Actually, the ski mountaineer Carlalberto, called “Cala” Cimenti had wanted to travel to Nepal this spring. Together with expedition leader Felix Berg from the operator “Summit Climb” and two other German mountaineers, the 44-year-old Italian had planned a summit trilogy in the region around Makalu: first up to Mera Peak (6,476 m), then to Baruntse (7,129 m), and finally to Makalu, (8,485 m), the fifth highest mountain on earth. Now Cala lies sick in his bed at home. He is one of currently more than 41,000 Italians (status quo 19 March, 8 pm CET) who have tested positive for the corona virus. The doctors diagnosed Cimenti with pneumonia, but sent him home from the hospital – with medication and the advice to call if things got worse.
Ski descent from Nanga Parbat
Last summer, 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. During the descent, 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 Dhaulagiri (in 2017).
Every breath counts
“It’s strange how perspectives and values change so quickly,” the Italian climber wrote on Facebook yesterday. Just over a week ago he had had to cancel his expedition with a heavy heart and was thinking about how he would survive the boredom at home. “Now my attention is no longer on the kilo or less I took to be able to fly that paraglider or not, but it is fixed on the thermometer marks, on every breath that must not be worse than the previous one.”
“I’m not giving up!”
His wife Erika Siffredi is always at his side. The two had married in 2018 after Cala had proposed to her in Nepal on the about 5,400-meter high mountain pass Renjo, located in the Khumbu region near Mount Everest. Erika also had a high fever, but had not been tested, Cimenti writes, adding that these swabs are reserved for the most seriuos cases. Now she is better and she can take care of him, says Cala: “My goal now is not to reach the top of a mountain, but to reach the next day in the same condition or maybe even a slightly better one. Anyway, today is my eighth day of sickness and I am still here! I am not giving up!” Hang in there, Cala!
Update 26 March: Cala is fortunately recovering. “I feel much better, I haven’t had a fever for four days and the lung problems are disappearing day by day,” the 44-year-old wrote on Facebook. “I would say (fingers crossed) that the hardest part is over.”