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EXPEDITIONS

The peaks I have climbed

MANASLU

HIMALAYA / NEPAL

8163 m

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2015
GALLERY

"What we bring home with us is not a defeat, but a dream to which we gave fuel and energy. With or without a peak it is actions and fantasy which count, not the mere result. This adventure has simply been postponed."

Manaslu, with its 8.163 meters is the eighth highest summit in the world. The aim of the expedition is to make a modern re-enactment of two great climbs achieved in the past. The first winter ascent of the mountain climbed on the 12 January 1984 by the two Polish climbers Berbeka and Gajewski, as well as the link up of the ascent in succession of the two peaks of Manaslu's massif: the main summit of 8163 meters and the East Pinnacle, 7992 meters high. This last climb was achieved by the two great Polish alpinists Jerzy Kukuckzka and Artur Haijzer on the 10th November 1986. The second aspect of this 2015 project on Manaslu concerns the link up of the main summit and the East Pinnacle which is 7992 meters high. This double ascent has never been repeated, not even during more favorable seasons, specifically, Manaslu's East Pinnacle is the planet's highest 7000 meter point. Only 8 meters separate it from the fateful altitude of 8000 meters.

For now, arrivederci!

GALLERY

8 APRIL 2015. Day 51.
It's snowing outside, it has been snowing now for two months! There are 6 meters of snow at Base Camp. It started off as a winter expedition: and ends as a springtime expedition only according to the calendar, but not in terms of weather conditions. I say "ends" because Simone and I have just decided to head back home. We have used up all our patience, our optimism and our abilities, but this year Manaslu remains a dream that we will have to relive some other time. The parenthesis in the Khumbu valley was an expedition inside an expedition. An acclimatization break which lasted 3 weeks, from which two new routes were born as well as the ascent of an unclimbed 6000 meter peak.

An expedition is not simply a matter of pure performance, it is often a game of patience and nerves and I think that Simone and I have done absolutely everything for the weather and the mountain to unveil themselves ?During the long wait ? which saw nothing change in terms of the weather conditions ? we lost a lot of mountaineering gear and spent entire days shoveling snow. Nonetheless surprisingly we kept our spirits high! Now we head back to Italy, where new sporting and mountaineering projects are already ready.

"What we bring home with us is not a defeat, but a dream to which we gave fuel and energy. With or without a peak it is actions and fantasy which count, not the mere result. This adventure has simply been postponed."

K2

KARAKORUM / PAKISTAN

8611 m

JUNE / AUGUST 2014
GALLERY

"Klaus and I got on very well. We even enjoyed the long hours of waiting: we danced, we laughed, washed our clothes and made dumplings. Every morning we would eat a raw egg with sugar, to gain the necessary energy"

Klaus and I quickly decided to set off on an expedition to K2 "the mountain of mountains". We decided on 25th April and a month and a half later we were already on our way. After a few bureaucratic ups and downs in Islamabad we very happily started trekking towards base camp extremely motivated. Once we reached base camp, we started acclimatizing straight away. The ascent up to Camp 1 was long, but I couldn't wait to be immersed into the soul of this mountain. The nights spent up in the high camps were spent serenely.

"Klaus and I got on very well. We even enjoyed the long hours of waiting: we danced, we laughed, washed our clothes and made dumplings. Every morning we would eat a raw egg with sugar, to gain the necessary energy"

GALLERY

All together we did three round trips of acclimatization, each one ended with a night at the upper camps. The last night, the most important one, we slept at camp 3 at 7300 meters. Finally the moment to attempt the summit came, with the start of the good weather window. On the 23rd July at 4 am we set off for our summit attempt. Klaus and I felt good and for this reason we reached camp 2 straight away. From there we moved forward towards Camp 3 and brought the tent with us for Camp 4 at 7300 meters. The summit seemed really close by, instead the ascent time was remarkably long. We set off at twenty past midnight, the last in line, but at 5.30am, just after sunrise, we were at the bottleneck where the traverse sets off under the serac, which is steep, narrow and almost always icy. We found other alpinists waiting there. As soon as it became possible, I managed to overtake almost everyone and follow my rhythm all the way to the top! What joy!

"I was so concentrated that I didn't even wait for Klaus, because I just wanted to get to the top ?I reached the highest point at 3 pm. From there I managed to appreciate the energy and experience my emotions, enjoy the view and awareness that I had reached the summit on my first attempt. Crazy.

It was a lot more important not to make mistakes during the descent to ABX (advanced base camp). Once we reached it, we realized we had made it! :-) Klaus and I finally hugged to celebrate our success: such total happiness!! Achieving one of my greatest dreams not only gave me an exceptional result but it gave me enormous motivation for future adventures!

THE GREAT CROSSING

150 KM ACROSS THE KARAKORUM/PAKISTAN

150 km

MARCH / MAY 2013
GALLERY

"This has been my best expedition ever: almost a month far from civilization, not only one, but two first ascents! And all of this with my father. I experienced the most extreme solitude, experienced what it meant to ration food, and I learned how to move on unknown terrain reacting consequently, managing my strength and weaknesses. An experience which has made me more complete".

150KM ACROSS SNOW AND ICE AND THE ASCENT OF TWO UNCLIMBED PEAKS

The idea of the ski-trekking dates back to 2013, and with time the opportunity of making first ascents of unclimbed peaks came up. A dream that I had been harboring for quite some time, to reach a mountain peak which had never been climbed by anyone before.

"We set off in four for "The Great Crossing", my father and I and two Austrian cameramen. On the 26th March 2013 we took the plane from Munich to Islamabad, where we prepared our sled with the minimum amount necessary, since we were the ones that had to do all the pulling, over the glaciers! In three days we reached Shimshal, the last place before absolutely nothing at all ? On Easter Monday we walked towards the Braldu glacier. 6 days of breathtaking trekking and we reached the snow and the glacier".

For the following 25 days we could only count on ourselves. It took a bit of time to get used to pulling the sled which weighed 70-80 kgs, and resisting through the difficult conditions, the crevasses, the falls and the difficulties in reaching the mountains due to the many seracs. After a first summit to acclimatize, with only 2 sleds we headed towards a side valley off the Braldu glacier, to tackle two first ascents near the Chinese border. Never ending crevasses welcomed us as well as an icy landscape. We walked a lot with crampons on and ice axes and we skied down the summit all the way to the foot of the mountains.

Then we headed towards Lupke la Pass to climb another two mountains. Unfortunately wind and ice finally forced us to head back. The following day we set off with bad weather towards Braldu Brakk (6200m). But we only reached the previous six thousand meter peak, because bad visibility and steep intermediate valleys required us to use all our strength to head back safe and sound to our camp. Another day of bad weather forced us to stop, but finally we climbed over the pass, getting closer to civilization. The descent was quite steep and impressive and after two days, passing by Latoks and the Orge, we reached the spectacular Snow Lake. The weather wasn't any better here? Slowly the weather got out of hand and we had to start walking southwards, where our porters would have to come and pick us up. We set off for Askoli. Usually for this section a day is needed, but due to bad weather, it took us three. It was exactly when food started to run low that we met, a day before we expected, three of our porters. Immense joy! And a bit of sadness for the end of the trip? Another two days to reach Askoli, jeep and bus to Islamabad and then by plane back home.

"This has been my best expedition ever: almost a month far from civilization, not only one, but two first ascents! And all of this with my father. I experienced the most extreme solitude, experienced what it meant to ration food, and I learned how to move on unknown terrain reacting consequently, managing my strength and weaknesses. An experience which has made me more complete".

PEAK LENIN

PAMIR / KYRGHYZSTAN

7143 m

JUNE / JULY 2013
GALLERY

"Ever since I was a young girl I have always dreamt of exploring faraway lands, faraway lands that rise high, so high that they reach the top of the world! These lands had a name which came from the Arabian nights: Pamir, a magical name, which evoked in me adventure and mystery!"

"Ever since I was a young girl I have always dreamt of exploring faraway lands, faraway lands that rise high, so high that they reach the top of the world! These lands had a name which came from the Arabian nights: Pamir, a magical name, which evoked in me adventure and mystery!"

The little girl who had to wait till she was 27 years old to make one of her best dreams come true, an explorative journey to Pamir. Naturally now I see Pamir for what it is, a rugged and wild land in the heart of Central Asia, in between the Republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, born from the breakup of the ex Soviet Union?which, to my eyes has maintained intact its mystery with uninhabited valleys, rivers of ice and vertiginous peaks broken up by crevasses and hanging glaciers; an impressive ocean of white and blue mountains. Bam-i-Dunya, the roof of the world, that is what the Persians called it. From here the earth's highest mountain chains branch off, Hindu Kush to the north-west and Tien shan to the north-east, Karakorum and the Himalayas to the south-east. Separated from Russia by Kazakhstan's endless steppes for thousands of years this was the cross roads for trading between east and west along the Silk Road and the famous markets of Bukhara and Samarkand.

Exploring Pamir was a beautiful experience; climbing LENIN PEAK, the 7134 m peak at GORNO-BADAKHSHAN, between TAJIKISTAN and KYRGHYZSTAN was unforgettable! The ascent's great effort was fully repaid by the breathtaking view which I enjoyed once I reached the summit: the view to east reaches all the way over to TIEN-SHANK (PIK POHEDA and KHAN TEN-GRI) to KONGUR and MUZTAGH ATA in XINJIANG while towards south and west the view reaches the edge of the world, to the countless nameless peaks of western PAMIR.

I didn't even have the time to metabolize the beauty of such a sublime vision that the adrenaline filled section of the adventure began, the long descent of the north face, the entire face, all of it entirely skiable!

MUZTAGH ATA

ATTEMPT ON BROAD PEAK 8051 M / PAMIR

7547 m

JUNE / JULY 2012
GALLERY

"I gave it a go, I did my best and that is what really counts for me. Broad Peak is only 500 meters higher than Muztagh Ata, but at this altitude weather conditions become a determining factor. I also verified that at altitude, I am autonomous and I am able to carry all my own gear. And this is my exact objective: reach the summit on my own, counting only on my own strength and without the help of high altitude porters or sherpas. Something rare nowadays."

Munich, Islamabad, Pakistan and then by bus across China, along the Karakorum Highway; a short break at Karakul Lake and then towards base camp, at an altitude of 4450. It was a 6 man expedition, 4 of whom I didn't know, and right from the beginning we got on well together ?

Luckily this year it has snowed so much that it is possible to set off from base camp and return on skis. We split up into two groups. Paul and I set off for the first and only acclimatization ascent planned, up to camp 1 (5500 meters); the next day we would have to reach camp 2. The weather wasn't great, and after spending the night up there, but without having the weather forecast yet, we returned reluctantly to base camp. The fog completely enveloped the mountain. At base camp the weather forecast gave a good weather window of only one day! Therefore we couldn't afford to wait any longer! One night at base camp and then, on with our backpacks we headed back up. We reached camp 1 and set off straight away towards camp 2. In the serac area our line of vision only reached 5 meters, sometimes we couldn't even move a step for fifteen minutes for fear of falling. Reaching camp was a real challenge! At 5 am we started our descent back down towards the valley, at the end of our acclimatization! After five days of bad weather we set off again. At camp 3 we spent the night. At 8.10 am in the morning we began the decisive ascent with a good rhythm. 4 hours and we were on the summit of Muztagh Ata, the first high summit reached with skis. I was almost overwhelmed by emotion. The effort of the last two weeks finally ended in a fantastic descent, 3000 meters of vertical drop skiing powder. But the time had come to tackle Broad Peak's 8051 meters, in Karakorum.

BROAD PEAK EXPEDITION (8051M)

Paul and I, after the success on Muztagh Ata, headed towards Askoli, while the other four returned back home. From there we set off for a 5 day trek and 100 kilometers towards Broad Peak's base camp, with only 2 useful weeks to reach the summit and knowing about the uncertain weather conditions on Broad Peak. Nonetheless we wanted to try and reach the summit with all our gear in one single attempt. After two days at base camp, we climbed directly to camp 2 at 6200 meters. The conditions were excellent, but our backpacks extremely heavy?At camp 2 we were blocked for 2 days till we became resigned to coming down. After this attempt Paul decided to head back home? The next day, at base camp I decided to give it a go without Paul. After filling my back pack with all the necessary gear, which I now had to transport on my own, I set off towards camp 2. Unfortunately at an altitude of 6500 meters the snow was so strong that the idea of attempting the summit was absolutely unthinkable ? On that day I chose to abandon my dream

"I gave it a go, I did my best and that is what really counts for me. Broad Peak is only 500 meters higher than Muztagh Ata, but at this altitude weather conditions become a determining factor. I also verified that at altitude, I am autonomous and I am able to carry all my own gear. And this is my exact objective: reach the summit on my own, counting only on my own strength and without the help of high altitude porters or sherpas. Something rare nowadays."

KHAN TENGRI

TIEN SHAN / KAZAKISTAN

7010 m

EXPEDITION 2011

"I was happy to have climbed Khan Tengri in those stormy conditions and to have learned so many things. I increased my awareness of my strength and my ability to focus even throughout adverse conditions to reach my destination. This after all, was my biggest victory!"

On the 7th July 2011 I set off for two weeks towards Almaty, in Kazakhstan with my travelling partner Violetta Afuxenidi. Once we reached the area we trained together preparing the ascent for Peak Pobeda. On the 22 July we set off towards Base Camp. Kerim Aktaev from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan was also part of our group.

A helicopter took us to Karkara at Southinylchek at 4000 meters. After acclimatizing for a couple of days we started the ascent towards Peak Pobeda, which was our destination. The first phase of acclimatization was over, but we wanted to try a second one, to be better prepared for the 4 kilometers long itinerary, to be covered twice. Since the weather conditions change quickly it is very important, near the summit, to be quick and safe. Unfortunately an ice avalanche swept over Achim Rinortner who fortunately only suffered minor injuries: I personally escaped due to pure luck! These events had shown me, that probably, for me it was best not to continue on this mountain so I decided to proceed with Khan Tengri (7010m) on my own.

I then found another partner, Sergey Emantayev. We climbed up to Camp 4 to acclimatize, just in case I needed enough motivation for Pobeda. After two days of stormy weather we chose to attempt the summit climb even if the conditions weren't great. The first attempt failed at six in the morning. Too cold and stormy. Then at 10 am we tried again, we saw a new opportunity. We therefore ventured off in a group of five people. Unfortunately only Sergey and I reached the summit after four hours. We saw absolutely nothing of the breathtaking view, we took a photo and started the descent. The weather kept deteriorating and was very cold. My glasses were completely iced up and I had to take them off. It was very difficult for me to descend as well as it being very dangerous since I couldn't control the situation any longer. I stopped a moment, concentrated and I said to myself: "You can make it even without help". So?step after step, almost frozen, I managed to get back to the tent. We had to stay at altitude for another 3 days due to the strong snow storm. I was very tired and psychologically worn out when finally we managed to get down to base camp. Due to the various unexpected events with the starting group, I didn't manage to make an attempt on Peak Pobeda. The mountain was too difficult and serious to try and climb it on my own or with a team of unknown climbers, due to the elevated mortality rate on this "giant".

"I was happy to have climbed Khan Tengri in those stormy conditions and to have learned so many things. I increased my awareness of my strength and my ability to focus even throughout adverse conditions to reach my destination. This after all, was my biggest victory!"

CHO OYU

HIMALAYA / CINA

8201 m

EXPEDITION 2010

"After this tragedy I experienced a truly difficult time. I kept asking myself what was more important my dream or my life?I no longer felt that passion for the mountains. I met Walter's wife twice, Manuela. A strong woman, who loves the mountains and she said to me "Do what makes you happy!" without adding anything else."

During the expedition to Lhotse I met an American girl with whom I decided to go on another expedition in 2010 to Cho Oyu. At the last minute she changed her mind and I set off on my own. I joined up with an agency called Asian Trekking and I met a Danish guy: Jacob Urth and since he was on his own too, we decided to form a team. After two acclimatization trips we decided to attempt the summit. Jakob had climbed up to camp 1 before. When I reached him two days later he didn't feel well and had to go back down. Therefore I climbed up once again to camp 2, from where we wanted to attempt the summit. In the evening I spoke to an alpinist from Munich, who had reached the summit the day before and he had been the first to climb the mountain during this season. He told me that for weeks there had been avalanche danger and that the Chinese, who had already fixed ropes, went under an avalanche twice before giving up. The conditions seemed good and therefore I attempted the summit. I had to set off on my own since nobody else had acclimatized well enough. I prepared myself mentally for the summit attempt. I had no idea what was awaiting me, since I had never gone beyond camp 2. I set off at 11 pm, as the Munich alpinist had done. I was quick and at 1.15 I was already at camp 4 at an altitude of 7600 meters. I saw lights in the tents, but I thought it was best to continue and climb up. The wind was getting stronger and I was getting colder.

"At 7750 m I had a very strong feeling of fear. A little voice inside me told me to head back to camp 2, and reluctantly, I listened to it."

After a few rest days I wanted to make another summit attempt on the 6th October. The afternoon before setting off tragic news came my way. Walter Nones had fallen and died. I couldn't believe it?I helped his friends Manuel and Giovanni to organize their things and recover Walter's body instead of going for the summit. That day was very difficult for me, because it was the first time I saw such a disfigured body ?a friend of mine, dead. I cried for hours. We didn't stay long at base camp, because almost everyone had returned home. Even my agency was heading back to Kathmandu after my friend Jakob had reached the summit of Cho Oyu on the 6th October. I therefore looked for another agency to attempt the summit once again. One of the alpinists who stayed on was Santiago Quintero who tried to reach the summit with Jakob, but he had stopped one hundred meters below the summit, since he had no motivation or energy left. After a few rest days we set off, the two of us together. In spite of the terrible weather forecast we wanted to try all the same. We set off at one in the morning, but straight away I realized that the conditions weren't favorable. The wind kept getting stronger? Santiago begged me to go with him, but by now I was drained and I decided to turn back. At base camp I realized fully that my dream of climbing my second 8000 meter peak had vanished for good. On the 10th October 2010 we left base camp.

"After this tragedy I experienced a truly difficult time. I kept asking myself what was more important my dream or my life?I no longer felt that passion for the mountains. I met Walter's wife twice, Manuela. A strong woman, who loves the mountains and she said to me "Do what makes you happy!" without adding anything else."

Those words freed me from the pain and rekindled my passion. All that I experienced, for better or for worse, helped me understand that the mountains are my life. I also learned to accept failures and to work through them better.

Walter, you will always be in our hearts!

LHOTSE

HIMALAYA / NEPAL

8516 m

EXPEDITION 2010

"The weather was amazing and it was beautiful seeing all of Everest's spires. After ten hours of ascent - including the time taken to place the fixed ropes - we reached the summit at 10:23 on the 23 May 2010. I was 23 years old!"

"I always dreamed of climbing an 8000 meter peak at the age of 23. Already at 15 I dreamt of climbing an 8000 meter peak when I grew older, but I never wanted to be part of a commercial expedition."

I was lucky enough to meet Simone Moro who took me to Nepal for the first time in 2009. We reached Island Peak and its 6189 m and I noticed that I felt fine at altitude. On that occasion I would have attempted to climb Cho Oyu if the Chinese hadn't shut the borders right in our faces! I therefore thought that climbing my first 8000 meter peak at the age of 23 was no longer possible and I was very sad. But Simone told me that there was still an opportunity for me: Lhotse. I didn't think too much about it and decided to set off, putting my studies on standby for a year! It was a fundamental adventure for me, because I had the honor of being at base camp with Simone Moro and Denis Urubko. I couldn't wait to climb the icefall, which up to then I had only heard about. It didn't even look as dangerous as everyone made it out to be. After three days of acclimatization up to 7200 m I went back down to the valley with the Benegas Brothers group, to rest a bit. It was good to smell grass and flowers again. I felt as if I were in paradise. After a couple of days we had to climb back up, but in the meantime we got news that a guy from the Russian team had died from an edema. He was a person from the team situated nearby our base camp and I thought that the situation was extremely serious. I kept asking questions. I asked myself if it was really what I wanted? But everyone acted normally and so I set off relaxed towards the summit. Dawa Sherpa set off with me, since Simone said it would be best to have someone with me in case something happened. We set off and reached camp 3 at 7200 meters. Dawa didn't feel very well he had a headache and had lost his voice. We set off at 1 a.m. because we wanted to attempt the summit at camp 3. Unfortunately after three hours of ascent Dawa decided to quit and we had to head back down. He told me that he didn't want to try to reach the summit anymore and therefore asked Pemba Sherpa if he would go with me. He accepted straight away, and in that moment, we both understood that we would have reached the summit. We organized camp 4 to be sure of achieving success.

"The weather was amazing and it was beautiful seeing all of Everest's spires. After ten hours of ascent - including the time taken to place the fixed ropes - we reached the summit at 10:23 on the 23 May 2010. I was 23 years old!"

The descent was very long and tiring, but once I reached base camp I was ecstatic? It had been the most difficult thing I had ever done and I was convinced that that was what I wanted for my future. From that moment onwards I would have done anything to become a professional and continue living my big dream as long as possible.

ISLAND PEAK

ATTEMPT CHO OYU - HIMALAYA / NEPAL

6189 m

EXPEDITION 2009
GALLERY

"I met Simone Moro at my graduation ball and on that occasion he promised he would take me on an expedition with him. In 2009, when we made contact on Facebook, I asked him straight away when he would take me with him, to honor his promise.."

"I met Simone Moro at my graduation ball and on that occasion he promised he would take me on an expedition with him. In 2009, when we made contact on Facebook, I asked him straight away when he would take me with him, to honor his promise.."

I thought that it wasn't so important to start with a 5000 or 6000 m peak. To my great surprise Simone invited me to take part in an expedition called the "Trilogy expedition" even without knowing my abilities in the mountains and without knowing if I was ready for an expedition on Cho Oyu, a giant which was 8201 meters high. Up to then I had only reached 4030 meters. That day suddenly became the best day of my life. I was shaking and elated with joy!

We set off at the beginning of September.
We reached Kathmandu, and after a phase of acclimatization, we set off on the trek along the Khumbu Valley with the final summit of Island Peak. I really did have the best teacher I could have ever hoped for. We spent a night under the summit of Island Peak, but due to a strong headache I didn't sleep a wink. Once back in Chukkhung, at 4700 m, we got the bad news, the Chinese had shut down the borders and we could no longer enter China! No more Cho Oyu! My great dream of climbing an eight thousand meter peak at 23 was suddenly interrupted. I was very sad.

But the experience was nonetheless determining?And even with the disappointment I had already understood that the mountains are the most important thing in my life and that I wanted to continue going on expeditions. I had also understood another thing: that after all altitude didn't make me suffer that much. An excellent sign for the future?