Even though Nepal’s borders are still closed and he does not see any expedition to the Himalayas in the medium term, Gabriel Filippi is picking up his bag and his ice ax this fall. The mission of the mountaineer: to inspire pupils and students with his stories in videoconferences.
When he is not busy climbing high snow-capped peaks, leading expeditions or participating in a crazy endurance test, the seasoned mountaineer recounts his adventures in lectures. He adapts them to the environment that has approached him.
Pandemic forces since March, he has managed to adapt its content by virtually delivering its conferences. But recently, he added a clientele that needs a boost: that of schools. The collateral damage of the pandemic is hitting students, young and old alike, hard.
If there is one who has multiplied the hours of solitude in the mountains, it is this Quebec climber with a long track record.
Last week, behind the camera in his office, Filippi delivered a lecture to 500 undergraduates from the Franco-Cité Catholic High School in Ottawa, an institution affected by a COVID-19 outbreak.
Message of perseverance
With stunning photos to back it up and drawing parallels with his expedition adventures, he wanted to inspire them to persevere, to show determination and resilience in these more difficult times.
“I’m talking about the difficulties in life, the tools to get out of it and the solutions to get through it,” explained the mountaineer who is also the author of the book Survival instinct – Deceiving fate on the highest peaks of the world. There are always obstacles and fears to overcome.
“I draw parallels between their reality, the difficulties encountered in a school year, and what I live in the mountains, continued the one who climbed on the top of the world, Everest, three times, in addition to having a multitude of other summits on its roadmap. I’m talking about the sherpas, those people who help us.
“It’s important to make your way to a destination in life. Know where we want to go and what we want to do. This message reached his young audience.
A success in Ottawa for the mountaineer
Unsurprisingly, Gabriel Filippi managed to hook his audience hands down. His speech supported by photos of Everest captured the imagination of the students.
The day after his conference, he was still answering their multiple questions. Contacted by The newspaper, the instigator of the project, the teacher Tatiana Racine Dupelle, said mission accomplished.
“Our students come from all walks of life. For some, the impacts of COVID-19 mean restrictions or job losses for parents. Gabriel gave them hope to follow their dream, testified the teacher, challenged by the decrease in motivation in class.
“Gabriel knows how to make himself understood and he is a model for young people. It is a 200% successful activity. “
Make a difference
By publishing his inspiring initiative on social networks, Filippi has aroused the interest of around twenty schools. A sign that he can make the difference in this gloomy period. “A little guy from Mégantic is the first Canadian to climb to the top of Everest three times,” he recalled. If my course can help students, I am doing my part. “