The heroic exploits of Italian mountaineer Danilo Callegari

Dream Wanderlust | Jan 10 , 2019


Italian mountaineer Danilo Callegari (38) had taken up an ambitious project called "Antarctica Extreme". His solo attempt to the South Pole, followed by a parachute launch and lastly the ascent of Mt. Vinson (4892m), is a part of his project, "Seven Summits Solo Project". A project that consists of climbing the seven highest peaks of each continent in alpine style.

On reaching Punta Arenas, Chile on 25th October, 2018, a plane took him from the American base in Antarctica to Hercules Inlet - a large, narrow, ice-filled inlet between the ocean and the continent on 2nd November, 2018. Danilo embarked upon his adventure of reaching the Geographic South Pole on 3rd November, 2018 from Hercules Inlet. Having encountered life-threatening climate scenes such as violent blizzards, temperatures around -50°C etc, he voyaged a journey lengthening 1300kms. A journey that made him pull a sled weighing approximately 160kgs in total, with everything that he needed for survival. Yet, on 7th December, 2018, having arrived almost halfway, Danilo had to abandon his journey to the South Pole due to lack of food and shortage of time. "The last thirteen long days of this almost one and a half month crossing made my life impossible. Pulling a sled in these conditions, often without seeing beyond a handful of meters making me consume an exaggerated number of energies, then of food, drastically slowing down my march, forced me to make the most logical decision to guarantee me the possibility to continue the adventure climbing the highest mountain in Antarctica, the fourth of my 7 Summits and the fulcrum of the entire project. The risk of getting too late to the Pole or not to get there even in the times calculated by me, would have, every day more, raised the risk of not having the opportunity to attempt the ascent to the Vinson," Danilo wrote in his personal blog.

Danilo Callegari

Danilo Callegari with his Sled

Having returned to the American base in Antarctica, on 19th December, 2018, his next attempt was to jump with a parachute from 5000m altitude, which was blocked because of the retainment of pre-experienced weather conditions.

Therefore, postponing the jump, he left the American base in Antarctica on 27th December, 2018 to climb Mt. Vinson and scaled the highest peak of Antarctica on 1st January, 2019; conquering the fourth of his seven Summits.

Two days later, after his return again to the American base in Antarctica, he successfully made a jump from a parachute from 5000m altitude on 8th January, 2019.

Danilo Callegari

Danilo Callegari on the summit of Mt. Vinson

Danilo Callegari

Danilo Callegari while jumping from 5000m altitude

Timeline of the expedition:

25th Oct: Reached Punta Arenas, Chile.
2nd Nov: Reached Hercules Inlet from the American base in Antarctica by plane.
3rd Nov: Journey from Hercules Inlet to the Geographic South Pole began. 
5th Nov: Reached the 80th parallel south, a circle of latitude that is 80 degrees south of the Earth's equatorial plane.
16th Nov: Crossed 81st South.
7th Dec: Abandoned the journey to reach the Geographic South Pole.
10th Dec: Returned to the American base in Antarctica.
19th Dec: Attempted parachute jump from 5000m, but failed due to harsh weather.
27th Dec: Left the American base in Antarctica for Mt. Vinson Base Camp.
1st Jan: Summited Mt. Vinson.
3rd Jan: Returned to the American base in Antarctica again.
8th Jan: Successfully made a jump in a parachute from 5000m altitude.

The other most thrilling Adventures of Danilo, which consists of climbing, skiing, cycling, canoeing, swimming and paragliding:

Manaslu 2016: Solo ascent in alpine style of the 8th highest mountain on earth.
Africa Extreme 2015: 50km of continuous swimming, 1150km of run and peak of Kilimanjaro (5895m), the highest mountain in Africa.
Shishapangma 2013: Solo ascent in alpine style, 4500km of cycling through India.
Magellano Project: 700km and 2 months in Kayak along the Strait of Magellan.
Europe Extreme 2012: Ascent of the Elbrus (5642m), the highest mountain in Europe and 4000km on bike on his way back home.
South America Extreme 2011: 4500km of bike, 280km of canoe and summit of Aconcagua (6960m), the highest mountain in South America.

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