Nanga Parbat Body Ends Messner Controversy

The discovery of the body of Reinhold Messner's brother on the Diamar Face of Nanga Parbat should put an end to controversial allegations that have dogged the Italian mountaineer in recent years.

Posted: 19 August 2005
by Jon

You can tell it's a slow news sort of day when the Guardian devotes the best part of full page to the discovery of Gunther Messner's remains on the Diamar face of Nanga Parbat.

The discovery of the body of Reinhold Messner's brother looks set to call a halt to the unseemly spat that's had mountaineers at each other's throats in recent years. The Messner brothers were descending from the summit of the mountain in 1970 when in horrific conditions, Gunther, trailing behind his brother disappeared.

Reinhold, who went on to become a legendary mountaineer, survived despite losing seven toes and several fingertips to frostbite. However two other climbers on the expedition, Max von Kienlin and Hans Saler have published books accusing Messner of leaving his brother to descend the difficult Rupal Face of the mountain while he alone attempted the unexplored Diamar Face in pursuit of glory.

The discovery of Gunther's body on the Diamar Face seems to contradict that version of events and will hopefully draw a line under the whole affair. Reinhold has just returned from Pakistan where he reportedly identified clothing and equipment found with the body as his brother's, though DNA tests may be needed for final proof.

The friction between the mountaineers may owe something to the Reinhold's affair with, and subsequent marriage to, Kienlin's wife, in the early 1970s.

You can find a full report in the Guardian along with a short profile of Reinhold Messner by Ed Douglas.

More about Reinhold Messner at his official home page:

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