Blind Romanian climbers summit two peaks in the Alps
Răzvan Nedu and Alex Benchea, two Romanian athletes with just 1% vision, returned from the expedition to the Alps with two conquered peaks: Grossglockner (3,798m) and Matterhorn (4,478m).
The two-week ascent in the Alps was not easy, but the team composed of Răzvan Nedu, Alex Benchea, Claudiu Miu, Teofil Vlad, Anca Mihuțescu and Romică Popa managed to overcome all the obstacles.
The Matterhorn expedition totaled three days, 30 hours of walking and climbing, and 3,600 meters of elevation gain.
"Matterhorn was the most technical mountain I have ever climbed. I enjoyed all the parts I climbed, and there were not a few. I took every step carefully and paid attention to what Teo and Romică, my eyes on this climb, were telling me," Răzvan Nedu said.
In his turn, Alex Benchea said: "Although Grossglockner and Jungfrau are two different mountains, they both come with significant challenges. The first one is a technical mountain that requires specific and complex training, thanks to the portions of trekking, rock climbing, and walking on the glacier, combined with a relatively high altitude and marked by a feature that gives this mountain a special note. That is the fact that all these portions are mixed and not merged as in the case of Mont Blanc. This feature increases times and requires more focus, but to me, that's the beauty of this mountain."
Răzvan Nedu is world vice-champion in paraclimbing, captain of the National Paraclimbing Team and climbing instructor at Climb Again Bucharest. Alex Benchea, also a medalist at international competitions, was born blind and is called "the mountaineer with white eyes." Together, they want to reach all 7 highest peaks on the 7 continents of the world.
In 2019, Alex Benchea became the first blind climber from Romania to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m), the highest mountain in Africa.
In 2020-2021, Răzvan and Alex, accompanied by the Climb Again support team together with top Romanian climbers such as Cristina Pogacean and Teofil Vlad, took the Romanian flag on Mont Blanc and to the highest point in Europe - Elbrus. This year, they want to summit Aconcagua (6,960 meters).
According to a document of the National Authority for Persons with Disabilities quoted by the Climb Again Association, Romania had over 800,000 people with various disabilities in 2020, of which over 90,000 were visually impaired. One of the missions of the Climb Again athletes, including Răzvan Nedu and Alex Benchea, is to encourage and help blind children and young people to gain independence and get out of isolation.
(Photo source: Climb Again Association)