Hamor, Meroi, and Benet Aim for New Route on Kabru South

Last year on Kangchenjunga, Peter Hamor became fed up with the crowds and the long queues of over-supported clients on 8,000m peaks. Never again, he said. Instead, he has turned to slightly lower peaks that still brim with challenge and exploration.

The Slovak 14×8,000’er summiter is returning to the “wild west” of Nepal. He boarded a plane to Kathmandu today. Although his final destination is not far from Kangchenjunga, his goal this time is Kabru South. As sometimes happens with 7,000’ers, the listed altitude varies depending on the source. Hamor cites it as 7,394m; Wikipedia (and the photo below on Hamor’s website) suggests it’s 7,318m.

The range in a briaght day, with the peaks' names noted.

The Kabru massif. Photo: Peter Hamor’s website


He aims to make the first ascent of the 2,800m-high west face, attempted only once nearly 20 years ago by a Serbian team.

“The magic of the Himalaya is not only their height but their size and the inexhaustible possibilities for…romance, exploration, sports, and adventure,” Hamor wrote on his website.

Kabru South

Kabru South’s west face. Photo: Peter Hamor


Old friends

As usual, Hamor and his team will not use bottled oxygen or Sherpa support. His usual partners, Horia Colibasanu and Marius Gane of Romania, will not join him this time. Instead, two old friends will share the adventure: Nives Meroi and Romano Benet of Italy. Apart from past journeys together, the trio has a similar resume: They all completed the 14×8,000’ers without O2 at nearly the same time. They also have similar attitudes toward mountaineering.

“Yes, we’re all in!” Nives Meroi and Romano Benet told ExplorersWeb from Italy. “We had been observing Kabru South on previous expeditions in the area. This year is just right to give it a try.”

Close shot of Nives and Romano in an open-air place, happily smiling.

Climbing couple Nives Meroi and Romano Benet summited all their 14 8,000’ers together, without supplementary O2. Photo: Facebook


“Discovering new places, in combination with finding and pushing your limits in the company of good friends is the most important and most beautiful thing in mountaineering,” Hamor said.

Kangchenjunga 2012

Meroi, Benet, and Hamor also joined forces on Kangchenjunga back in 2012. At that time, the Slovak summited, but the Italians, who climbed with Horia Colibasanu, missed the right couloir — there were no ropes — and failed to reach the top. They were not the first climbers, not would they be the last, to make that mistake.

Meroi and Benet returned to the Kangchenjunga region in 2019, to attempt Kangbachen (the lowest of Kangchenjunga’s five points).

As for Colibasanu, he summited Kangchenjunga’s main peak without oxygen last spring. Hamor and Gane, who accompanied him, turned around without summiting.

Romano Benet, Peter Hamor, and Horia Colibasanu on a previous climb.

Left to right, Romano Benet, Peter Hamor, and Horia Colibasanu on a previous climb. Photo: Courtesy of Nives Meroi


The Italian couple also shares Hamor’s point of view about the 8,000’ers.

“Recently, coexistence among climbers on the normal routes has become really difficult,” they admitted. “The only option we might consider would be to climb from a different side of the mountains. But then there is a problem with the expedition costs.”

While they referred to no 8,000m peak in particular, the Italians previously told ExplorersWeb that they had considered a new expedition to Manaslu. According to 8000ers.com, both they (and Hamor) didn’t reach the actual highest point. However, the crowding on the mountain discouraged them from trying again.

More from 2012 when Nives Meroi (center), Peter Hamor (right) and Horia Colibasanu met on Kangchenjunga.

More from 2012 when Nives Meroi (center), Peter Hamor (right) and Horia Colibasanu met on Kangchenjunga. Photo: Romano Benet


While Kabru South’s west face remains unclimbed, a 1994 Indian team climbed Kabru North, Kabru Main, and Kabru South on consecutive days, according to The Himalayan Database.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.