PHASE 3: The Struggle To The Summit
I awoke at 02:25, with the same eagerness of a child on Christmas morning. In the pitch darkness, we dressed in our Traiano suits and gathered our gear for the climb…
The climb up Mont Blanc is a journey that consists of three peaks, each more difficult than the last. As we hiked, we encountered several of the same adventurers from the night before, whom were astonished that we had followed through with our “foolish” mission. They insisted on touching the suit, marvelling at its technical abilities. Even our mountain guide, Maurizio Folini, a man of few words, noted that the suit pants’ functionality challenged his own usual outfit.
The final climb is a sheer cliff of ice and boulders. Using ice axes and crampons, we inched our way up the last peak, battling zero visibility and intense winds. After five hours (around 09:00) we reached our goal, the summit of the mountain. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel the same emotions that climbers often describe when reaching the top. I wasn’t exhausted or overwhelmed with emotion. Instead I can only convey a level of extreme accomplishment that can rival passing the bar or finishing a marathon. I looked down at my attire and felt a burst of pride; it was in absolute perfect condition.
On the descent I was riding my wave of adrenaline. We encountered a new group of foreigners heading up the mountain who insisted on taking pictures of us in our suits. Confused they asked, “You look very elegant, but what’s going on?” I simply handed them a business card and carried on.