The best presentation is my work.
Thank you Oana-Calina, life, mountain and work partner for your support !
“The one thing that Matters is the effort.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“The one thing that Matters is the effort.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I was born on July 4, 1974 in Sibiu, at the bottom of Transylvanian Alps and inevitably, one of the images that remained deeply imprinted in my soul, is the snowy ridge of the mountains. When I was 6 years old (1979) I first put the skis on my feet. During the high school, at the end of the 80’s, I made the first mountain trips.
I start ski mountaineering in 1997, and it was love at the first sight. I like all mountain sports: skiing, running, mountaineering, MTB. But I can say that ski mountaineering is my favorite sport being a complete expression of winter mountain sports.
Since 1992 I studied in Cluj, within the Faculty of Computers becoming an IT engineer in 1997. This was the period when I start climbing. In 2009 I became a mountain guide, my passion for the mountain gradually turning into a way of life.
Although I built an IT career from 2013 I decided to give up office work completely and dedicated myself to the mountain.
I have been on expeditions to the Caucasus in 2002 and 2003, I have done climbs in the Alps every year since 2004 until now, expeditions in the Andes 2005, Pamir 2006 and the Himalayas, Kanchenjunga 8586m (7200m) in 2012, Manaslu 8156m (7300m) 2013 and Cho Oyu 8201m (7200m) in 2016. After each expedition, both memories and scars remain. It would be difficult to establish some sort of hierarchy between ascents or expeditions, each experience has something unique.
On Kanchenjunga I survived a storm that surprised me in one of the upper camps, over 7000m, and then I had a narrow escape (only with some bruises and scratches) by a serac who collapsed on the route we were climbing.
On Manaslu we were forced to abandon the expedition after an avalanche destroyed camp 3.
On Cho Oyu, I was on a solitary ski-mountaineering expedition. After almost 1 month of work, in which I managed to equip myself all the camps, the last camp being at 7200m, I made an attempt to climb the peak but the weather and conditions were not good and I had to retreat. It was an unusually dry season, with very little snow: just ice and rock, so I carried the skis up and down.
I like the mountain and I go to the mountains regardless of conditions. However, I have learned to avoid the potentially dangerous conditions. It does not necessarily mean that I stay home, one of my favorite quotes are: “staying home is not an option”, but when the conditions on the mountain are difficult (massive snow falls, mistletoe, etc.), I choose to go to the places that have fewer objective dangers.
The mountain puts in front of you a mirror, which you can choose to observe or ignore. However, sooner or later the reality will get you.
A D N - The Alliance for Nature Diversity
Beyond a wonderful view each of us must discover responsibility for the mountain and nature. Unfortunately, in Romania there is a real drama in progress: entire forests disappear, mountain streams are destroyed, poaching and excessive hunting, motor sports in protected areas, etc. For me, nature means also the responsibility to protect this wonderful gift. The Alliance for Nature Diversity project, which I initiated in 2012, is a project for information and awareness for nature and wilderness protection.
In April ’95 I was caught in a large avalanche, on the Bâlea valley, in the Fagaras Mountains. I was lucky and managed to get out of the main avalanche flow, but I was completely buried. My mountain pals took me out of the snow in a timely manner and I survived. At that precise moment I realized that I stepped over a threshold, which for many was without return, and only the chance stopped me from becoming an extra figure in the avalanche victims’ statistics. The strength of the avalanche shocked me, as well as the fact that you have absolutely no control and that you are completely in the hands of hazard, a prospect that is not sustainable in the long term, in the alpine environment.
In early 1990s, in Romania, the relationship of mountain sports practitioners with avalanche was often reduced to a matter of luck and the only method of salvation was to use the avalanche cord (a thin, red-coloured cord of 8-10m on that you drag around in the risky areas, hoping that in the event of an avalanche it will float at the surface, thus allowing the rescuers to find you). The documentation or education on this subject was practically non-existent and we were in those times in our infancy, completely lacking experience in mountaineering or off-piste skiing, brave and motivated, yes, but unfortunately very lonely.
In short, we were an orphan generation, learning from the own mistakes, sometimes at extremely high costs, and avalanches were often the main cause. In the early years there would be no winter without me or my ascent colleagues accidentally triggering one or more avalanches, indeed and luckily not very large.
All this has led me to start systematically studying the snow and avalanches in 2008. To measure, photograph, catalogue, and understand the mechanisms and dynamics of the snow. And especially to share with others the experience and information accumulated, first as a blog and then on the website www.avalanseincarpati.ro.
In Romania, on average, two people lose their lives in avalanches every year. Several tens accidentally cause avalanches but escape only with accidents or with a scar but alive.
Unfortunately, the level of mountain education and awareness of avalanche risk is not directly proportional to the increase in the number of winter sports practitioners.
Avalanches in the Carpathians is an initiative addressed to the mountain community, based on voluntary work, which wants to contribute to better informing people about snow conditions and the activity of avalanches in the Romanian Carpathians. Preventive information is promoted through the site. Our intention is to generate an information base for further studies: risk maps, statistics and other forecasting and estimation studies.
Our team has 10 permanent collaborators and over 25 contributors.
These are mountain guides, lifeguards or athletes with experience in winter sports.
But practically anyone who witnesses or is involved in such an event can send us pictures and information related to avalanches. To date, over 200 avalanches have been recorded, mapped and described, reported in 11 massifs, most frequently in the Fagaras and Bucegi Mountains.
Another activity that we initiated within the project “Avalanches in the Carpathians” are the awareness workshops about snow and avalanches. We have organized such presentations in Bucharest (250 persons), Cluj Napoca (2 x 130 and 120 persons), Brasov (130 persons), Sibiu (130 persons) during the 2018-2019 season, and the number of participants was limited only by the available venue space. These workshops will continue in other cities or during mountain events, such as the presentation of Oslea Hike & Ride, one of the most loved Freeride competitions in Romania.
I have been a mountain guide since 2009 and I make many climbs, especially in winter. Snow and ice are my favorite environment. The steep slopes and slim ridges attracted me from the beginning. But to enjoy them safely you need responsibility and experience.
My greatest joy is seeing people discover and explore the mountain with passion and responsibility.
In 2007 we started organizing winter climbing workshops in the Retezat mountains. This project has developed and has now become Adventureguide Mountain Academy, a project that includes winter and summer mountain school.
SkiAlpinism Ro – Portal of ski mountaineering and ski touring
One of my goals is to build something that our generation lacked: a transparent and structured framework to help those who want to practice skiing and mountaineering, be it at the competitive or recreational level.
Over 20 years of mountain skiing “know-how” was shared in a transparent and accessible manner. Information related to events, tracks, training, equipment, conditions, tour reports, useful links are just a few examples of the pieces of knowledge readily available to all interested people on the portal https://skialpinismromania.ro/
In 2014, together with a group of friends we started Vertical Sport a mountain sports club: mountain running, ski mountaineering, mountaineering and rock climbing. We are pioneers in mountain running / ski mountaineering in Romania. We have over 20 sportsmen and women actively participating in competitions and some of them are constantly on the podium. We have also a team of juniors and young people.
In addition to the support given to the athletes, Vertical Sport is involved in organizing ski mountaineering and mountain running competitions.
Ski Mountaineering Race Balea is an event that includes 2 competitions:
Ski Touring race and
Ski mountaineering race, both individual races. This is the only ski-mountaineering competition organized in the alpine terrain above 2000m. The event reached its sixth edition.
Suru Challenge is another event to promote ski touring and ski mountaineering, organized in Fagaras mountains. So far III editions have been organized.
Km Vertical Balea is a mountain running event organized at beginning of June. It marks the transition from the winter season to the spring season. In the high mountain there is plenty of snow but below 1500m the vegetation has exploded and everything is full of life. From the raw greens to the snow slopes is a very spectacular transition. The event includes 2 races:
KM Vertical (5km / 1000m D +) and a long and technical Balea Sky Race (18km / 2400m D +). First edition was organized in 2015.
C C T R
CCTR – Creasta Cocosului Trail Race is a mountain running event organized in a beautifull area in Maramures. Together with Andrei Bercean, the initiator of the event, we organized two editions in 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately, the lack of resources determined us to suspend this project for the moment.
2018 is the year in which together with my friends from Reghin Schi Company we have brought to light a ski prototype for ski mountaineering. Currently there is the Reghin Alpinist ski, a lightweight 830gr ski, very resistant, specially designed for rough and technical rides. In 2019 we tested another prototype Reghin Alpinist Race, 730gr, designed for mountaineering ski racing.
Map of Fagaras and Iezer Papusa mountains.
Updating the map of Fagaras and Iezer Papusa mountains. (2400 sqare km)
From June to October I have traveled all the hiking routes from the Fagaras mountains, from Olt to Plaiul Foii and from North to South.
The goal is an updated and digitized map of the entire Fagaras & Iezer Papusa massif https: //muntii-nostri.ro/
The project involved get gps tracks of all routes, describing, creating the profile, photographing, digitizing and processing the GPS tracks for each of the 80 marked routes of the 2 mountains.
I started on snow in mid-June and ended on snow in early November :).
I gathered 1200km and 89000m D + positive level difference in 50 days of laps.
The shortest trip was about 20km and the longest 48km.
I thank all those who accompanied me and helped me to carry out this project: Oana Calina, Ovidiu Tanase, David Binzaru, Catalin Daniel Pobega, Aurel Salasan, Milascon Marius, Andrei Balasan, Szekely Cosmin, Coralia and Mircea Marginean, Voichita Bodea, Vlad Sancraian, Camelia Ploscar, Valentin Retevoi.
I also thank the colleagues from Salvamont Arges and Sibiu for very useful information …
As a mountaineer I am most attracted by the austere and wild atmosphere of the winter climbs.
I climbed a lot during the winter in the ice-covered walls of the Carpathians, especially between 1996-2012.
Although I do not consider myself to be part of the alpinism elite I have opened some new alpinism routes in winter in Fagaras and Retezat. I climbed the mixed routes and ice waterfalls in Fagaras at Negoiu and Balea, in Retezat, Rodnei or Lotru.
In Turzii Gorge I climbed some of the hardest climbing routes (Madona Neagra 6A, Vigh Tibi 5B, Chipches 5B, Sharp Tower 5A) in winter.
Mountain running, Ski Alpinism, Races
I am not the prototype of a alpinist who all the time is looking for new challenges on vertical heights where no one dares to even look. My profile is as a athlete, I am a hard worker who always put the work in the first place. I have participated in more than 50 mountain races marathons, half marathons, ski touring and ski mountaineering and several ultramarathons. Sometimes I was among the best but the goal is not just the place on the podium. Because in any outdoor activity it is the experience itself that shapes and transforms you.
“Who dares wins”