(Mounteverest.net/K2Climb.net) It's not that she plans to dethrone Nepal's king exactly. However, Italian ace climber Nives Meroi, with six 8000er summits already under her belt, may soon be sitting on a pedestal of her own as the female climber with the most 8000+ summits so far.
Of course, much of it depends on another female star's success: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner's (voted #1 Best of Exweb 2005) who boasts eight 8000+ peaks herself. But Nives, who has also bagged Shisha Central's summit, is pushing forward as she gears up for a triple-header this season.
Dhaula and Annapurna for spring...
Nives, along with husband Romano Benet and regular climbing mate Luca Vuerich, is giving Dhaulagiri a second try this spring. Despite launching several summit bids last year, the trio was unable to succeed. In any case, their real goal goes beyond Dhaula: The plan is to acclimatize on Dhaulagiri and then attempt Annapurna before monsoon season.
... and K2 for summer
Meroi and team have some pretty cool summer plans too: K2 from the South side. Nives and team attempted K2 from the Northern, Chinese side in 2004 as part of the huge Italian team celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first ascent. But bad weather held them back. For Nives, it meant a failed second attempt on the mountain. It has already taken two years to launch a new expedition, and she hopes this third time will be the real charm.
Fabio Agostinis and Mario Cedolin are also joining the trio for their triple-header this year. The team wont use supplementary O2, neither high altitude porters on any of the three peaks.
Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Spaniard Edurne Pasabán are currently the female climbers with more 8000ers summited: 8 each. Whilst Edurne reportedly wont go on expedition this spring, Gerlinde is fully active. She will attempt Kangchenjunga and, if she makes it before the monsoon, will go for Lhotse. Kaltenbrunners summer plans are not yet confirmed. For Kangchenjunga, Gerlinde will team up with her boyfriend Ralf Dujmovits (from Germany), Japanese Hirotaka Takeuchi and Finnish Veikka Gustafsson.
Nives Meroi was born in Bergamo in September, 1961. She has summited Nanga Parbat, Cho Oyu, GII, GI, Broad Peak and Lhotse. She also reached Shisha Pangmas Central Summit. Nives has attempted K2 twice (1994 and 2003) through the North side and Everest in 1999. She typically travels light, climbing alpine-style, without oxygen or high-altitude porters.
Romano Benet was born in Tarvisio in April, 1962. He is an Alpine Guide and has summited six 8,000ers, plus Shishas Central summit, and has attempted K2 three times. He has opened many difficult routes in the Alps and a new line on Bhagirathi II (6,450 m), Garwahl Himalaya.
Luca Vuerich was born in Gemona del Friuli in December, 1975. In 2003, the trio summited GI, GII and Broad Peak in 20 days. Only the Swiss Erhard Loretan and Marcel Ruedi (15 days) and Jean-Claude Sonnenwyl (17 days) achieved it in less time.
The trio summited Lhotse and attempted K2s North ridge in 2004. Last year they attempted Dhaulagiri, and had planned to give Annapurna a try right afterwards, but bad conditions got them stuck on Dhaula until their climbing permit expired.
Fabio Agostinis has summited many alpine peaks, as well as Pik Comunism, plus attempted Cho Oyu, GII, and K2 (the latter three times).
Mario Cedolin is an Alpine Mountain Guide. His first extra-European expedition was the attempt on Dhaula with Nives and Romano last year.
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