(MountEverest.net) Italian Fausto de Stefani, whose claims to have summited all 14 8,000ers was rejected by staticians after an unclear climb on Lhotse back in 1997, is back to clean up his resume and properly enter the list of high altitude masters. Fausto is climbing with younger Roberto Manni, while with long-time friend Sergio Martini is accompanying them for most of the ascent but then heading for Everest.
1997: Foot-prints in a blizzard
Fausto and Sergio climbed Lhotse together in 1997 they stated to believe they reached the highest point, but a strong blizzard during the summit day prevented them from getting good images or checking out reference points. Soon afterwards, another climber on the spot declared to have seen the Italians foot-prints stopping before the summit, and thus Sergio and Faustos claims were not accepted.
Sergio reacted by launching a further Lhotse expedition in 2000. This time Martini provided with summit proof enough, and was thus included as the 7th person to summit the 14 great ones.
Back to shut up some mouths?
Fausto never minded statistics he always claimed to have reached the summit, but didnt took much time or effort to fight back the opinion of those denying it. Hesitant about talking to media and the climbing show-bizz, he got involved in several humanitarian projects in Nepal and his own expeditions. His last confirmed summit was that of Kangchenjunga, achieved in 1998. Until now.
De Stefani may have changed his mind about stats, he may have got tired of being asked the same question about his achievements time after time. He may just want to take another look at Lhotse. Whatever the reason, he is back to the Khumbu giants, ready to climb the 8516 meters-tall peak which rises at the side of Everest.
Should Fausto made it, he would become the 13th climber to be included in the lst of 14x8000ers summiteers, ahead of the strongest candidate at the moment: Fellow Italian Silvio Mondinelli, who will climb his last pending mountain, Broad Peak, this summer.
Sergio and the "Fellowship of the Rope"
Fausto, Sergio and Roberto are sharing permit with SummitClimb Lhotse team. Recently, the Italian expedition suffered a severe set-back when Dawa, one of their climbing Sherpas, fell to death in a crevasse between C2 and C3.
"Sergio Martini was extremely upset by what happened and was wonderful in his efforts to help bring the body down to BC, and see it loaded onto the helicopter back to Kathmandu," SummitClimb team member Philip Ling, from Australia, told ExplorersWeb. "In Sergio's case the 'Fellowship of the Rope' is still very much alive. He is a true gentleman."
In spite of Dawa's death, the expedition decided to go on with the ascent. SummitClimb team has lent the Italians one of their climbing Sherpas to work with them.
Benegas-Mazur together on Lhotse
As for Ling's SummitClimb team, led by Dan Mazur, there are some other interesting additions. Among them is Willie Benegas, currently guiding on Everest for Mountain Madness, but apparently eyeing Lhotse as well. Other members (besides those mentioned) are: Americans James Scott Lailaw, Daniel Kim, and Joseph Fitzpatric; Briton Bruce Manning; Romanian Florin Grama, and South Koreans Kim Suk Woo and Lee Han Koo.
Cristinas plans: No O2 Everest+Lhotse
Prior to SummitClimb confirmation, the news was broken by Italian lady climber Cristina Piolini, currently working with the Italian research team at Ev-KÂ˛-Cnr (the glass pyramid located hald a day walking from Everests BC), and with some ambitious climbing plans of her own: She hopes to attempt Everest without supplementary O2, and then give Lhotse a try as well, as she told Montagna.tv. Cristina attempted Lhotse already last year, as member in a team led by Silvio mondinelli.
Sergio Martini was born on July 29, 1949 in Trento, Italy. He depicts himself as a non-professional climber, mostly because he buys his own gear and takes the cost of his expeditions, with no support from any sponsor. He opened some mayor routes in Dolomites and climbed in Patagonia before devoting to Himalayan climbing.
Fausto de Stefani was born in 1952 in Mantova region, Italy. His first 8,000+ meter summit was K2s, achieved in 983 via its north side. Claiming valid his climb on Lhotse in 1993, h stated to have completed the 14x8,000ers list in 1998, by summiting Kangchenjunga.
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