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In praise of ravanage (or scrambling if you prefer)

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In praise of ravanage (or scrambling if you prefer)

Let’s forget about the little story of Monsieur De Ravanage and his elusive writings found inside a cave above 4,000 meters above sea level on Mont Blanc: it’s just a joke to tell a way of hiking – any type, on foot or by bike, in summer or winter, in the mountains but not only – which today in Anglo-Saxon countries is also called scrambling and that has a lot to do with the approach to life rather than sport.

Ravanage (o scrambling)

Ravanare, in the dialectal forms of northern Italy, it basically means rummaging, stirring, rummaging in a disorderly way and creating confusion. Scrambling, which is the term used in English, is very close in terms of meaning, that goes from scrambling to climbing to jumping out, depending on the contexts. Now, despite the increasingly marked tendency – even in the outdoor world – to want to define each micro-activity with a specific name, and also to want to combine it with specific products, ravanage, or scrambling if you prefer, understood as wandering through mountainous or wooded areasin an instinctive way, a little off the beaten track, fully in the dimension of Type 2 fun which is getting into trouble for the pleasure of getting into trouble, it is more than anything else a philosophy of life, an approach pleasurean anarchic and off-screen way of experiencing (albeit micro) adventures that create a bit of uncertainty even where we increasingly try to reduce it to a minimum.

Praise of Ravanage

When we talk about ravanage we are talking about something between hiking and easy climbing or mountaineering, between class 3 of the Yosemite scale and 2nd degree of the French one, we talk about snowshoes as well as ski touring, we also talk about MTB or gravel if desired, where there are moments of portage. But in any case we are talking about those moments in which curiosity, the desire to get off the beaten path, the instinct to discover something different and new, inevitably lead you to get a little messed up.

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Precisely that Type 2 fun that you find miserable while you do it, that you curse yourself or hear the curses of your hiking companions, but that then when you tell it afterwards you find it funny, very funny. And indeed memorable.

The praise of ravanage is the praise of uncertainty, of those moments when the trail sign tells you to go one way but you can’t resist your internal question of “why don’t we go this way instead?”. It is the praise of getting lost, not even caring a little about GPS, trackers, Komoot and assorted files for the pure pleasure of finding yourself. It is the eulogy of those moments when You prefer the bush to the beaten pathproceeding with hands and feet, carrying the bike on your shoulders, putting your feet in the mud.

Ravanage, or coming out of the screens

It’s basically the desire to get away from the screens a bit, those patterns that now pervade every moment (or almost) of our lives, and which are increasingly conquering even the areas of freedom of outdoor activities. They are micro-adventures that you can also do in the woods behind your house, perhaps coming out with a few scratches and a few tears on your trousers, perhaps exactly in a completely different place from where you thought you were; microadventures you experience when you go on an excursion and let your instincts guide youwandering without a real goal (or even stealing some of the goal) for the pure enjoyment of wandering.

Microadventures in the name of serendipity, as they say today, in which you don’t get where you wanted to get to, but you discover something you didn’t think you’d discover. A heterogeneity of goals that also slightly broadens your horizon of experiences, physical and mental, and that puts a drop of anarchy and punk in a world that is increasingly polarized between what tries to minimize any inconvenience and what must push the limits further and further.

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READ ALSO: Praise of getting lost

Photo by Mike Cox / KEATON IS NOT / Lukas Mann / James Harrison


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