Simone’s childhood passion for exploration has delivered him to the ice-encrusted summits of the highest mountains on Earth and his career achievements will light up the chronicles of climbing history for years to come. A tenacious master of the winter ascent and a technically gifted specialist in fast and light alpine climbing, he is one of the most respected climbers in the world and a source of inspiration to an entire generation of climbers.
Birthdate: October 27th, 1967
Homebase: Bergamo and USA
Favourite Food: Pasta with pesto
Biggest Dream: To realize the Everest-Lhotse traverse without oxygen or one more winter 8000m peak.
Best advice ever received: To believe in my dream and not in what others think.
What inspires you: Never stop dreaming and attempting what is considered "impossible.”
Words to live by: Humility and happiness!
Ever since he began climbing with his father in the Bergamasque Alps and the Dolomites of Italy at the age of 13, mountains have become his playground. He climbs to a high technical standard - 8b+ on rock and M11 mixed, and an equivalent standard on ice – but it is his success as an expedition climber which has sculpted his legendary reputation.
A veteran of 15 winter expeditions, he is the only alpinist to have completed four 8,000m ascents in winter, on Shisha Pangma (8027m) in 2005, Makalu (8485m) in 2009, Gasherbrum II (8035m) in 2011 and Nanga Parbat (8126m) in 2016. He has also summited Everest (8848m) four times, including the first solo south-north traverse in 2006. In total he has completed more than 50 expeditions, conquering peaks in the Himalayas, Karakorum, Tien Shan, Pamir, Andes, Patagonia and Antarctica.
However, to focus purely on achievement is to ignore what makes Simone such a unique personality. This is a man whose ambitions have always been united with humility and bravery. During his 2001 attempt on the Everest-Lhotse traverse, he endured horrific conditions in darkness to save the life of a British climber. His many awards included a gold medal for civil courage from the Italian president. As the first European helicopter pilot qualified to fly in Nepal, he has also completed numerous rescue operations – including taking part in a long-line rescue at 7,800m on Everest in 2013.
Simone is a man in global demand. He attends over 30 ambassadorial, sponsorship and motivational events each year, has published five books, and has engaged in coaching and charity projects around the world. He believes climbing is a way of testing one’s strengths and weaknesses but also a means of discovering and respecting the people of the world.
The Italian continues to explore new challenges, most recently in his 2016 expedition alongside Tamara Lunger to complete the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat (8,126m). Climbers and fans may stare in awe at his achievements, but Simone knows there is plenty more to come.
- The only alpinist to have reached four 8000m peaks completely in the winter season, after his ascents of Shisha Pangma in 2005, Makalu in 2009, Gasherbrum II in 2011 and Nanga Parbat in 2016.
- His winter ascents of Makalu and Gasherbrum II earned him two nominations for the Piolet D’Or Asia in 2009 and 2011.
- He has summited Everest four times, in 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2010. His 2006 expedition marked the first south-north traverse of Everest.
- In 2013 he was involved in the highest ever helicopter mountain rescue of an injured climber, at 7800m on Everest.
- In 2008 he made the first ever alpine ascent of Beka Brakai Chhok in Pakistan (with Hervé Barmasse).
- In 2004 he completed the first ascent of the North Face of Khali Himal, also known as Baruntse North in Nepal.
- He has twice received the Premio Paolo Consiglio (the mountaineering award of the Italian Alpine Club) in 2005 and 2009, as well as the Premio Dalla Longa in 2008 and 2009.
- His rescue of a British climber on the Everest-Lhotse traverse of 2001 earned him the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Trophy, the Italian Gold Medal for Civic Value and the David A. Sowles Memorial Award from the American Alpine Club.