VIKI GROŠELJ, born on June 3, 1952, is a top mountaineer with a long record of climbing in the Himalayas, a mountain rescuer and a mountain guide. He is a physical educator by profession.
During his career as an alpinist, he has participated in more than thirty expeditions to mountain ranges outside Europe, in addition to making numerous ascents to mountains in Slovenia and abroad. In the Himalayas, he has carried out eleven ascents to the summits of ten out of the fourteen eight-thousanders.
- October 10, 1975 MAKALU (8,463 metres), the South Face, by a new route
- May 4, 1984 MANASLU (8,163 metres), the South Face, a repeat of Messner’s route, climbing alpine-style above 4,900 metres
- July 28, 1986 BROAD PEAK (8,047 metres), by the classic route
- August 4, 1986 GASHERBRUM II (8,035 metres), by the classic route, alpine-style
- November 5, 1988 CHO OYU (8,201 metres), the North Face, by a new route
- April 30, 1989 LHOTSE (8,516 metres), by the classic route
- May 10, 1989 MOUNT EVEREST (8,848 metres), by the classic route
- October 20, 1989 SHISHAPANGMA (8,046), the South Face, via a partially new route
- May 1, 1991 KANGCHENJUNGA (8,586 metres), by the classic route
- June 13, 1993 K2 (8,611 metres), by the classic route
- October 10, 2001 CHO OYU (8,201 metres), by the classic route; the first Slovenian ski descent from the summit and the highest Slovenian eight-thousander from which such a descent has been made without the use of supplemental oxygen.
All the mountains summited by Grošelj, with the exception of Makalu, Everest and Kangchenjunga, were climbed without supplemental oxygen. While eight-thousander ascents lie at the core of his work as an alpinist, Grošelj also became the first Slovenian to reach the highest summits of all the continents.
- EUROPE: Mount Blanc (4,807 metres), August 7, 1974 Elbrus (5,642 metres), May 14, 1990, ski descent
- AFRICA: Kilimanjaro (5,895 metres), August 9, 1985, by a new route
- SOUTH AMERICA: Aconcagua (6,959 metres), February 11, 1986
- NORTH AMERICA: McKinley (6,194 metres), May 10, 1987, ski descent
- AUSTRALIA: Kosciusko (2,226 metres), January 15, 1988
- ASIA: Mount Everest (8,848 metres), May 10, 1989
- ANTARCTICA: Vinson (4,893 metres), January 5, 1997, ski descent
In July 2002, he carried out a ski descent from 7,134-metre Lenin Peak, thus bringing to completion his third alpinist project Skiing from 0 to 8,000 Metres, which he had been working on for 30 years, in addition to two other undertakings: 8,000 + and The Continents’ Highest Summits.
Grošelj is the author of fourteen and a co-author of more than twenty books, including Seven Summits, published by the British publishing house Mitchell Beazley in 2000 and Die Grossen Wände, published by the German publishing house BLW that same year, both of which further enhanced the reputation of Slovenian alpinism and its achievements throughout the world. He has published numerous articles in Slovenian and foreign magazines and newspapers.
He was twice a member of the sports team awarded the Bloudek Award, the most prestigious Slovenian sports award (in 1975 and 1979).
He was a member of the sports team that was presented with the Golden Star, Order of Merit for the People for their 1979 Everest ascent and chosen as the best sports team of Yugoslavia.
He was awarded the Bloudek Plaque in 1984.
In 2001, Grošelj’s descent from 8,201-metre Cho Oyu earned him the Alpine Association of Slovenia Award for the best alpinist skier of the year.
In 2001, he led the initiative to establish a Slovenian section of Mountain Wilderness International, an international association fighting for protection of an unspoiled mountain environment in Slovenia and around the world, as well as for protection and preservation of the natural heritage in the mountains, particularly of the last remaining areas of pristine alpine wilderness. Between the years 2001 and 2004, he also served as its Secretary General.
In May 2002, the President of the Republic of Slovenia Milan Kučan conferred on him the Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia for his outstanding alpinist achievements and their importance for the promotion of Slovenia throughout the world, and in particular for his work with the young and his contribution to mountain rescue services.
In 2005, he oversaw and coordinated the successful rescue operation to save Tomaž Humar from the South Face of the Pakistani eight-thousander Nanga Parbat.
In 2009, the Alpine Association of Slovenia conferred on him a special award in recognition of his self-sacrifice and help during the coordination of the especially difficult rescue operations to save Slovenian climbers and members of the Alpine Association of Slovenia in the Himalayas.
From 2005 to 2013, in collaboration with Television Slovenia, he made a television documentary series entitled Giants of the Himalayas, which depicts the fourteen highest summits of our planet above 8,000 metres and the history of climbing these peaks.