La voie Bonatti – all the way to the heart of scientists

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Science and mountains. Apparently quite a peculiar union, especially if we are talking about neuroscience. “Alpine Brain Imaging” sounds fascinating, almost romantic. What relations are there between the ways our brains function, our emotions manifest themselves, our bodies react in the mountains and pure science? Quite clearly, more than you’d think. Neuroscience, in fact, examines precisely that.

We all go to the mountains for different reasons, be they to seek a challenge, comfort, an escape, redemption, fulfill a dream, prove to ourselves that we are alive, but we all share some genuine interest in the environment that surrounds us, wanting to discover what happened before us, so that we can be better prepared to face the future.

La voie Bonatti, the award-winning fabulous film on a six-day adventure in the Mont Blanc Massif, directed by Bruno Peyronnet, is a case in point. The protagonists, Christophe Dumarest and Yann Borgnet, retrace the steps of their forerunners and pay a homage to Walter Bonatti with an enchainment starting on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses and ending on the top of Mont Blanc via the Grand Capucin and the Red Pillar of Brouillard.

The charming little town of Champéry  (dotted with marvellous chalets, such as the Chalet Eden) hosted an interesting five-day event, the Alpine Brain Imagine Meeting, and Christophe Dumarest was among the speakers on the final night.

Conveying the feelings which arise on such situations is not always easy, but Christophe put the message across in a sound, clear fashion – and I hope that my translation into English helped…

Go out and explore, seek your adventures, never defer, don’t think too much, always remember to smile.   Lessons we learn along the way, shared by mountaineers and scientists alike…

All pictures by Kalliopi Apazoglou.

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