Nives Meroi and Romano Benet WOP Award 2019
Alpinists Nives Meroi and Romano Benet will be honoured with the WOP award during the 12th edition of the BBK Mendi Film Bilbao Bizkaia.
The couple has climbed all fourteen eight-thousanders without porters or oxygen bottles.
Their first expedition to an eight-thousander happened 25 years ago, and they finished conquering them all in 2017. During all these years, they were forced to stop at some point, which proves the great human value of this roped team.
Back in 2009, the couple was climbing Kanchenjunga, which was supposed to be their 12th eight-thousander. Near the top, Romano started feeling unwell. Nives was competing against Edurne Pasaban and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner in order to become the first woman to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. However, she did not think it twice: she turned around, as she was unable to leave Romano alone, who would otherwise have had to wait for her to return from the summit. After a very complicated descent, Romano was diagnosed with a very serious illness. Therefore, Nives decided she would pause their high-mountain challenge until her husband felt better. After two bone marrow transplants, Romano was fully recovered and back in the Himalayas. Together, as always, they summited the Crown of Himalaya in 2017, as they got to the top of Annapurna.
The award granted by the WOP-The Walk On Project Foundation and Mendi Film rewards the defence and transmission of mountaineering values.
In previous editions, the following have been awarded:
- Juanjo San Sebastian (2018)
- Peter Habeler (2017)
- Sir Chris Bonington (2016)
- Josep Manuel Anglada (2015)
- Jeremy Collins Drawn film (2014)