Reinhold Messner what more really needs to be said? a true icon and revolutionary in the climbing world, his feats are still something modern mountaineers seek to emulate and his philosophy changed the way man kind see the mountains.
Born on September 17 1944 Messner was introduced to climbing by his father at age five where he quickly developed a flair for the sport and being lucky enough to grow up in the Dolomite’s where he could refine his art he progressed quickly. From the age of 13 Messner was climbing difficult routes in the eastern Alps.
Messner became of the first people to climb in “Alpine Style” as opposed to the traditional method of climbing big mountain. Messner did away with the idea that climbing teams needed to stock a mountain with supplies and camps and employ Sherpa’s to carry loads up and down the mountain.
In 1970 Messner climber his first 8000m peak Nanga Parbat a peak that had already seen its fair share of tragedy and heart ache. This trip was no exception, as it was on this expedition that Messner lost his younger brother Gunther. Messner spent a considerable time looking for his brother on the mountain and as a result he suffered severe frostbite to his feet. the event has caused controversy over the years and still continues to do so. Not to be taken away is the feat of climbing Nanga Parbat’s southern wall for the first time.
On the 8th of May 1978 Messner along with long time climbing partner Peter Habeler climbed Everest without the use of oxygen canisters, the first to do so. Many people tried to convince them that it was a bad idea and that they would do themselves permanent damage if they tried.
Messner became the first person to “Close the loop” or climb all 14 mountains over 8000m in height. A feat that is still rare amongst mountaineers.
- Everest 1978
- K2 1979
- Kanchenjunga 1981
- Lhotse 1986
- Makalu 1986
- Cho Oyu 1983
- Dhaulagiri 1 1985
- Manaslu 1972
- Nanga Parbat 1970
- Annapurna 1 1985
- Gasherbrum 1 1975
- Broad Peak 1982
- Gasherbrum 2 1984
- Shishapangma 1981
Recently Messner has laid the final touches to the “Messner Mountain Museum” spread across various sites in the Alps.
In summary its fair to say that Messner is a remarkable man who has achieved more than most and continues to do so.
“After Messner, the mystery of possibility was gone;
there remained only the mystery of whether you could do it.”
- Ed Viesturs