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The 8091 Himalayan colossus is the next Eight-thousander that Mario, along with Mario Panzeri and Daniele Bernasconi, intends to climb by the northern route.

The three climbers illustrated the details of their expedition on Wednesday 9 March at the Giovanni XXIII Congress Centre in Bergamo. After a refreshment based on local culinary specialities, the evening was introduced by Patrizia Brogli, the vice-president of the humanitarian association EcoHimal, and continued with lively contributions from the Lombardy Regional Councillors Belotti and Raimondi, the Past president of the Bergamo branch of the Italian Alpine Club, Paolo Valoti, and the Mayor of Val Bondione, Duilio Albrici, who presented Mario Merelli with a Atalanta FC supporters’ scarf to wish the expedition luck.

A moving speech was made by Agostino Da Polenza, who praised the three climbers for their part in the Everest project and K2 2004 before recalling Massimo Farina, a successful young climber who was killed recently when the icefall he was ascending in the Aosta Valley collapsed.

Another well-applauded contribution came from Alberto Pirovano, the president of the well-known association Ragni (“the spiders”) of Lecco; he pointed to the strong bonds of friendship linking the three Lombard climbers, and recalled that the expedition Annapurna I will include another “Eight-thousand” veteran, Silvio Gnaro Mondinelli with his friend Cristian Gobbi, on his first Himalayan experience. The expedition is to leave on Friday 18 March, but anyone who missed this introduction will have another opportunity to see it in the centre of Lecco on Thursday 17 March.

2005 will be a very full year for Mario Merelli: after the Annapurna trip, due to last 70 days, and a trip to Broad peak in June, he will be involved in the Shisha Pangma 2005 Expedition, sponsored by DiscoveryAlps.

More news of these adventures in the forthcoming weeks.

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