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.