23 December 1977|
San Quirico, Valdagno, Italy
|Died||18 July 2009
Broad Peak, Pakistan-China
|Other names||El Grio|
The Broad Peak incident
Cristina Castagna and Giampaolo Casarotto planned to climb Broad Peak and Gasherbrum I in their 2009 expedition.
Before leaving home, in a prophetic note later found by relatives, Castagna asked to be left on the mountains in case of severe accident.
The Broad Peak attempt came first. The same day Fabrizio Zangrilli, Benedikt Böhm and Sebastian Haag from Dynafit Gore-Tex-Team were climbing the mountain and spent a few stops with the Italian duo. On 18 July at 3 pm local time, Castagna and Casarotto managed to reach the summit safely, despite severe weather conditions that had slowed the two climbers for nearly ten hours.
During the descent, at 7,800 metres (25,600 ft), Castagna slipped down, gaining momentum and stopping several metres below in a crevasse. Giampaolo Casarotto eventually managed to reach and try to rescue her, to no avail.
The same day, more than 30 people attempted to reach the summit and no summit was initially confirmed[clarification needed]. Her body rests at 7,800 metres (25,600 ft), making recovery difficult for helicopters. The family, following her last will, decided to not attempt a recovery, thus avoiding risking other mountaineers' and porters' lives.
Castagna was remembered during an Italian Senate meeting by Lega Nord senators Paolo Franco and Gianvittore Vaccari. A month after Castagna's death, following an Italian expedition in Hindu Kush, Tarcisio Bellò solo-climbed an unnamed peak and named it after her.
Cristina was born near San Quirico di Valdagno, near Vicenza. Youngest of four children, during her childhood, she began discovering mountains with her father and her uncle. After a technical degree she became an nurse in the ER hospital in Vicenza, a job she kept for all her life.
"El Grio", the dreamcatcher cricket
During childhood Cristina was a lively girl, always in motion, so her father gave her the nickname "Grio" (Cricket). She liked the nickname so much she kept it in her adult life ("El Grio") often in conjunction with "acchiappasogni" (dreamcatcher). She was also an avid reader and writer. Following the Makalu feat, she began to appear on Italian national news and newspapers. Nevertheless she kept working as a nurse, climbing in her spare time, and initially at her own expense. Although she had several sponsors, (notably she was in Salewa AlpineXtrem team) she never became fully a professional climber by status. She also cooperated as alpini nurse and was enrolled to the National Alpini Association and to CAI.
Cristina Castagna was the first Italian woman to climb Makalu, Nepal, and at the time of her death, remained the youngest Italian woman to climb an eight-thousander (Shishapangma, Tibet) at 27 years. In 2003, during an expedition headed by Tarcisio Bellò along with Mario Vielmo, she met Giampaolo Casarotto, who would later be her climbing partner for many expeditions. The Everest attempt ended at 7,800 metres (25,600 ft)
In 2004 she climbed again with Vielmo, this time to the summit of Shishapangma, along with Michele Fait. In 2005 she climbed Gasherbrum II, alongside Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner In 2006 she attempted to climb Lhotse, again with Giampaolo Casarotto and Silvio "Gnaro" Mondinelli, Marco Confortola and Giampaolo Corona. However, cold weather and frostbite drove her back at 8,120 metres (26,640 ft). In 2008 came the successful Makalu attempt, with Casarotto. At 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) she was struck by the cold but met Waldemar Niclevicz and Irivan Burda who helped her. On the 11th of May she became the first Italian woman to reach the summit of Makalu, but suffered seriously frostbitten feet that would leave her in hospital for weeks.
In her last trip, she planned to climb both Broad Peak and Gasherbrum I along with Giampaolo Casarotto, but died during the descent after reaching the summit of Broad Peak. The Italian press agency Ansa mentioned her death in the prominent events of 2009 for Italy
- Aconcagua, Argentina, 2003
- Shishapangma, Tibet, 2004, at 27 the youngest Italian woman to successfully climb eight thousander
- Gasherbrum II, Karakoram, Himalaya, 2005
- Lhotse, Nepal, 2006 (did not reach summit)
- Dhaulagiri, Nepal, 2007
- Makalu, Nepal-Tibet, 2008, first Italian woman to climb Makalu
- Broad Peak, Pakistan-China, 2009 (died during descent) 
In 1999 Cristina served as a nurse in Valona during Italian government humanitarian mission "Missione Arcobaleno" in Albania. An Eye hospital service, specialized in early Cataract treatment, has since been created in Alepe, Ivory Coast to remember Castagna
Places and routes
- Cristina Castagna peak, 5.311 metres (17.42 ft) Hindu Kush, first ascent by Tarcisio Bellò, August 10, 2009
- Cristina Castagna eye service, Alepè, Ivory Coast, an eye hospital.
- Cristina Castagna mountaneering Center, Gothulti, Pakistan, in progress.
- Via Fragile Esistenza (route in memory of Cristina), Campanile di Scagina, Piccole Dolomiti, Veneto, Italy. By Mario Brighente, Simone Gianesini, Bottegal, Gino Dal Cero,2009
- Massimo Fontana, Cristina Castagna, L'acchiappasogni,CAI Valdagno e CAI Recoaro Terme
- Giampaolo Casarotto accident report back in Italy
- Fabrizio Zangrili K2, Broad Peak & Latok II Rescue : Summer 2009 Wrap Up
- Zwei alpine Grenzgänger: Benedikt Böhm and Sebastian Haag on Broad Peak (in German)
- Wettlauf mit dem Tod: Benedikt Böhm and Sebastian Haag (in German)
- Broad Peak report
- Muore Cristina Castagna
- Cristina confirmed lost on Broad Peek
- Giampaolo Casarotto on Cristina's death
- Broad, la Castagna precipita dopo la cima
- Rispetto del suo volere Rimarrà sempre lassù
- MONTANA:LEGO RICORDA IN SENATO SCALATA K2 E CRISTINA CASTAGNA
- Italian Senate meeting n.249 abstract: K2 and Castagna
- Commemorazione Cristina Castagna from Paolo Franco Site
- Pakistan, una cima per la Castagna
- Castagna Biography on Progetto Alepe
- El Grio riposa sul Karakorum Valdagno piange Cristina
- Vicenza. Precipita in un crepaccio sul K3, è morta "el grio" Cristina Castagna
- Non si conquista la vetta, ma se stessi
- Cristina's death on ilsole24ore national newspaper
- Premio Calastoria (in memoriam)
- First italian woman on Makalu
- Italian state interview from Corriere della Sera website
- Salewa note about Cristina Castagna death
- Cristina Castagna, la piccola vicentina che guarda il mondo dall'alto
- Era iscritta alla Sezione di Valdagno, Cristina Castagna morta sul Karakorum.
- Cai Valdagno
- Va por ti, Iñaki, por Miss Go y por Cristina: Jorge Egocheaga remembers Cristina (in Spanish)
- K2, vetta a sorpresa per Egocheaga: Jorge Egocheaga on Cristina durin his attempt to K2 summit
- Egocheaga, feliz en la montaña y con sus gentes (in Spanish)
- Jorge Egocheaga ALPINISTA Y MEDICO : "La muerte de un ser querido es más dura que la propia muerte"
- Lhotse attempt with Confortola, Mondinelli, Casarotto
- Ansa italian Photostory for 2009
- Italian Alpine Club page on Cristina
- Cristina Castagna Eye hospital service
- Climbing Center Cristina Castagna
- Climbing Center Cristina castagna
- Camminate sui monti nel nome di Castagna
- Via Fragile Esistenza, topos by Muroduro
- Via Fragile Esistenza, topos by Rampegoni
- Cristina Castagna official page
- the ill-fated summit attempt
- Cristina's loss on Italian media and Reinhold Messner's view on the accident
- Veneti in the world: Amor di montagna, quando l'alpinismo diventa poesia (from Regione Veneto regional pages)
- ANA website (National Alpini Association)
- La nueva espana interviews Rosa Fernández, on Broad Peek at the moment of the accident
- La Stampa, Alberto Papuzzi: the last love words
- Basti, Beni und Cristina Castagna auf dem Vorgipfel des Broad Peak (in german)
- Sportivissimo, Luigi Centorno on Cristina Castagna
- Bepi Magrin on Cristina Castagna