"All my life is in the mountains," says Revo ambassador Enrico Mosetti, an Italian alpine guide based in the Julian Alps mountain range between the border of Italy and Slovenia. He specializes in alpine ski touring, freeriding, and ice climbing in the winter; and mountaineering, classic and sport climbing, and other mountain excursions in the summer.
This season, his job will take him to some of the most beautiful mountains in the world.
Mosetti will spend some of his winter in the Dolomite mountain range in northern Italy, and some of it in the Western Alps near Chamonix, or wherever his clients' whims take him.
He'll also spend some of it closer to home in Gorizia, a town in northeastern Italy's Friuli Venezia Giulia region, and in Triglav National Park, where the weather comes in over the Adriatic Sea and tends to bring lots and lots of snow. "When it comes, it's usually in huge dumps," he says. "This area is great for ski touring, because we have really deep valleys with huge altitude gaps to the peaks, sometimes close to 2,000 meters, and we are usually very lucky about the snowfalls."
"When your life is in the mountains,
every day out is a training day for the day
when you will meet your match in the mountains."
This season, inspired by American skier Chris Davenport's recent mission to ski every 14,000-foot peak in the state of Colorado, Mosetti has made a similar personal goal to fully explore the Julian Alps that he's made his home. The range, named for Julius Caesar, is best known for its 2,864 meter Mount Triglav and the 2,775 meter Jôf di Montasio; Mosetti is just as interested in the rest of the nearby peaks.
"In mid-October it was raining every day here and I couldn't do much of anything, so I watched Chris Davenport's Ski the 14ers movie then started to count all the peaks in the Julian Alps. Our baseline elevation is much lower here than in Colorado but the elevation gain to a 2,400-meter peak here is about the same as the ascents he was doing. I saw that there are 58 peaks here higher than 2,400 meters, all completely skiable, so I started to figure out the plan. I think it will take me about 50 days. Some of them I will do by myself, but I'm also hoping to ski some of them with friends and clients, because there are some classic routes among those peaks."
Wherever he takes them, Mosetti's clients are in very good hands. You could say that his whole life has been training for the job.
"The climbing I get from my father: even before I first started to walk he took me to the mountains to climb and hike," Mosetti says. "The skiing I get from my mother: every year from the age of two she took me skiing. I think I got this idea to make a life of climbing and skiing when I was about 14. I had an older friend then that was a mountain guide and it seemed like he was truly living a dream. That's when I decided, 'I want to do this. I want to live outside.'"
As to which season he prefers, Mosetti has no hesitation. Okay, maybe a bit of hesitation.
"Winter for sure. No, maybe spring. Spring is better. I was born the first day of spring, the 21st of March, and around here that's the best period for ski touring. It's also when you can start to climb because the days are warmer and longer. So, for sure it's the better season. This winter I think will be a good one, because the summer has been warm and dry, so I think we will be lucky and the snow will be good. Ask me again in the spring and I may say summer."
Like any true man of the mountains, Mosetti is an explorer at heart. He named his guiding business Liberi da Attriti – rough translation: "freedom from friction" – and spent his "off-season" this year climbing in Peru.
So, does an alpine guide by trade hire a guide of his own when he's as far afield as Peru? Not a chance.
"My original plan was to go to Chile, but then I was reading a book and found some photos of Cordillera Blanca in Peru, and it turned out the timing was better for me. So. Change of plan. I decided to go, and started looking on Google Earth for some mountains that could be skied. Once I arrived, the plan got even looser. I arrived on the first day of June and bought a map, but just viewing the first mountain from the terrace of my hotel I thought, 'That looks good!' That's how I skied my first 5,000-meter peak. After that I went to ski Pisco and Yanapaccha, and, after watching the forecast, Artesonraju, the mountain from the Paramount Pictures logo."
Mosetti says he was blessed with good snow conditions ("I could not say powder, but it was good") and, more importantly in Peru, favorable wind conditions. It wasn't until his trip was winding down that he found himself well and truly challenged.
"I spent the last ten days of my trip in the Ishinca Valley, where there are many possibilities for world-class mountaineering and three famous peaks: Ishinca, Urus, and Tocllaraju. The third day I went for the 6,000-meter summit of Tocllaraju and, honestly, I was a bit afraid of the trip because in base camp I learned that three Estonian guys had died after falling into a crevasse one week before. I was alone and scared of starting in at night and falling into something I couldn't see, so the day I made my ascent I started from the base camp in the morning and went as fast as I could. I'm in pretty good shape and was fully acclimatized by then, thankfully. After that I spent the next few days feeling lucky and relaxing and partying before heading home."
Mosetti has alpine guide certification from the Alpine Guide College of Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Trieste, and says safety and respect for the dangers of the mountains is first and foremost on his mind, always. Still, the Tocllaraju climb served as an important reminder.
"People used to ask me why I risk so much in the mountains, putting my life in danger on these steep ascents and exposed descents," he says, ponderously. "I used to answer that it's just because I have fun being out in the mountains, and because it's always a thrill. In some ways my answer is still the same. If I come to a day where I'm not having fun anymore, I will stop. But now I would add this: I love the mountains. I live in the mountains. I am truly alive in the mountains. When your life is in the mountains, every day out is a training day for the day when you will meet your match in the mountains."