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He’s a mountaineering instructor, she’s a Nordic walking instructor. Daniela Cason and Raffaele Barbolini will set off on a ski-touring expedition to Muztagh Ata, the second highest peak in Pamir, China.

An intense and exciting challenge lasting until late July that will take the two friends up to over 7500 meters in altitude, on the summit of the “father of icy mountains” Muztagh Ata.

Interviewer: “Daniela, how did this idea come about? How do you feel about it?”

Daniela: “After my trip in Nepal last December I returned home bursting with energy. I thought maybe it’s because this year I’m turning 40 or because the Nepal experience has charged me up with a desire to be even more daring. And while I was ruminating over these ideas of new mountaineering projects for 2018 I got a message from my friend Raffaele… “This year we’re going to Mutzagh Ata!” My answer was quick and to the point: “Yes!”.

So in January we began preparing for this project that we’re so excited about now that we’re about to set off. Our training included ski-mountaineering, swimming and running during the winter, and now mainly running and mountain biking.

As an “ignoramus” on the subject of high-altitude expeditions I began to take notes, to look and ask for information about the best preparation, clothing and equipment – but obviously I’m still full of doubts. But I’ve got a huge desire to try something new and immense!

The biggest stress has been the logistics, looking for a suitable local agency and services for our expedition, and to be honest things aren’t completely settled even now because the preparations aren’t finalised – and until I get to the starting point, Kashgar … well … let’s say I’m worse than St. Thomas – I’ll believe it when I see it!

What’s more my list of high-altitude equipment and clothing isn’t complete yet either.

Luckily Aquafil, with the Dryarn brand, will be able to give me a hand!

Interviewer: “Raffaele, a challenge like this takes a lot of preparation. How do you go about training?”

Raffaele: “Strangely enough my second big passion is the triathlon, I say strangely because I regard the triathlon as the antithesis of mountaineering. But whereas in the mountains I look for peace, solitude and challenges to overcome, the triathlon excites my mind. I go into training mode and I manage to endure long training sessions without any problems. I always try to train as often as I can, even every day, always with friends. My favourite training activities are crono bike, mountain biking, running and swimming.”

What can I say guys… good luck!! See you back here to tell us how it went!!

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