He’s back to his passion. In the northwest Italian region of Piedmont and in the Dolomites Carlalberto, called “Cala”, Cimenti, rides his mountain bike again, climbs mountains and flies downhill with his paraglider. In March, the 45-year-old – as reported – was tested positive for the coronavirus. The doctors diagnosed Cimenti with pneumonia, but sent him home from the hospital – with medication and the advice to call if things got worse. For days he lay in bed with a high fever, cared for by his wife Erika Siffredi. “My attention is fixed on the thermometer marks, on every breath that must not be worse than the previous one,” Cimenti wrote on Facebook at the time. He recovered.
First ascent of Gasherbrum VII
In summer 2019, Cala had scaled Nanga Parbat in Pakistan and had skied down from the eight-thousander. He then succeeded in the Karakoram in the first ascent of the 6,955-meter-high Gasherbrum VII – the ascent is on the candidate list for this year’s Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of climbers”. On the descent from Gasherbrum VII, his team mate Francesco Cassardo fell about 450 meters deep. In a dramatic rescue operation it was managed to get Francesco to safety. Cimenti had previously scaled the eight-thousanders Cho Oyu (in 2006), Manaslu (in 2011) and Manaslu (in 2017).
Cala, how are you currently doing, have you recovered from your corona infection one hundred percent?
The virus had a very strong effect for a week, then I started to recovery. Now I feel good and hope to be recovered hundred percent.
Do you have any idea where you got infected?
Yes, in a ski resort close to (the northern Italian city of) Bergamo.
Did you doubt at any time during the illness whether you would survive?
Yes, I suddenly was afraid that the worst could happen to me, but luckily it didn’t.
What did you learn from the disease?
That you can be very strong, but the illness can arrive anytime.
You have scaled four eight-thousanders and have also experienced how narrow the ridge of adventure can be. Wasn’t it strange then to suddenly find your life in danger in the supposedly safe home?
Yes, very strange and I was really angry that I wasn’t able to manage this kind of danger.
What do you think about people who continue to play down the corona pandemic?
It’s a threat that we should not underestimate, but also we must not stop our life at all.
What do you say to the people in Nepal and Pakistan, where the infection curves are still rising?
Be strong and patient! Things will turn better and we will come again to climb that beautiful mountains.