grazie Mille e buonafortuna Cala e Matthias.

Matthias: Thank you. Bye.

Cala: Ciao...

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