The story of Ambassador Kayland Giulio Venditti, speleosubacher and mountain enthusiast.
“The mountain is a metaphor for each of us”
This is the motto of Giulio Venditti, ambassador Kayland, speleosubacher and parachutist of the Italian army.
Of course, deep-sea diving and mountaineering are not two disciplines that one would naturally juxtapose, but Julius has always walked his own path in a totally original way, finding points of contact between sometimes opposing disciplines, experiences, and professionalism. One of his best characteristics is undoubtedly transversality: Julius sees his life as a blank sheet of paper to be filled with new passions, new interests, new experiences.
Giulio took the time to tell us his story, his approach to the mountains and life, and talked to us about the common thread that connects cave diving to mountaineering.
It all starts during his teenage years, when he got into freediving and scuba diving, including winter diving. Among the school benches, he developed a growing interest in these disciplines, an interest that later found its consecration with his entry into the ranks Italian Army.
Through his training in elite corps and through his missions in many theaters of operation, he learns the importance of adaptation and especially presence to self: knowing oneself, knowing how to govern oneself in any situation, no matter how trying or hostile, becomes the absolute most important factor when the stakes are high.
Not only that, during his Army career, he continued his training as a diver in both Italy and France. During these years, he participated in various dives in search and discovery of wrecks and later approached the discovery of caves.
During my career I have had the opportunity to specialize in caving and over time I have realised that there is a strong link between this discipline and mountaineering. Often for scientific purposes, I have found myself collaborating with expeditions that study freshwater resurgences in underwater and underground caves, researching geological, biological and for the preservation of the delicate equilibrium of these environments. Of course, my Kayland gear is my loyal companion in every new adventure.
The reason why I call it “Mountain Diving” is simple: the entrance to these caves often takes many hours of approaching, being often in remote places and not served by roads, if not dirt. Here we have the first point of contact with trekking, due to the fact of literally having to approach the caves and dive points.
In addition, as in traditional mountaineering, the load is very heavy and can sometimes reach up to 50kg, including the diving tanks. Animals such as mules or horses may also be required to transport equipment if the shipment involves a large number of people or a large quantity of instruments. This approach closely recalls the preparation and approach of Himalayan mountaineering. Knowing how to carry what you need with you is absolutely essential to avoid extra weight and an optimal weight distribution of the backpack is also important for the success of the project.It is essential to know how to conserve your energy and reach your destination lucidly, coldly and effectively.
Furthermore, in diving the knowledge of the environment and of your physique is very important, you have to know how to govern yourself in every situation, however dangerous it may be. Managing stress is a life-saving skill. Each speleosubaqua undergoes a rigorous physical and mental training, pre and post dive, combined with an in-depth study of the environment and the human body. The degree of danger of diving in caves is certainly not a mystery: we often hear chronicles of divers who lose their lives in caves. You need to know what decompression is, the physiology of deep gas breathing, when you need to stop and when you can move forward, for example if you are exposed to extremely cold temperatures. You always have to assess the risk. This knowledge can only give you dedication, training, coaching and experience.
My favorite thing to do in the mountains is to live. To hear it, as if it were a voice that speaks to each of us, that whispers straight to the heart of every passionate person who loves and respects it.
As in diving, in the mountains it is not allowed to overdo things: if you do not think, if you do not assess the risk and if you do not know when to stop, the mountains and the sea do not forgive. That’s why I always go with professional mountaineers friends, who know how to recommend the best trails, even challenging ones, but where my safety is not endangered.
I experience the mountain as a mixture of personal elevation and challenge, technique and physics. In winter I love to use crampons and ice axes, always with my Kayland Super Ice Evo GTX on my feet. The experience of the people and professionals I accompany me allow me to fully enjoy the wonders that only the peaks can offer, simultaneously putting myself to the test on both the mental and physical side.
Essentially, the project aimed to study micro-organisms in depth. What scientists want to do is to put these life forms “under stress” in order to understand their limits to survival. The scientific expedition is mainly focused on this and at the same time a documentary about the whole project was filmed.
The expedition lasted ten days and saw me engaged in the diving part, of course with equipment suitable for extreme conditions, to allow me to face long dives in very cold temperatures.
The project is American and counted on several professionals from all over the world, including me. It’s a beautiful story of international collaboration.
On your adventures in the mountains and in the Lofoten you will be accompanied by your Kaylands...
Absolutely yes. I brought Super Ice Evo GTX and Cross Mountain GTX with me, while my Alpha Knits waited for me at home in view of the approaches during the summer.
An inexperienced user may indeed underestimate the impact of the equipment, but when you have enough experience you realize that, in these situations, the equipment makes all the difference in the world.
In the past, for an expedition to Albania, I faced a 7-hour approach and the soles of my faithful companions allowed me to walk the road safely. At the time I used Alpha Knit, but if I need more support for my ankle, for example when carrying heavy loads, I prefer to use Cross Mountain GTX, which always gave me great protection, comfort and breathability.
In the last project at Lofoten, I used Super Ice Evo GTX more, which allow me to face the cold Norwegian temperatures without any problem, with excellent grip of the sole and total insulation from atmospheric agents.
Thank you very much Giulio for the time you have dedicated to us and a very big good luck for your next project!
Thanks a lot.