|Birth Day:||September 17, 1944|
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His love of mountain climbing developed during his childhood in the Italian Alps, and he started embarking upon major mountain expeditions when he was just thirteen years old. He first scaled peaks in the Himalayas in the early 1970s.
The events that followed have been the subject of years of legal actions and disputes between former expedition members, and have still not been finally resolved. What is known now is that Reinhold and Günther Messner descended the Diamir Face, thereby achieving the first crossing of Nanga Parbat and second crossing of an eight-thousander after Mount Everest in 1963. Reinhold arrived in the valley six days later with severe frostbite, but survived. His brother, Günther, however died on the Diamir Face—according to Reinhold Messner on the same descent, during which they became further and further separated from each other. As a result, the time, place and exact cause of death is unknown. Messner said his brother had been swept away by an avalanche.
In 1968, he achieved further firsts: the Heiligkreuzkofel middle pillar and the direct south face of the Marmolada. In 1969, Messner joined an Andes expedition, during which he succeeded, together with Peter Habeler, in making the first ascent of the Yerupaja east face up to the summit ridge and, a few days later, the first ascent of the 6,121-metre-high (20,082 ft) Yerupaja Chico. He also made the first solo ascent of the Droites north face, the Philipp-Flamm intersection on the Civetta and the south face of Marmolata di Rocca. As a result, Messner won the reputation of being one of the best climbers in Europe. In 1970, he was invited to join a major Himalayan expedition, which can be regarded as one of the turning points in Messner's life.
Messner's first major Himalayan climb in 1970, the unclimbed Rupal face of Nanga Parbat, turned out to be a tragic success. Both he and his brother Günther reached the summit, but Günther died two days later on the descent of the Diamir face. Reinhold lost seven toes, which had become badly frostbitten during the climb and required amputation. Reinhold was severely criticized for persisting on this climb with the less experienced Günther. The 2010 movie Nanga Parbat by Joseph Vilsmaier is based on his account of the events.
Up until 1970, Messner had made a name for himself mainly through his achievements in the Alps. Between 1960 and 1964, he led over 500 ascents, most of them in the Dolomites. In 1965, he climbed a new direttissima route on the north face of the Ortler. A year later, he climbed the Walker Spur on the Grandes Jorasses and ascended the Rocchetta Alta di Bosconero. In 1967 he made the first ascent of the northeast face of the Agnér and the first winter ascents of the Agnér north face and Furchetta north face.
Reinhold Messner took a total of five expeditions to Nanga Parbat. In 1970 and 1978 he reached the summit (in 1978 solo); in 1971, 1973 and 1977, he did not. In 1971 he was primarily looking for his brother's remains.
From 1972 until 1977, Messner was married to Uschi Demeter. With his partner Nena Holdguin, he has a daughter, Làyla Messner, born in 1981. On 31 July 2009, he married his long time girlfriend Sabine Stehle, a textile designer from Vienna, with whom he has 3 children.
In 1972, Messner succeeded in climbing Manaslu on what was then the unknown south face of the mountain, of which there were not even any pictures. From the last high-altitude camp he climbed with Frank Jäger, who turned back before reaching the summit. Shortly after Messner reached the summit, the weather changed and heavy fog and snow descended. Initially Messner became lost on the way down, but later, heading into the storm, found his way back to the camp, where Horst Fankhauser and Andi Schlick were waiting for him and Jäger. Jäger did not return, although his cries were heard from the camp. Orientation had become too difficult. Fankhauser and Schlick began to search for him that evening, but lost their way and sought shelter at first in a snow cave. Messner himself was no longer in a position to help the search. The following day, only Horst Fankhauser returned. Andi Schlick had left the snow cave during the night and disappeared. So the expedition had to mourn the loss of two climbers. Messner was later criticised for having allowed Jäger go back down the mountain alone.
Messner tried climbing Makalu four times. He failed in 1974 and 1981 on the South Face of the south-east ridge. In winter 1985–1986 he attempted the first winter ascent of Makalu via the normal route. Even this venture did not succeed. Not until February 2009 was Makalu successfully climbed in winter by Denis Urubko and Simone Moro.
Together with Peter Habeler, Messner made a second ascent of Gasherbrum I on 10 August 1975, becoming the first man ever to climb more than two eight-thousanders. It was the first time a mountaineering expedition succeeded in scaling an eight-thousander using alpine style climbing. Until that point, all fourteen 8000-meter peaks had been summitted using the expedition style, though Hermann Buhl had earlier advocated "West Alpine Style" (similar to "capsule" style, with a smaller group relying on minimal fixed ropes).
Messner had already attempted Dhaulagiri in 1977 and 1984, unsuccessfully. In 1985 he finally summited. He climbed with Kammerlander up the normal route along the northeast ridge. After only three days of climbing they stood on the summit in a heavy storm on 15 May.
In the 1970s, Messner championed the cause for ascending Mount Everest without supplementary oxygen, saying that he would do it "by fair means" or not at all. In 1978, he reached the summit of Everest with Habeler. This was the first time anyone had been that high without supplemental oxygen and Messner and Habeler achieved what certain doctors, specialists, and mountaineers thought impossible. He repeated the feat, without Habeler, from the Tibetan side in 1980, during the monsoon season. This was Everest's first solo summit.
In 1978, he made a solo ascent of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat. In 1986, Messner became the first to complete all fourteen eight-thousanders (peaks over 8,000 metres above sea level).
On 9 August 1978, after three unsuccessful expeditions, Messner reached the summit of Nanga Parbat again via the Diamir Face.
On 8 May 1978, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler reached the summit of Mount Everest; the first men known to climb it without the use of supplemental oxygen. Prior to this ascent it was disputed whether this was possible at all. Messner and Habeler were members of an expedition led by Wolfgang Nairz along the southeast ridge to the summit. Also on this expedition was Reinhard Karl, the first German to reach the summit, albeit with the aid of supplemental oxygen.
For 1979, Messner was planning to climb K2 on a new direct route through the South Face, which he called the "Magic Line". Headed by Messner, the small expedition consisted of six climbers: Italians Alessandro Gogna, Friedl Mutschlechner and Renato Casarotto; the Austrian, Robert Schauer; and Germans Michael Dacher, journalist, Jochen Hölzgen, and doctor Ursula Grether, who was injured during the approach and had to be carried to Askole by Messner and Mutschlechner. Because of avalanche danger on the original route and time lost on the approach, they decided on climbing via the Abruzzi Spur. The route was equipped with fixed ropes and high-altitude camps, but no hauling equipment (Hochträger) or bottled oxygen was used. On 12 July, Messner and Dacher reached the summit; then the weather deteriorated and attempts by other members of the party failed.
Two years later, on 20 August 1980, Messner again stood atop the highest mountain in the world, without supplementary oxygen. For this solo climb, he chose the northeast ridge to the summit, where he crossed above the North Col in the North Face to the Norton Couloir and became the first man to climb through this steep gorge to the summit. Messner decided spontaneously during the ascent to use this route to bypass the exposed northeast ridge. Prior to this solo ascent, he had not set up a camp on the mountain.
In 1982, Messner wanted to become the first climber ever to scale three eight-thousanders in one year. He was planning on climbing Kangchenjunga first, before tackling Gasherbrum II and the Broad Peak.
In 1982, Messner scaled Broad Peak as his third eight-thousander. At the time, he was the only person with a permit to climb this mountain; he came across Jerzy Kukuczka and Wojciech Kurtyka, who had permits to climb K2, but used its geographic proximity to climb Broad Peak illegally. In early descriptions of the ascent, Messner omitted to mention this encounter, but he referred to it several years later. On 2 August, Messner was reunited with Nazir Sabir and Khan again on the summit. The three mountaineers had decamped and made for Broad Peak immediately after their ascent of Gasherbrum II. The climb was carried out with a variation from the normal route at the start.
Messner has crossed Antarctica on skis, together with fellow explorer Arved Fuchs. He has written over 60 books about his experiences, a quarter of which have been translated. He was featured in the 1984 film The Dark Glow of the Mountains by Werner Herzog. From 1999 to 2004, he held political office as a Member of the European Parliament for the Italian Green Party (Federazione dei Verdi). He was also among the founders of Mountain Wilderness, an international NGO dedicated to the protection of mountains worldwide.
Messner reached the summit again in 1984, this time together with Hans Kammerlander. This was achieved as part of a double ascent where, for the first time, two eight-thousander peaks (Gasherbrum I and II) were climbed without returning to base camp. Again, this was done in alpine style, i.e. without the pre-location of stores.
In 1985, Messner topped out on Annapurna. Using a new route on the northwest face, he reached the summit with Kammerlander on 24 April. Also on the expedition were Reinhard Patscheider, Reinhard Schiestl and Swami Prem Darshano, who did not reach the summit. During Messner and Kammerlander's ascent, the weather was bad and they had to be assisted by the other three expedition members during the descent due to heavy snowfall.
In 1985 Richard Bass first postulated and achieved the mountaineering challenge Seven Summits, climbing the highest peaks of each of the seven continents. Messner suggested another list (the Messner or Carstensz list) replacing Mount Kosciuszko with Indonesia's Puncak Jaya, or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m or 16,024 feet). From a mountaineering point of view the Messner list is the more challenging one. Climbing Carstensz Pyramid has the character of an expedition, whereas the ascent of Kosciuszko is an easy hike. In May 1986 Pat Morrow became the first person to complete the Messner list, followed by Messner himself when he summitted Mount Vinson in December 1986 to become the second.
In 1986, Messner returned and succeeded in reaching the summit using the normal route with Kammerlander and Mutschlechner. Although they had turned back twice during this expedition, they made the summit on the third attempt on 26 September. During this expedition, Messner witnessed the death of Marcel Rüedi, for whom the Makalu was his 9th eight-thousander. Rüedi was on the way back from the summit and was seen by Messner and the other climbers on the descent. Although he was making slow progress, he appeared to be safe. The tea for his reception had already been boiled when Rüedi disappeared behind a snow ridge and did not reappear. He was found dead a short time later.
Thus Messner became the first person to climb all eight-thousanders. Since this ascent, Messner has never climbed another eight-thousander. In 1989, Messner led a European expedition to the South Face of the mountain. The aim was to forge a path up the as-yet-unclimbed face. Messner himself did not want to climb any more. The expedition was unsuccessful.
In 1999, Messner was elected Member of the European Parliament for the Federation of the Greens (FdV), the Italian green party, receiving more than 20,000 votes in the European election. He fully served his term until 2004, when he retired from politics.
In the early years immediately after the expedition, there were disputes and lawsuits between Messner and Herrligkoffer, the expedition leader. After a quarter-century of peace, the dispute flared up again in October 2001, when Messner raised surprising allegations against the other members of the team for failing to come to their aid. The rest of the team consistently maintained that Messner had told them of his idea for crossing the mountain before setting off for the summit. Messner himself asserts, however, that he made a spontaneous decision to descend the Diamir Face together with his brother for reasons of safety. A number of new books—by Max von Kienlin, Hans Saler, Ralf-Peter Märtin, and Reinhold Messner—stoked the dispute (with assumptions and personal attacks) and led to further court proceedings.
In 2003 Messner started work on a project for a mountaineering museum. On 11 June 2006, the Messner Mountain Museum (MMM) opened, a museum that unites within one museum the stories of the growth and decline of mountains, culture in the Himalayan region and the history of South Tyrol.
In 2004 he completed a 2,000-kilometre (1,200 mi) expedition through the Gobi desert. In 2006, he founded the Messner Mountain Museum.
In June 2005, after an unusual heat wave on the mountain, the body of his brother was recovered on the Diamir Face, which seems to support Messner's account of how Günther died.
The drama was turned into a film Nanga Parbat (2010) by Joseph Vilsmaier, based on the memories of Reinhold Messner and without participation from the other former members of the expedition. Released in January 2010 in cinemas, the film was criticized by the other members of the team for telling only one side of the story.
Reinhold and his eight siblings grew up in northern Italy as the children of a German-Italian schoolteacher father. On many of his early climbs, he was accompanied by his brother Günther.
Currently, Reinhold Messner is 78 years, 2 months and 13 days old. Reinhold Messner will celebrate 79th birthday on a Sunday 17th of September 2023. Below we countdown to Reinhold Messner upcoming birthday.
Auguri a Reinhold Messner - (Happy birthday Reinhold Messner)