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with Stefan Nestler

Meroi and Benet complete their fourteen 8000ers

Nives Meroi and Romano Benet

They did it. Nives Meroi and Romano Benet have climbed their 14th eight-thousander. The Italian couple belonged to a group of six climbers who reached the summit of the Annapurna today at 10.30 a.m. local time. This is reported by the Spanish climber Alberto Zerain, who in his own words was also on top, along with his compatriot Jonatan Garcia. Moreover, two Chileans reached the highest point on 8091 meters, says Alberto. Nives Meroi and Romano Benet, both 55 years old, are the first couple to have reached together the summits of all 14 highest mountains in the world – without the use of bottled oxygen and without sherpa support. It was their third attempt on Annapurna after 2006 and 2009.

First Italian woman without breathing mask on Everest

Nives was 19 years old when she met Romano. First he was her climbing partner, then her life partner. They are married for 27 years. In 1998, they scaled Nanga Parbat, it was their first eight-thousander. In 2003, they succeeded in climbing the Karakorum trilogy of Gasherbrum I, II and Broad Peak in just 20 days. In 2007, Meroi was the first Italian woman who climbed Everest without oxygen mask.

Life-threatening disease


But there were also setbacks.  In 2009, Meroi had a good chance to become the first woman on all 14 eight-thousanders. On Kangchenjunga, at 7500 meters, Romano suddenly became increasingly weak. He tried to persuade Nives to climb on alone. But she refused and supported him during the descent. The reason for Benet’s weakness was serious: aplastic anemia. Two bone marrow transplants were necessary to save Romano’s life. They returned to the Himalayas. In 2014, Romano and Nives climbed Kangchenjunga. Then in 2016 Makalu and now Annapurna as the last eight-thousander in their collection. Congratulations, Nives and Romano!


11. May 2017 | 10:20