A couple of years ago there was big showdown between a number of very talented female mountaineers over who was going to become the first to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks. The race boiled down to Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Edurne Pasaban and Nives Meroi (two Korean climbers not withstanding). In the spring of 2009 the ladies were all in the Himalaya and pursuing their own goals. Nives was climbing on Kangchenjunga (8586m/28,169ft) with her husband Romano Benet when he suddenly took ill and had to be rushed off the mountain. It would be two years before they started climbing again, and in that time Edurne and Gerlinde completed their quests. But this spring Nives and Romano have returned to the Himalaya – on Kangchenjunga no less – where they hope to finish what they started.
Yesterday ExWeb posted a great interview with Nives that details their comeback. In that interview she talks about Romano taking ill, and nearly losing his life, their long struggle to return to climbing and where they stand now. Benet has fully recovered at last and after a tune-up climb on Mera Peak (6476m/21,247ft) last fall they are ready to head to the High Himalaya once again. They thought that it was only fitting that they return to Kangchenjunga and continue where they left off three years ago.
As is usual with Nives and Romano, they are climbing without Sherpa support or supplemental oxygen. They also haven’t adopted any new technologies and won’t be sending dispatches or blog posts back from their climb. The pair prefer to climb in pure alpine fashion and that hasn’t changed since they’ve been away.
It truly is a great story and I’m glad to see that Romano has not only recovered but that he and Nives have returned to mountaineering. I wish them lots of luck on their current expedition.
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