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Biography Silvia Metzeltin Buscaini

Born in 1938 in Lugano, Switzerland, Silvia Metzeltin Buscaini studied geology at the University of Milan after attending a professional school and passing the Swiss A-level examinations. Having completed her studies in 1972 she worked for ten years as an assistant at the Geology Institute of the University of Milan. Desiring to maintain her freedom, she decided not to pursue a career in geology and became a freelance journalist for Radio Svizzera Italiana's cultural programme, «Rete Due».

Silvia Metzeltin began her career as a mountaineer in the Ticino at the age of fourteen. Her casual enjoyment of mountaineering, particularly climbing, ultimately became a passion, which, after very difficult ice and rock climbs in the mountains of the world, culminated in the exploration of Patagonia in southern South America. Thus, mountaineering has enabled her «to lead an independent life and to quench her thirst for adventure». Her spouse, Gino Buscaini, shares this passion.

Silvia Metzeltin's impressive list of expeditions encompasses both north faces and extremely difficult routes throughout the Alpine Arc. She has made numerous firsts and has climbed peaks, ridges and faces in Turkey, Iran, the Himalaya (Zanskar and Garhwal), Japan, South Korea, Africa (Hoggar and Tamgak-Air), in North America (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada and Utah), as well as in the Andes and in Patagonia. The latter mountain area became the object of her deep affection; she has participated in a total of 16 expeditions to this southernmost region of the Andes.

Silvia Metzeltin is author or co-author of many documentary films, publications and books, including her autobiography Alpinismo a tempo pieno, two books on the Dolomites, Le Dolomiti occidentali, le cento più belle ascensioni and Dolomiti, il grande libro delle vie normali, and, in addition, the book Patagonia, terra magica per alpinisti e viaggiatori, which has also appeared in German and French. In the latter book, Silvia Metzeltin and her husband systematically document the history and geography of Patagonia, its animal and plant worlds as well as the development of local mountain climbing. The book arose «out of their love for land and people, their own experience and their fascination with this wide lonely wilderness». It invites the reader «both to become acquainted with the area and to dream of new adventures».

Silvia Metzeltin became engaged early on for women's emancipation in Alpinism. Today, she is still an ardent advocate of freedom in mountaineering and is deeply committed to ethical principles, such as honesty both to oneself and others. She has defended her views at numerous round table discussions at the Città di Trento International Film Festival. She is a member of the Club Alpino Accademico Italiano, the Austrian Alpine Club, the Groupe de Haute Montagne, the Alpine Club and the Rendez-vous Hautes Montagnes. She has provided a decisive impulse to the worldwide documentary activity of the UIAA's Extra-European Expedition Committee.

In recognition of her Alpine achievements, Silvia Metzeltin Buscaini received the Medal of Merit of the Fédération Française de la Montagne in 1986 and has now been distinguished with the 1996 King Albert Medal of Merit.