Mountains create stories: adventures which leave one speechless in view of their being so extraordinary and simply unique, just like their protagonists. This is not, however, always a matter of exceptional deeds on a mountain face, undertaken by class acts who can inspire people; sometimes, in fact, we may deal with different stories, apparently more “commonplace”, in truth even more remarkable. The story of Ronald Choque, a 21-year old from Bolivia, deeply passionate about mountaineering, belongs to the latter category, where challenges go well beyond steep faces and reach a broader dimension, bordering on the social domain.
Ronald is one of the boys of the Peñas mission, close to La Paz (Bolivia), where Father Antonio “Topio” Zavatelli, stemming from Menaggio on Lake Como, is pursuing a youth education and training project, paying tribute to the “campesino” tradition – i.e. the peasant one. Father Topio and his school aim at supplying these young boys with the knowledge and skills necessary to work and live on the plain, without falling into the trap of migration – and its conceivable negative connotations – towards the city of El Alto and the capital.
Bolivia’s Ronald Choque in Italy to become a mountain guide thanks to CAMP
The Peñas mission has been offering a tourism course for quite some time, in addition to the traditional professional sewing, drawing, IT and accounting classes. Its aim is clear: to train guides who will make visitors discover the outstanding natural beauties of Bolivia, chiefly the renowned Lake Titicaca. Considering the presence of mountains, Father Topio would be really happy if the boys from his mission could become mountain guides: this is an ambitious project, following on from what has already been put in place by Ugo De Censi in Peru, which C.A.M.P. is already actively helping by offering essential mountaineering gear.
And that’s not all! In view of the talent and passion of Ronald Choque, who recently completed the first ascent of the Kamasa route on the Gran Muralla (5200 m), in the Quimsa Cruz Cordillera, our company decided to actively help him become a mountain professional. How did we do it? We invited him to spend a few weeks in Italy to take part in training days with mountain guides and top-level athletes. The first stage is taking place at the moment, while the second will occur in the coming months. Ronald, who is a guest in Premana, where C.A.M.P. has its headquarters, is taking advantage of winter conditions and making the most of ice climbing and skiing. He will focus on rock climbing in the spring. This way, he will increase his technical know-how and will posses the right credentials to become a mountain guide in his native land, fulfilling a dream that transcends mountain faces.
This is the first time that Ronald visits a foreign country, where daily life is a world apart from the one in Bolivia; these months represent an important lesson in life, a key aspect of Father Topio’s project. On our part, after having shown great enthusiasm, we are truly proud to be part of this venture, along the lines of the authentic mountain culture we feel is part of our credo, from which true mountaineering ethics stem. Values that do not simply mean being able to use a piton, place a bolt or a fixed rope but, without rhetoric, stand for solidarity among all those people who venture out to the awe-inspiring realm of the high mountains.
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