Mountains with friends

Image:Mountains with friends
26. Feb, 2019 Written by: Davo Karničar
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The basic recipe is simple. I believe strongly that one’s time must be spent with the people and things that they love. The list cannot be too long. For me skiing is definitely one of those things I cannot imagine living without it. An unstoppable passion has brought me to the extremes that I guess I am drawn to on a fundamental level. The world’s highest mountains have drawn me to them like a magnet. And I went along. I have that to thank for the privilege of seeing some of the most incredible secrets of our planet with my own eyes.

ski touring to the top of mountain

The ski mountaineering that I have been doing for the past thirty years is a profoundly solitary activity. The higher you go, the more alone you are.

But the ski mountaineering that I have been doing for the past thirty years is a profoundly solitary activity. The higher you go, the more alone you are. Up there your head is the only company so the thoughts that run through it are that much more important. It helps if they are positive and if the fear and panic stay in the valley. Perfect focus is key. Once you get above 6,000 meters, there is no time for poetic admiration of a nice day. Up there every step and move need to be made with purpose. You have to know what you are doing in every moment and be aware of the fact that each wrong move can be fatal. All this focus sometimes gives me a headache. The fact that you can only rely on yourself, your knowledge and your experience is liberating but also strenuous. And lonely. With all this I am of course aware that skiing is first and foremost fun. And fun is better when shared with others. The moments I spend on snow with my wife and kids are priceless. Watching your own children learn, seeing how their turns become more precise and how wide their smiles are is pure pleasure.

And friends, of course! Skiing in good company is something completely different. Any day when a group of ski friends takes off for the mountain at the break of dawn is bound to be special. That was the plan in late March when we decided to catch one last winter trip and put mount Peca in our sights. Eetu, Jaš, Klemen, Kuki and me. Buds of spring were blooming in the valleys but it was still deep winter in the mountains. Snowfall was especially generous this year so there was plenty of snow above 1500 meters even in March.

Davo Karničar preparing ski touring skins

I was pleasantly surprised by the good conditions, which I have not seen at this time in recent years. The car filled to the brim with positive energy as soon as we s‍et off. When we stopped in the parking lot and opened the doors, it seemed to flow out and up all the surrounding peaks. Peca is an interesting mountain. Local legend says that the mythical king Matjaž sleeps beneath it, with his long beard slowly curling around his table. With its 2126 meters of altitude, it is the easternmost two thousander in Slovenia. Peca stands directly on the border between Slovenia and Austria. On that spring-winter day we ascended it from the Austrian side. The sky was blue and the snow was as firm as in midwinter. It took us three and a half hours to reach the summit. On days as beautiful and clear as ours, the view from the top is truly breathtaking.

Davo Karničar

The descent is always fun as Peca has options for everybody. Kuki and I took our Ibex skis, 84mm wide, in folding and regular versions. We thoroughly enjoyed the easy approach and precise grip on both the frozen morning snow and afternoon corn. Jaš and Eetu stayed true to the wide ski trend and longed for powder or wet snow... We always wish for the good things in life to last forever and they always seem to end too soon.

Filled with such thoughts we s‍et about packing our gear back at the parking lot. Jaš sat in the bed of our truck, happy and lost in his thoughts. He thought the same we all did; it is moments like these that fill our lives with unforgettable memories that we cherish forever. I wish we all will have many more...

Waiting until the next ski touring adventure

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