As a mountain biker and lover of volcanoes, Richard Gasperotti planned to climb and ride down three 3,000+ meter volcanoes in Guatemala in just three days. Accompanied by his team, including photographer Miloš Štáfek, cameraman Ládis and manager Jan, the journey was expected to last two weeks with the aim of collecting volcanic ash and stones to turn into three pieces of art that would be auctioned off for charity. However, things didn’t go as planned.
During their ascent of one of the volcanoes, they witnessed an explosion that ejected boulders several hundred meters into the air, causing Gasperotti to quickly abandon his bike and retreat with the rest of the team. When the second eruption occurred, they feared for their lives as rocks rained down from the sky. Despite the danger, Gasperotti was determined to retrieve his bike and ride down the volcano. Miraculously, he survived and was left with a deeper appreciation for the inscrutable and awe-inspiring nature of volcanoes.
Gasperotti had always been drawn to the symmetry and the fact that volcanoes were dead and alive at the same time. They give fertile soil to the people around them but can also be deadly. For him, as a biker, the volcanic landscape had the advantage of being barren and lifeless, which meant that riding down them caused no damage. However, the trip to Guatemala had been risky, and while most other peaks are protected by law, volcanic landscapes offer an opportunity for extreme exploration.
The team’s mission to collect volcanic ash and stones to turn into art was not achieved due to the dangerous conditions. Nonetheless, they were grateful to have survived the experience and to have witnessed the raw power of the natural world. Despite the danger and the challenges, the trip was a reminder of the beauty and unpredictability of our planet.
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