Oskar Piazza was different from other alpinists. Born in 1960, he has belonged to those who take to the mountains both out of passion and to help others, when they are in need. As a matter of fact, Oskar was a mainstay of the Alpine Rescue Team, capable of laying his own ambitions to one side to make sure he is always ready to help a rope party in difficulty and save human lives. «I cannot remember any specific event that induced me to become a rescuer – he explaine –. It is simply an urge I feel deep inside myself, just like the desire to scale an 8000-metre peak». Speaking of 8000-metre peaks, it is here that Oskar had proved his skills on more than one occasion, making a speed ascent of Cho Oyu (8201 m) and Gasherbrum I (8068 m). However, his most precious memories were likely to be connected with Mount McKinley (6194 m) which he summited along with three very close friends (just as they thought they no longer stood a chance), and with the traverse of Mont Blanc (4810 m): «An adventure I experienced – as he recalled – side by side with my father, on his sixtieth birthday. Mont Blanc was his ultimate dream which is why I found it absolutely extraordinary that I managed to “offer” him this peak on that very day». There is nothing rhetoric by saying that the mountains have always been an authentic life master to Oskar Piazza: «They helped me understand the culture of respect. The respect of persons, of objects, of dangers and of the natural environment: something we ought to feel a desperate need of, not only in the mountains but also at home».

Oskar, for all of us, was and will always be a friend, a travel companion. He left at the end of last April in Nepal, swept away by a wave of death in the mountains and the people he loved, near the village of Langtang, the day 25 April 2015.

We will remember him forever.