Francesco Rovetta, founder of Summit Stories and a close friend of BAIA, told us recently that "reaching a summit, whether on a mountain or in life, means overcoming tremendous challenges: the journey is even more enriching when it is done with and for others." For the next two years, Francesco will embark on a new journey, a lifelong goal close to his heart: Summit Stories, a journey across the seven continents to climb the highest mountains and help local communities. We sat down with Francesco for an interview. Enjoy!
Francesco, tell us a bit about yourself and on your new project Summit Stories.
Born and raised in Milan, my penchant for traveling the world and climbing mountains came at a young age. After working in Europe and Asia for technology companies such as Hitachi, Alcatel, Skype and PayPal, I decided to make San Francisco my home because there are so many natural wonders in the Bay Area. It’s perfect for someone who enjoys the outdoors as much as I do.
My new project Summit Stories is a journey across the seven continents and their highest mountain peaks to help bring educational opportunities to underprivileged youth and local communities. While completing high-altitude mountaineering expeditions, we are raising funds for selected local non-profit organizations in collaboration with supporters and corporations.
What was the driving factor that led you to dedicate the next two years of your life on something "unique, breathtaking and soul-enlightening" as Summit Stories?
Guido Rey, an Italian climber and writer from the beginning of the last century said “I believed, and believe, the fight with the Mountain to be useful like work, noble like arts, wonderful like faith”. I nurtured the idea of combining my passion of the mountains and outdoor adventures with the pursuit of a greater cause and thus a philanthropic outdoor project was born.
On your website http://www.summit-stories.com/ you write that "while I prepare and climb mountains, I will also help bring education opportunities to underprivileged youth and foster entrepreneurship amongst local communities." How does preparing to climb the highest peaks interplay with helping the local communities?
I see climbing a summit as a catalyst for a broader experience that will help benefit a greater cause. Summit Stories will raise funds for selected local non-profit organizations and involve individuals and corporations to collaborate on the project and support the specific local programs.
For example, as I climb Aconcagua in January, I am supporting Fundación Leer, the leading Argentine NGO that provides literacy to under-privileged children. We are currently raising funds on our website and through social media to help Fundación Leer finance a project to train educators for children under 5 years of age and to create libraries for the children.
Other initiatives we are putting in place for future expeditions include volunteering programs, whether on site or remotely, donation matching from corporations, in-kind donations and marketing programs aimed at increasing awareness for the project and the selected non-profits.
Mount Aconcagua (altitude: 6,962 meters) will be your first climb and Fundación Leer will be the first non-profit organization to benefit. Why did you chose Argentina as your first destination?
The access to most mountains, given their high elevation, geographic position and seasonal patterns, is very dependent on weather conditions and often that translates into a relatively narrow window. Planning with this requirement in mind allows the best chance of success with the maximum safety standards. The window for Aconcagua is typically between November and February.
"The greatest accomplishment is sharing it with others" is prominently shown on your website. What does this quote mean to you?
I feel very fortunate for the life I’ve lived so far and the opportunities I have had. Summit Stories is a way to socialize a mission and its goal to benefit children who can help build a better world if they are given the opportunity and help of supporters who share similar beliefs.
Reaching a summit, whether on a mountain or in life, means overcoming tremendous physical and mental challenges with training, practice and motivation: the journey is even more meaningful and more enriching when it is done with and for others. This is our core principle and what drives Summit Stories.
Who can participate in climbing the highest peaks across the seven continents with you and help the local communities? How can BAIA readers contribute?
Summit Stories is very much about getting people involved. This can be done by joining us on one of our climbing expeditions, volunteering for one of the non-profit associations we support, or contributing with donations.
All expeditions require a good level of fitness and the desire to push your limit a little bit further: some involve trekking for one to up to several weeks, others are more technical and require climbing experience, either on rock or on ice.
On site volunteering with the local non-profits is specific to the needs of the associations (in some cases helping build a library or a gym, in some others teach a language or a sport or provide professional expertise like accounting, design, or legal advice) and can be one to several days long.
Corporations can join Summit Stories by sponsoring a Summit Stories Climb, participating in Summit Stories marketing activities and promoting Summit Stories in their internal and external programs.
Of course, we welcome any type of support, feedback and suggestions!
And…Buone scalate sulle montagne e nella vita!
On behalf of BAIA, I would like to thank Francesco for taking the time to share with us his great new adventure! If you are interested in contacting Francesco, you can send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
As Mt. Aconcagua is 6,962 meters above sea level, let's help Francesco raise a dollar for each meter in support of Fundación Leer. Visit http://fundrazr.com/campaigns/bNR9a and donate graciously!