Who is Simone Moro?

Italian mountaineer Simone Moro

Our Festival Director, Mark Sedon says it’s a real coup to have Italian mountaineer Simone Moro speaking at this year’s events in Wānaka and Queenstown. However, he suggests “wearing an extra puffy jacket when you come along to hear Simone speak as his stories will be chilling and harrowing.”

Festival fans may remember the 2011 film ‘Cold’ which featured Moro alongside American climber Corey Richards and Russian-Polish climber Denis Urubko as they made the first winter ascent of one of Pakistan’s 8,000 metre peaks. Simone has gone on to make three more winter ascents on eight-thousand metre peaks – a feat that no other climber has been able to match.

“He’s a mountaineering legend,” says Mark. “It’s hard enough climbing at 8000 metres, but you have to be a bit crazy to even imagine climbing something like that in winter.”

Simone’s achievements within high-altitude mountaineering are matched only by his feats of bravery.   In 2001, he abandoned his own attempt of the Everest-Lhotse Traverse, to save English climber, Tom Moores who was stuck on the west face of Lhotse. He endured horrific conditions in darkness, on his own with an extremely high risk of avalanche and without supplementary oxygen.

Simone was also the first European helicopter pilot qualified to fly in Nepal, and has completed numerous rescue operations from the air – including taking part in the highest long-line rescue at 7,800m on Everest in 2013.

Simone Moro will be speaking in Wānaka on Saturday 22 June and Queenstown Thursday 27 June. He is one of 17 speakers at this year’s festival, joined by Frederique Olivier, an accomplished field guide, naturalist, photographer, and documentary filmmaker who has dedicated much of her career to exploring the polar regions; white water kayaker Shannon Mast; well-known local climber Guy Cotter; and award-winning authors Colin Monteath, Victoria Bruce and Craig Potton, amongst others.  Find the full speaker lineup here. 

New Zealand’s talented filmmakers will also be on hand at the festival to introduce their films, with 64 of the films on the programme Kiwi-made, and several making their world premieres.  

Get a taste of the action with the official festival trailer here

The festival is aimed at adventure lovers of all ages and stages, from thrill-seekers to those who prefer a gently stroll, and even those who prefer simply to watch it all on screen, with the Online Festival running 1 – 31 July.