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He began climbing at the age of 13 in the mountains close to home and later moved to the Dolomites. In 1985 he began to focus on free climbing and in 1987 he climbed his first 8a and, in 1989, he climbed about thirty routes up to 8b +. In 1990 he enrolled in the military service, attending the 138th AUC course at the Alpine Military School of Aosta. After completing the six-month course as a student, he spent the remaining period of service with the rank of second lieutenant of the Alpini.
At the end of the fifteen months of military service he returned to climbing in the role of National coach from 1992 to 1996.
In 1992 he began his Himalayan mountaineering experience, which was later to become predominant in his mountaineering activity. He is the only climber in history to have reached four peaks of 8,000 meters in full winter season (starting after 21st December): the Shisha Pangma (8,027 m), Makalu (8463m), Nanga Parbat (8126m) and Gasherbrum II (8,035 m). He has reached to summit of 8 of the fourteen 8,000 m peaks and has climbed Mount Everest four times (8,848 m). He is a helicopter pilot specializing in helicopter rescue in the Himalayas. In 2018 he made the first ascent of Pik Pobeda (3003), the coldest mountain in the coldest place on earth, and in 2019 he made a winter attempt to Manaslu.
In 2012, he made a long-line recovery on Tengkangpoche at over 6,400 m. He also enjoys parachuting and Wingsuit Skydiving. He received the "Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Trophy" from UNESCO, the "David A. Sowles Award" from the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Gold Medal for Civil Merit from the President of the Republic for an extreme solo rescue operation on the west face of Lhotse (8516 m) in Nepal, in the dark, with a high risk of avalanches and without oxygen. He was also awarded "Best of The Explorersweb" for the best climbing expedition and the "Golden Piton" from the American magazine “Climbing” for his ascent of Gasherbrum II. He is the author of nine books. The last book is "Siberia -71" (2018). His books have been translated into English, German, Spanish and Polish.
1) Who is your favorite climbing partner and why?
Anatoli Boukreev was the best partner of my life, he taught me so many things and we have the same deep passion for Adventure and exploration. Now with Tamara Lunger I found my second best partner. Same values, passion, dreams.
2) Which is the first La Sportiva shoes/boot you used?
Mariacher for climbing, competition and training when I started as a sportclimber. The Nepal Top when I decided to start with alpinism.
3) What is your favorite climbing/mountaineering book?
"Settimo grado" di Messner e "Un posto in cielo" di Boukreev
4) What is the mountain you would like to see at least one time in your life?
I have seen nearly all the Mountain I desired to, but I would like to see the mountains in Greenland.
5) Do you take part to a charity or cultural project?
Yes, I built a school for 396 children in Nepal, a small Hospital in Pakistan and an alpinism school in Pakistan. I support some other charity projects.
6) What's in the air?
Training hard for my upcoming 8000 winter expedition 2019/2020.
I am in the middle of writing a book on my less known adventures expeditions in my last 30 years.
- 1980 Start Sport Climbing
- 1992 Start of the Himalayan career
- 2001 Gave up a traverse Everest-Lothse near the top to rescue an another alpinist. Awarded with the Gold Medal for Civil Merit from the Italian President of the Republic for this operation.
- 2005 First winter ascent on Shisha Pangma
- 2008 First ascent of Beka Brakai Chhok (6940m) in Pakistan
- 2009 First winter ascent on Makalu and he become a helicopter pilot
- 2011 First winter ascent on G2
- 2016 First winter ascent on Nanga Parbat