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A photographic mission into the wild of the Alps

Today I tell you about a particular photographic mission, planned a while ago but operative only since the dawn of the past Tuesday after having checked for a long time many environmental parameters.

Outside the all-terrain vehicle’s windows I saw the first lights of that day, the Como lake, the first white peaks of the Alps while I was driving into to the north east toward the Stelvio Pass between Italy and Switzerland. This mountain pass height 2770 metres, the second highest in Europe, can be reached by car only from late springtime to autumn when snowfalls make impossible the transit.

I left behind the civilization to enter in a twenty kilometres of pure wilderness that end in the village on the pass. A village that during wintertime is closed like the one of the movie Shining, hotels, restaurants and mountain huts closed abandoned in front of snow and ice.

Yet, up there, hundred years ago there was the triple border between Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Taken away Switzerland that had always been wisely neutral, Italians and Austrians shredded a lot of blood on these white edges.

Once I founded the starting point of the “path” that should have brought me at the military fortresses I was looking for, I started to wear my high mountain equipment and slowly I started climbing up.

The iced air was entering my lungs, I felt my feet fingers frozen and I had to keep moving them all the time. Up there on the edge, a lonely Chamois was observing me, probably surprised to see someone. It was my only companion of this adventure.

The effort raised, I was sinking into the deep snow despite my snowshoes and my sight was toward my photographic objective beyond those rocks in front of me. I saw the first sign of war, a telegraph lattice hanging from the rocks. My steps got more dangerous metre by metre until I reached a point in which snow was really too powdery and the slope too steep. I decided to stop.

I started thinking at the notes of mountain song of those times that says “up the mountains snow is falling, the winter storm! But even if through the hell, only the Alpino resists up there!” and I felt the chill in my bones and a feeling of loneliness.

Up here, and even higher, there were soldiers that were passing here the winters, not even dreaming equipment such as the modern ones, many of them died under the avalanches or during dreadful fighting on the edges.

This was the White War, an atrocious and forgotten war, where for each man on the top of the mountain there were seven down there taking care of the logistic. They were up there, far away from the normal world, them, the ice, the snow and the enemy suffering the same efforts.

I started climbing down. I thought to the ones that had no choice. The ones that with honour went ahead never coming back.

“Here they fought!”

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