Reinhold Messner

On 7 September 1944, in Italy, a legendary climber by the name of Reinhold Messner was born. He was one of three children and, even though his father was a very strict disciplinarian who was sometimes extremely hard on his sons, it was his father who introduced him to the mountains and sparked a love for the giants that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

One of Reinhold's younger brothers, Gunther, shared his love for the mountains and by the time they reached their 20’s they were already recognized climbers in Europe. As with so many mountain climbers, the Himalayas started beckoning and in 1970 Reinhold, Gunther and Gerhard Baur decided to take on Nanga Parbat. With bad weather threatening all around them both brothers made the summit but tragedy struck on their decent. Gunther's health started to fail him and the brothers were forced to spend horrifying nights on the mountain. Even though Gunther managed to eventually scrape together enough energy to start walking on his own again he fell behind and never made it off the mountain. During a freak heat wave on the mountain in 2005 the mountain finally released Gunther from his icy coffin and allowed him to leave the mountain after 35 years. Reinhold suffered severe frostbite and had to have some of his toes and fingertips amputated, but it seemed to pale in comparison to the loss he suffered.

But the legendary climber, Reinhold Messner, never lost his admiration for the mountains nor the desire to climb them. He went on to become one of the best mountain climbers in the history of the sport by reaching the summits of all the mountains over 8 000 meters - fourteen in total. He single handedly conquered Mount Everest, without the assistance of an oxygen tank, in the year 1980. Over and above becoming one of the best mountain climbers in the world, Messner has gone on to achieve success in various other adventures and challenges.

Even though he devotes most of his time to Messner Mountain Museum, he still managed to fit in a record-breaking hike, crossing the Antarctic continent, in 1990. He also tackled the Gobi Desert, walking the distance in a mere six-week stretch. This remarkable climber continues to make history and will be remembered and spoken about by generations to come.

 



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