Reinhold Messner started climbing, with his younger brother Günther, around their native South Tyrol in northern Italy in the late 1950s. Between 1960 and 1964 Reinhold had already led over 500 ascents in the Dolomites in northeastern Italy. What followed afterward was a long list of successes on the hardest climbs of the Alps, the Andes and then on to the Himalaya, not always without controversy.
In 1978 he and Peter Habeler, following Messner’s mantra “by fair means” or not at all, became the first men known to climb to the summit of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, a feat most considered physiologically impossible.
Two years later in 1980, on today’s date August 20, Reinhold reached the top of what was likely his boldest ascent ever - he climbed to the summit of Everest solo with no support, without oxygen, during the unpredictable monsoon season and partially by an unclimbed route. The climb, from base camp, took him 3 days, including a fall into a crevasse. Messner said in 2003 that this climb was the hardest he’d ever done. It’s well worth reading his account of this.
I photographed Messner for my book of climber portraits, an advance copy of which I should have in my hands any day now. The book’s release date is Oct. 15 and there’s a link for it in my profile on this page.
The photo you see here is a printer’s dummy of the real thing, obviously with no ink, photos, text. But there it is… 11” x 12”… just shy of two pounds with black linen slipcase. Very nice just to feel the heft of it after talking about it for 19 years.
#TheClimbers #ReinholdMessner #climbing #climb #books #Himalaya #mounteverest #Italy #Alps #Everest #Nepal