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with Stefan Nestler

Simone Moro turns 50: “I’m still alive”

Simone Moro

It does not hurt more than usual. I can say that from my own experience. It is rather a mental challenge to realize that the first 50 years are over and the second half of life has definitely begun. Time to take stock. This Friday, Simone Moro celebrates his 50th birthday. The Italian can already be more than satisfied with his career as a high-altitude climber. No one else besides Simone has four winter first ascents of eight-thousanders on his account.

In 2005, Moro summited along with the Polish climber Piotr Morawski the 8027-meter-high Shishapangma for the first time in the cold season. Three other first winter ascents followed: In 2009 with the native Kazakh Denis Urubko on Makalu (8,485 m), in 2011 with Urubko and the American Cory Richards on Gasherbrum II (8,034 m) and in 2016 with the Spaniard Alex Txikon and the Pakistani Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” on Nanga Parbat (8,125 m). Simone did all these eight-thousander climbs without bottled oxygen. Last spring, Moro and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger had planned to traverse the four summits of the Kangchenjunga massif, but had to turn back without having reached a single summit. Two attempts ended at 7,200 meters, because Simone suffered from stomach ache. Moro is married to the South Tyrolean climber Barbara Zwerger and has a 19-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son. Simone has also earned his merits as a rescue helicopter pilot in the Himalayas.

Simone, half a century in your legs, how does that feel?

Well I’m still alive, with all toes and fingers and with motivation. My body weight is the same as when I was 25, same volume of training. So I feel happy and lucky.

Simone with Muhammad Ali (l.) on top of Nanga Parbat

You succeeded first winter ascents on the eight-thousanders Shishapangma, Makalu, Gasherbrum II and Nanga Parbat. Is there any of these climbs which is particularly important to you and why?

With Shisha Pangma I reopened the winter games on the 8000ers after 17 years of “silence”. Makalu came after 39 years of winter attempts and we were just two members in super light style. Gasherbrum II was the first ever winter ascent of an eight-thousander in the entire Karakoram. And on Nanga Parbat I became the first man who succeeded first winter ascents on four different 8000ers. So how can I choose?

What is for you the fascination of climbing the highest mountains on earth in winter?

Solitude, wilderness, adventure and exploration feeling, very low possibility to succeed, no discount on difficulties, wind, rare good weather windows. A winter expedition is NOT just the cold version of a summer expedition!

Last spring on Kangchenjunga, you suffered from health problems. Do we need to worry?

Not at all. I made just very stupid mistakes. I drank simply coke, sprite and other shit in BC, and on the mountains I drank not enough. Don’t worry, I feel and I’m strong and healthy like before at the moment.

Strong team: Moro with Tamara Lunger (l.)

Recently you have been regularly en route with the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger. Do you see yourself as her mentor?

Yes, I was and I had been. Now Tamara is 31 and she learned a lot and is absolutely independent. But we work so well together and it is a rare condition to find, so (it’s) better to keep our team spirit as our extra power.

Where will your next expedition take you?

Unfortunately I can’t declare yet where I will go. I can tell you that it will be this coming winter and will be probably the coldest climb I ever attempted.

If you had three wishes for the second half of life, which would it be?

Health, health and health. All the rest I will provide myself. I had and I have everything and only GOD can give me health even though I work a lot in protect to as much as I can with a healthy life…


26. October 2017 | 11:25