Published on 06/02/2020

On June 2019, together with 6 other climbers (3 Italians and 3 Pakistani), after 2 weeks of acclimatization I decided to try the summit, an unclimbed peak of 5800 meters in the Hindukush region of northern Pakistan.

After a week of alternating fog and rain, the weather conditions were finally optimal in those days. Nothing seemed to hinder the climb, the enthusiasm of the whole team was remarkable and the physical conditions of each of us were excellent.

At 3 o'clock on June 17th we woke up and prepared to face such an important day that would have marked a new conquest for mountaineering.

For years, I have always chosen Grivel equipment for helmet and backpack, and also this time the choice was successful.

At 4 o'clock our summit push began, after a continuous succession of rope pulls; at 10 o'clock we were 60m from the summit. At that point, the snow under our feet began to crumble, we were completely overwhelmed by an enormous amount of snow, ice and debris; in the following 3 minutes we found ourselves "swimming" inside the avalanche which dragged us downstream for about 500 meters.After the fall we found all 7 of us tied as we were in the beginning; at that point, I looked at my teammates and started evaluating the damage suffered.

My teammates' helmets had been badly damaged, some even lost it during the avalanche, this was disastrous for them, even fatal for one team member. Unlike them, my helmet (Grivel Salamander) remained intact and firmly in place for the whole fall.

The backpack instead (Grivel Alpine 45 PRO) protected my back by cushioning the blows, in fact although the backpack suffered lacerations my back remained protected and intact. The only fracture I reported was in the part of the spine not covered by the backpack (coccyx).

Given the severity of the blow suffered in the back, I am grateful that I was the only one of the 7 who still had a backpack on his shoulders at the end of the avalanche.

In conclusion I can say with certainty that: "the right equipment saves your life".


Article and pictures by Luca Morellato, June 2019.

Luca Morellato, born in 1997 in Vicenza (Italy), in the Grivel team since 2019. He started practicing mountaineering at the age of 10, from rock and ice climbing to classic mountaineering, up to the untouched mountains of the Hindukush area.
Favorite Grivel product: North Machine Carbon.