She is one of the top mountaineers in the world. In her career, she has climbed all the highest mountains in the world (more than 8,000 meters above sea level, known as “eight-thousanders”), all without oxygen or porters at high altitude.
She started climbing mountains at about 15 years old, and at about 17 she began to climb rock climbing routes. At 19 years old she met Romano, who became her regular climbing companion and later her life partner.
In their career they have climbed some of the most difficult routes in the Alps, becoming key figures in events such as the first winter ascent of the north wall of Piccolo Mangart di Coritenza and the ascent of Cengia degli Dei, on the Jof Fuart.
Over time, their love of mountains has inspired them to explore increasingly far locations, where the air is rare and, as Nives says, “each step becomes an effort of will”.
Their mountaineering is light and clean – they climb without oxygen tanks, climbing sherpas or prearranged camps.
The Andes, the Himalayas, and Karakorum. They have been very successful climbers, with achievements such as the ascent of three mountains of more than eight thousand metres above sea level in just twenty days in 2003 (Gasherbrum II, Gasherbrum I and Broad Peak). They were part of only the second roped party to achieve this, and Nives herself was the first woman to reach this goal. There was also their “K in 2”, when they completed the ascent and descent in just five days, completely alone. And then there was Everest, the highest mountain in the world, which they climbed without oxygen or climbing sherpas. Then there was Lhotze, and Kangchenjunga…until the summit of Makalu, on 12 May 2016, and then to the Annapurna’s on 11 May 2017.
Nives and Romano have climbed the fourteen “eight-thousander” mountains, becoming the first roped party in the world to climb all the “eight-thousanders”, without oxygen or climbing sherpas, step by step as the couple climb together towards the summit. This is the novelty of their effort, Nives and Romano’s formula: a new yet traditional way of climbing, together. These are the stories that Nives likes to tell.
Her expertise as mountaineer inspired Erri De Luca’s book Sulla traccia di Nives (2005), whether she published several books such as Non ti farò aspettare. Tre volte sul Kangchendzonga, la storia di noi due raccontata da me (Rizzoli, 2015), Il volo del corvo timido. L’Annapurna e una scalata d’altri tempi (Rizzoli, 2020) and Montagne. I giganti della terra (Skira, 2021)