Category: Hiking

Statistics: 2018

Statistics: 2018

Another year, another post. Looks like I only find time to write something during holidays.
Sometimes I actually feel like I have something interesting to write, but this feeling does not last enough, and I do not start writing soon enough, so I end up not writing.
But enough with this, and let’s write something.

The plan for today was to go climb outside, but the weather changed and it did rain the whole day, with some loud thunderstorms too.
I also thought of going out for a run, but looking outside the window made me very lazy.
So, instead of doing something, I decided to look at some statistics for the year that ends today; sport related statistics, that’s it.
And now, without further ado, the statistics:

Total distance: 2221.78 km
Total time: 378h 42m 39s
Elevation gain: 27788 m

Compared with 2017, I covered ~60% more distance on foot/biking/swimming, but had less altitude gain.
The addition of biking to my training schedule must have had an impact on the total distance, as must have had training (slightly more seriously than in the past) for a half marathon, while the reduced time in the mountains meant less vertical gain.
Time comparison with the past would not be fair, though, because 2018 has been the first year in which I kept track of all activities, also indoor.

I am happy of the results I achieved running, with 4 races in the calendar year.
If I exclude the first one, the Egmond half marathon, in which I got injured and felt very bad, in every other race I performed better than expected, and managed to score a PR every single time.
For next year, I am still considering if I want to race or not, and which distance; I must admit that I am fancying the idea of running a full marathon, maybe in the fall, but I have not decided yet.

Climbing took a hit this year.
The focus was mostly on bouldering indoor, and I trained seriously during the first half of the year, which included a great bouldering trip (visiting Varazze and Sassofortino) with Mauro.
After that, I had other goals and did not train as much, and a sport/multipitch climbing trip never materialized.
Gladly, I managed to lead a couple of short sport routes last week, to end the year on a positive note.

I also wanted, in my original planning, to spend more time at altitude.
I tried to summit (unguided) the Gran Paradiso, but my partner did not feel well during our acclimatization days and bailed after reaching the Chabod hut.
At that point I did not have the time, nor the budget, to participate in a mountaineering course of some sort, or to plan for some guided trips.
A main goal for next year is to get back into the alpine, and get more technical mountaineering training.

In 2018 I had less short hiking trips, and instead had three longer ones.
The first was a mixed hiking and canoeing trip in Sweden, during which I even experimented with using a hammock for sleeping in camp.
The second trip was the Tour du Mont Blanc, that I completed in 7 days traveling alone and experiencing almost everything that the weather had to offer.
The last trip was a multi-day ascent of Triglav that included hiking and via ferrata.

Well, enough writing for today.
See you next year!

Patagonia 2017

Patagonia 2017

The last of my goals for 2016 was a long hiking trip on my own, and although the trip took place in 2017 I consider this trip to Patagonia the realization of that goal.

Yes, it still sounds strange even to me. I have been to Patagonia. Like, real Patagonia. It took me a while after arriving in El Calafate to realize I was a world away from my beloved Europe, in the land of dreams, of open spaces, of crazily strong winds and mountaineering history.

Many things happened in the 26 days of my trip, and I would love to be a writer to be able to tell a story, but I wasn’t able so far, and I am not writing that story now. Like in a dream I can think of the Dakar team I met on the plane from Amsterdam to Buenos Aires, the rugby team I met in the lounge in São Paulo airport coming back, the never working ATMs in Argentina, the closed border crossing with Chile, the smell of the Pacific Ocean, the cold wind that blew my tarp (almost) away one night, the complete exhaustion I experienced after hiking for more than 34 km and with an elevation gain of more than 2200 meters, the absolute elation I felt reaching, alone, Paso John Gardner and setting my eyes on the immensity of the Grey glacier.
There is too much for words. Patagonia is immense, and it’s too much for me to describe. So much that I’m actually weeping a little while writing, looking at the world map on this room’s wall, looking at that faraway place that I had the luck to walk on.

Maybe one day I’ll sit down, take a stroll through memory lane, and write about my adventure in Patagonia. Today, though, I’ll simply post a video I made with images of the trip. But before that, a quote from Chatwin’s “In Patagonia”, my favorite quote from the book:

“Which religion have you?” Ali asked. “Christian?”
“I haven’t got any special religion this morning. My God is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other God.”


The North Face Mountain Festival 2016

The North Face Mountain Festival 2016

In late May, just before the (kinda) failed trip to Fontainebleau, I read on Planet Mountain that The North Face (TNF from now on) was organizing a gathering of people in Lauterbrunnen (CH) called the “Mountain Festival”. Three days of hiking, trail running, climbing, and adventure in general.
I did buy a ticket on the same day, and the waiting began.

Fast forward few months, and now I am back home after the event took place. And I must say it, it was a really cool weekend, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

But what did happen last weekend in Lauterbrunnen?

Well, I arrived in Geneva Thursday evening, after a delayed flight. Then took a train to Interlaken, where I planned to spend the night in a hostel before going to the festival. It did work out, eventually, and I did spend the night in a hostel (a good night, even), but it took longer than expected, because due to a train failure I got stuck in Lausanne for a while. The only notable event that took place on the train was that I was called “a good boy” by a girl to whom I borrowed my phone (I guess she missed her stop and had to call someone home). As far as how usually my journeys are, this was pretty easy.
Although extremely expensive, because Switzerland.

OK, I will avoid spending hundreds of words talking about events that are of any interest to me only (if even), and just get to the main points. First of all: it did rain. Apparently it always does when I travel, so I was not pissed off at all. It was actually a good test for my gears, and the only issues I had were (1) condensation in the tent (next time I should leave the rain fly open even if it is raining, or just use a tarp instead of a tent), and (2) the discovery that the Patagonia duffel I brought with me (and left outside my small one person tent) was not really waterproof. Some of the content of the duffel got wet, not all of it, and not completely soaked, but it was a mild failure. Still, this setup with a tent all for me to sleep in, and a duffel with all the stuff sounds like a good idea to me, assuming I have a base camp and I’m not carrying everything with me all the time. Not that a different setup would have kept me dry, because my two trail runs were under the rain, and I got soaked anyway. And so did the clothes I was wearing. And due to the rain and the humidity, there was no way anything would dry, so I did just wear wet clothes, and found out they dry out really fast just with my body heat.

I did really enjoy trail running, but I may have underestimated my fitness level. Although I do run, and do run every week, I always run on flat terrain (way to go Netherlands), and going uphill and downhill killed my muscles. Moreover, next time I should keep a slower pace. Lesson learned, and still cannot wait to run again in the mountains.

I also made a small mistake booking a short hike, and realized that a short hike does not do much for me.
Next time, I would either skip hiking, or join a longer and challenging one. So I kind of overestimated my trail running fitness, and had a great challenge, but underestimated my hiking prowess, and was not challenged at all. I did properly estimate my climbing skills, though, but unfortunately decided to climb the only day that climbing was moved indoor because of the weather. There are weather Gremlins out there, I know, trying in every possible way to prevent me to climb outdoors. You will not have me, Gremlins!
On a positive note, base camp had clean (most of the time) toilets, and hot showers. Quite a pleasure to come back from a cold run and have a hot shower waiting for you, instead of just more cold rain.

Together with activities there were talks and other workshops. I did take part in a mobility workshop organized by Commando Active (really good one) and attended all talks given by the TNF sponsored athletes. No need to say that most of the talks were really inspiring, especially “Nanga in Winter”, the story of the first Winter ascent of Nanga Parbat (that did happen just few months ago) by Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger. I was really looking forward to this talk, and was not disappointed at all.
The best thing, though, was that these same athletes were also taking part in the activities, and all the ones I met were really nice and down to earth people. I did run with the likes of Tamara Lunger, David Göttler, or Jez Bragg, and climbed with the Pou brothers: not bad at all as a crew. They were all supportive, and I clearly enjoyed interacting with them. I am a little fanboy, clearly.

So I came back from this weekend pretty excited and motivated, ready to work harder to reach my dreams, and with a list of skills I want to acquire soon. I also got the idea for a possible multi-day Summer hike in the area (a loop beginning and ending in Interlaken, touching Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen). Too bad wild camping is not allowed in Switzerland, cause it would make a hike like this even better. Oh, and if you happen to have the chance to do it, visit the area of the Bernese Oberland, because it is an outdoor paradise.

If you are interested in some pictures, I took some and made a small album. All the pictures are by me, except the trail running ones that were taken by Jez Bragg.

Lake District (UK) 2016

Lake District (UK) 2016

I went hiking and wild camping with Marc and Leon in the Lake District national park, northern England (UK), between 21 and 26 June 2016. I edited a short video of the trip (excluding the first day) and I’m happy to share it here for posterity.
It was good to be back in the mountains for a while. Hope you enjoy.

Daily Beetle by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

Snow Massive 3: Chamonix

Snow Massive 3: Chamonix

For the third edition of the “Snow Massive” we moved from the Dolomites to the Mont Blanc, and enjoyed a week of fresh powder coming from the sky almost at all times. While my friend rode their boards down the slopes of the mountains that surround the Chamonix valley, I spent my time hiking in the woods. It was great, and who knows where the fourth edition of this glorious event will bring us next year!

The music is “L’Esprit D’Escalier” by Jon Luc Hefferman.