Raul Penso explains his night out on the Dachstein. Interview: Ed Ewing
Raul Penso has been given a 12-hour penalty for going off route on the first night of the Red Bull X-Alps.
Organisers issued a statement at midday local time explaining the decision:
Raul Penso violated rule 5.19. He got lost on his way up the Dachstein and called the race organization for help. A mountain guide was sent to find him. Due to Penso’s route decision he endangered himself severely.
The race committee decided that he will get a time penalty of 12 hours, which will prolong his next rest period. After talking with the race committee Raul Penso decided to safely bivouac, after a site check by our mountain guide, in order to avoid another penalty resulting from violation of rule 5.3, which forbids moving from the last stop position during rest periods.
Cross Country met Raul on the summit of the Dachstein mountain in Austria this morning, as he arrived sweating and tired after a hard night bivouaced on the mountain.
“It was a bad night, cold,” he said. “I had no sleep, none at all.”
He explained that as dusk fell he went off route following alpine track markers – small painted flags on rocks – but that he lost his way. “I didn’t have my headtorch.”
Realising he was lost he rang his supporter and less than an hour later his supporter and the mountain guide arrived with dry clothes and proper mountain footwear.
“I was about 500m to the hut, but it was getting dark so I missed the path. So I stopped in a little cornice, a step, mixed snow and rock. Forty minutes later arrived my supporter with proper shoes and dry clothes.
“Then a guy arrived from the hut, and he slept with us and this morning he guided us to the hut. So I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat lunch or dinner or anything.
“My flight was perfect, I was in second place. But then I got some wrong information.”
Arriving tired at the take off at the Dachstein glacier in about 20th position he headed to the cable car station cafe for a coffee and a breakfast.
His bad luck continued however as several athletes took off in clear skies – which started to cloud in when Raul returned to the take off site.
With cloud filling rapidly he clipped in and launched – unaware he would later incur a 12-hour time penalty.
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