In the photo: Cuxi (Alexandru Brăduț Ștefan) on his solo ascent of Matterhorn on August 12, 1982.

I recently returned from the Retezat Mountains where I was grateful to attend as I traditionally do, year by year, the Cuxi Memorial Weekend. Even if the weather didn’t promisse to be very friendly a large group of friends and colleagues from the Romanian Alpine Club joined the event at the Gentiana Hut.

Cuxi (Alexandru Bradut Serban) was a very talented young climber in the early 80’s who was tragically killed in an avalanche while descending from Pietrele Ridge not far away from Gentiana Hut. His journal, published a few years later, inspired me in my early days of climbing and is still inspiring many young people to get started into the beautiful world of mountain climbing.

Back in his days the only climbing areas accesible for Romanians were inside the country due to the communist restrictions. After discovering his passion, Cuxi managed to climb in just a couple of years the main hardest routes in the Carpathians (some of them also in winter time). Then, in 1982 he was one of the very few Romanian alpinists who got permision to travel abroad and climb in the Alps. His solo ascent of the Matterhorn from Switzerland made him dream even bigger … I guess mountains have this effect of developing the taste for freedom in one’s life…

Years later, mountaineers still gather at his memorial cross in the Retezat Mountains to remember him. I always like to go back there and try to climb some of the existing routes around, to ski or to just stand on the estetic granit summits of the region.

I would like to thank all the participants who chose spending this weekend in the mountains with our club at the Cuxi Memorial.

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Photo (c): Alex Prigoană. Crux pitch on Creasta Frumoasă, Retezat Mountains.

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Photo (c): Alex Prigoană. Taken after climbing ”Creasta Frumoasă” (”The Beautiful Ridge”)

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Photo (c): Alex Prigoană. The summits of Retezat Mountains rising above the clouds